Need this situation to have good optics (literally)
February 1, 2017 5:00 PM   Subscribe

I am a doctor (but, of course, not your doctor). I'm in a situation where I need to use a piece of magnification equipment in an operating room, but the hospital has relocated all these particular pieces of equipment (colposcopes, if you're curious) to a different out-patient facility. I'd really like to find a an inexpensive and portable alternative.

Essentially, a colposcope is a binocular magnifier with a light source and a focal distance of about 20-30cm. That is, we set up the scope about 20-30cm away from the patient so that we can work at arm's length while looking through the scope.

I've looked into monoculars, USB microscopes, and other such devices, but I can't seem to find anything that will provide the same focal length. I'd be happy with something that's handheld, something that can fit on a tripod, or something that can be instead of or over my glasses, like a loupe.

Gurus of optics, help me please! Does such a device exist?
posted by greatgefilte to Technology (15 answers total)
(I'm probably getting the optics nomenclature all wrong re: focal distances and focal lengths. Basically I need to be able to focus on something 30 cm away and magnify it.)
posted by greatgefilte at 5:07 PM on February 1, 2017

Perhaps look into things that are made for dentists?

Dental loupes? Dental magnifying glasses?
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 5:20 PM on February 1, 2017

I googled portable colposcope and came up with this device.
posted by telegraph at 5:24 PM on February 1, 2017

telegraph, I found that as well and am looking into it but it's bound to be quite pricey. I'm looking for something in the <$250 range.
posted by greatgefilte at 5:27 PM on February 1, 2017

Jewelers and electronic technicians sometimes use binocular headband magnifiers (example) with focal lengths in the range you desire. They are not very expensive, but will lack the higher magnification and filter options you might find on a colposcope. Have you tried bidding on a used colposcope on eBay?
posted by RichardP at 5:55 PM on February 1, 2017

Is this too big and unwieldy? You might be able to mount it rotated 90 degrees. (Amscope is basically a cheap Chinese knockoff of a decent stereo microscope... but I've worked with one for over a year, and it's quite usable.)
posted by Behemoth at 8:11 PM on February 1, 2017

Perhaps a Canon sx530 would work in macro mode.
posted by Sophont at 8:52 PM on February 1, 2017

Close focus binoculars? We have a Pentax Papilio for spotting insects etc, with a focus distance down to 50 cm, which is probably longer than you would want. There may be a similar device that goes a bit closer, still.
posted by gijsvs at 10:07 PM on February 1, 2017

Would it be worth checking with your MDO and local professional organisation that offering colposcopy with non standard equipment meets the diagnostic standards expected from the procedure? I would be surprised if that were the case.
posted by chiquitita at 1:22 AM on February 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

I work in healthcare and had the same concern as Chiquitita (to be honest I read the question with a growing sense of horror). If you are working in very restricted circumstances and this is the only option for delivering care that is needed this would probably be better than nothing. Otherwise I don't think you can substitute improvised equipment for properly calibrated and validated medical equipment. I would not accept a colposcopy on myself under these circumstances.
posted by *becca* at 1:58 AM on February 2, 2017

To those who are wondering why the heck I need to bring my own DIY equipment:

Please stick to the question asked and grant me the courtesy of assuming that I have a legitimate reason for doing this. I'm not proposing to do colposcopy with non-standard equipment. This is not a gynecological procedure and it's merely a pilot project to see if having magnification on hand will aid in making the procedure more efficient.

If you really want to know the details, MeMail me and we can certainly discuss.
posted by greatgefilte at 4:52 AM on February 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

More in the $500 range, but CraftOptics make high-quality personal telescopes mounted with a swivel on a pair of glasses with your prescription. My dentist helped design them, and I tried a pair myself. Very high quality and the ability to flip the telescopes out of the way is handy.
posted by Jesse the K at 12:49 PM on February 2, 2017

How far does a smartphone with an excellent camera get you? Maybe a paid, $5, app what does better magnification? Maybe a lens kiy, such as
posted by at at 11:57 PM on February 3, 2017

at, would a macro lens help with a working distance of a foot or so?
posted by greatgefilte at 6:27 AM on February 4, 2017

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