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My school is having us get equipment for our physical diagnosis classes coming up (and rotations later on) and I need some insight into what the best option is. We have to choose from a few different packages instead of buying stuff separately.

Pack 1 has a 3.5V diagnostic otoscope and a 3.5V standard ophthalmoscope.

Pack 2 has a 3.5V diagnostic set with a coaxial ophthalmoscope and a macroview otoscope.

There is a huge price differential and they seem to be telling us that if we are unsure we should get the 2nd, more expensive option. I have obviously never used an otoscope or ophthalmoscope before, but I have heard that the first option is entirely sufficient. Can anyone who has experience with any of these give me some insight into the differences and which are preferred/sufficient? 

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Honestly, just go for the cheaper set. In my experience we used them for the HEENT section of our physical exam class and that was it. I can't think of a scenario where you would ever have to use your own set on an actual patient (possibly if you were in a very rural or medical mission trip??). Save yourself a couple hundred bucks or whatever. I have the coaxial one (it uses one base and the attachment heads screw on and off) but my sister gave me her old one from her time in school for free. Most of my classmates had a set where the otoscope and opthalmoscope were separate but honestly it doesn't matter at all. They all do the same thing. Even durability doesn't really matter in this case since you will use it for so few instances while in school.

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Get the cheaper one.  We were forced to buy one so that we had it to practice but for every clinical testing scenario and for clinicals you'll likely find that there is equipment in each room.  

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Experiences vary. I was in an ER where the stuff on the wall was garbage old equipment. Used my welch allyn lithium equipment every time. Also depends where you're going, the nursing facility had no equipment so you had to supply your own. In my program we use our equipment all the time still, reinforcing over and over. For example, our OSLER will be over quarter 4 orthopedic exams but the patient also has glaucoma or ear infection (stuff from quarter 1). It's nice to have high quality equipment at your disposal. 

Disclosure: buying the super expensive equipment wasn't optional for my program, we had to buy it. 

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