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New Ophthalmic Equipment vs. Used Ophthalmic Equipment

As most ophthalmic professionals know, there is a huge market for used ophthalmic equipment as practices sell their older equipment and instruments and upgrade with newer technology. This means there are bargains available out there and depending on your ophthalmic equipment needs, you may be considering investing in used equipment rather than paying full retail on new technology. There are pros and cons associated with this kind of buying decision so make sure you do your research before you take the plunge.

First, make sure that you are buying used ophthalmic equipment from a reputable resource. In most instances, your best bet is to buy from a site like who understands equipment, may actually be a manufacturer and can provide documentation as to the condition of the ophthalmic equipment you buy. You need to make sure that you completely understand any warranty or return policy on the used ophthalmic instrument or equipment you buy so that you aren't stuck with a piece of equipment that doesn't work or that does not live up to the expectations you have. Primarily, you don't want to buy from an unknown entity with no credentials that could just slip away with your money.

Second, you need to consider what you really need. Perhaps you need a single, manual instrument without a lot of bells and whistles, or you need to immediately replace a piece of existing equipment that has broken down and you don't have the budget to buy a brand new version. No matter your reasoning make sure you do your research first. In some instances, you can spend the same or just a bit more money and replace multiple pieces of ophthalmic equipment or upgrade significantly from your previous technology. For instance, if you are considering upgrading to a Digital Practice or buying a non-contact tonometer, at least consider buying new with a built in pachymeters to replace two instruments with one. Or if you need a new automated refractor, consider one with a keratometer top or integrated or consider one with topography included as well. If you are considering purchasing a binocular indirect ophthalmoscope, or replacing an existing ophthalmoscope, consider buying something like a Welch Allyn Exam Lane diagnostic package which can offer a great price on multiple diagnostic ophthalmic instruments which gives you great value and upgraded technology. Essentially, do your research and really compare what you are giving up in terms of space, time and technology for the money.

Third, make sure the piece of used ophthalmic equipment you use can work with other equipment in your office. Perhaps your new or used ophthalmic equipment can integrate with your digital imaging system, or if it is the same brand name you can use similar replacement batteries or ophthalmic bulbs. Think of the big picture of your whole office and make your buying decision appropriately.

Finally, consider your return on investment. Make sure you are making a savvy business decision when you buy used ophthalmic equipment.

  • If you spend a few hundred dollars more and end up with a piece of automated ophthalmic equipment that can be used by a tech in your office that will ultimately free you to build your practice, why would you buy a piece of used, manual equipment?
  • Which piece of equipment will better maintain its value; an older piece of used equipment or a new piece of equipment with up to date technology?
  • When you amortize the cost of new ophthalmic equipment over its estimated lifespan, how much is it really costing you?
  • How could you further expand your practice and monetize a new piece of equipment when compared to a piece of used equipment?

Make sure you know the answers to these important business questions before you make this kind of buying decision.