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Meet Albert Hofeldt of AMA Optics

Today we’d like to introduce you to Albert Hofeldt.

AMA Optics, Inc. is a privately held company that creates and manufactures hand-held, ophthalmic diagnostic instruments and screening tests viewed on an Apple App. All of these products are designed to improve diagnosis and patient care. The company’s founder, Albert J. Hofeldt, was formerly a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Columbia University in New York City. The company’s first product was the RAM® (Retinal Acuity Meter) which is a potential vision tester clinically proven to consistently forecast the visual acuity that a patient can expect after cataract surgery. Since some eyes are incapable of normal vision, the RAM detects those that have impaired potential and thus helps prevent unpleasant vision surprises after surgery. The invention of the BAM™ (Brightness Acuity Meter) Glare Tester followed.

This instrument identifies disabling glare due to cataract and provides documentation to support early cataract surgery. The most recent instrument is the High-Beamer™, which is a tester that mimics the glare of on-coming headlights. This is the most common glare complaint for people with cataracts. Many years of research and development in Binary Choice self-testing and the Hofeldt Bridge® which measure vision brightness changes that occur in amblyopia resulted in the Amblyometer Program and the DiagnosticGame App which offers 6 vision tests. The automated DiagnosticGame® App which is downloadable from the App Store provides non-bias interplay between the child and an iPad to detect eye disease such as Lazy Eye (Amblyopia).

AMA Optics, Inc. is located in Miami Beach, Florida. Its branded products are marketed worldwide by distributors including Lombart Insruments; Foresight International S.A.; Focus Ophthalmic, LLC; and Melling Medical. AMA Optics, Inc. has been recognized in the industry by Frost and Sullivan as the “Entrepreneurial Company of the Year 2005” and by Corporate America as the “Most Innovative Eye Care Diagnostics Manufacturer 2016”.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Effective communication is the major obstacle. It is very difficult to educate a significant number of eye care professionals and the public about new products that will help diagnose and subsequently help treat potential eye disease. Peer review articles, journal advertisements, tradeshows, Ad Words, press releases, direct mail campaigns and word-of-mouth do not seem to get results.

In addition, reimbursement by Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies is unobtainable even though a procedure is accurate and clinically shown to improve healthcare. Clinicians are hesitant to use a diagnostic instrument for testing unless it is reimbursable and it is very difficult and costly to pursue reimbursement status.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
AMA Optics, Inc. is a medtech company that develops Apps and hand-held portable ophthalmic diagnostic instruments that are marketed worldwide. All of our products are U. S. patent protected. The Retinal Acuity Meter (RAM®), which is our first instrument, has been in production for 21 years. The Brightness Acuity Meter (BAM™), which is a glare tester, was next and it has been on the market for 10 years.

We recently released the DiagnosticGame® App which includes the Amblyometer®, which is the first brightness sense test designed to detect Lazy Eye (amblyopia) in children. Despite current screening methods, Lazy Eye remains the major cause of childhood permanent vision loss in the U. S. The DiagnosticGame® App has the potential to reach every child through the Internet for testing at school or in the office of a health provider, which for the first time opens the possibility of conquering amblyopia. Special ophthalmic training is not required to administer the App; the interplay is between the iPad and the child. The App is available from the Apple Store and plays on an iPad in a video game format. When the child plays the “video game”, the App is analyzing vision performance. Current research shows that while fun for children, the App readily detects Lazy Eye and appears to be more sensitive than any other reported vision tests. We have an active IRB research program and are recruiting schools for further testing of elementary students. We are directly marketing the App to pediatricians and schools, as they are the first to encounter children with a defective vision that can negatively impact the rest of their lives.

What were you like growing up?
Born in Wyoming and grew up in the rural West in the fifties, I thought of myself as a cowboy. I rode horses and I helped in the fields. My first elementary school had all eight grades in one room…I was the only first grader. I have five siblings. We were very close as adolescents and remain close to this day in spite of living all over the country. I had a really fun childhood. I particularly enjoyed tinkering and making things which continues to this day. I find that discovering a novel idea and turning it into a useful product is a great pleasure.

I grew up in the post-WWII period when the American economy was taking off like a rocket. Opportunity was everywhere and things were affordable. Imagine, I was able to pay for my college and medical school tuition with my summer earnings. I served three years in the US Army as a physician during the Viet Nam War. I was stationed in Germany which allowed me to learn about and experience life in Europe which broadened my horizons.

After an honorable discharge from the military, I trained in ophthalmology at Columbia University in New York City. I subsequently joined the staff, taught medical interns/residents, conducted research, advanced to Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology and had a private practice. After 25 years, I retired from practicing ophthalmology and moved to Miami Beach in 2001 to develop my medical device company. I am very happy! I love Miami…the climate, the expanding art scene, the progressive economy and my business which is constantly evolving.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 11 Island Ave, Suite 1001, Miami Beach, Fl 33139
  • Website: www.visionperformance.store
  • Phone: 305 389 0928
  • Email: ajh@amaoptics.com

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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