Coleraine Specsavers’ recent investment in new 3D scanning technology has proved its sight-saving value within days of its installation.

Representing an investment of £45,000, the Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) machine purchased by the Coleraine store directors allows optometrists to view the eye in more detail than ever before. Normally this quality of equipment can only be found in a hospital setting.

Screen and manage conditions

Store director Judith Ball explains: ‘When the machine arrived, all the optometrists took some time to familiarise themselves with how it worked to ensure maximum benefits to our patients. Essentially, the technology allows us to screen and manage conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

'As part of our training we tested all our staff including store merchandiser Donna Mallon.’

At risk

‘Donna had no obvious symptoms of glaucoma, so it came as a surprise to her that the OCT pictures revealed signs that she was at risk of acute angle closure glaucoma. This happens when eye pressure rises very suddenly potentially leading to acute damage to the optic nerve.

'We referred Donna immediately for a second opinion from a specialist hospital consultant. As a result, Donna underwent a peripheral iridotomy procedure which involved making a small puncture in the iris to drain away fluid which could have caused a sight-threatening rise in pressure.’

Detailed picture

‘Donna was very lucky that this potential problem was identified early on and was rectified before any damage was done to her eyesight. The OCT technology produces such a detailed picture of the structures in the eye that it allows us to identify signs of diseases much earlier than traditional methods.’

OCT scan

In Coleraine Specsavers the OCT scan, which costs £10, is done in addition to a thorough eye test which not only measures the quality of someone’s vision but also takes an overview of the health and function of the eyes and how they work together. The OCT machine uses a totally safe, laser light source and not x-ray type radiation. The scan takes just a few seconds and is non-contact and painless.

Looking for potential issues

Judith Ball continues: ‘We cannot recommend this scan highly enough. Given that nearly half of all sight loss is preventable, the sooner conditions like this are detected, the sooner we can help manage them or refer people for treatment. In addition, we store the customer’s OCT images so that we can note changes over time and so more easily spot potential issues.’

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