It’s funny how often the most obvious things are overlooked so I was naturally drawn to Martin Smith Opticians in Lincoln last week when it became the first practice in the UK to take on the Paskal 3D refraction system.

Three dimensional refraction systems are not new per se. I have been aware of the Paskal system for about two years and assumed it would be in use in some small way. I found myself surprised that Martin Smith Opticians was the first practice in the UK to adopt the system but also to find that 3,000 practices in German already use 3D. UK practices have been more sceptical about the benefits of 3D.

I made the journey to Lincoln in an attempt to find out if Dr Martin Smith had had an Emperor’s new clothes moment and seen a truth everyone else had missed or if applying 3D techniques to refraction was itself the modern optometric equivalent of the non-existent clothes.

Dr Smith is a Paskal 3D fan and sees both clinical and business benefits to 3D testing. Having seen the floating balloons in the foreground sandwiching the optotypes against a backdrop of distant mountains I could understand his enthusiasm.

What I didn’t expect was the entertainment value of Paskal. It sounds trite but the vivid, 3D projection puts a smile on people’s faces and makes the whole routine more fun. There was no occlusion, dominance was determined by seeing either a cat or a dog real pictures of local places where being used.

As Dr Smith suggests optometrists are stuck in their ways when it comes to refraction, they refine their routine in pre-reg then rarely change it. The profession shouldn’t be happy using a 150-year-old refraction routine. A way forward may be via 3D.