OCT

Clare Darbyshire Optician are the proud owners of one of the first 3D OCT in Shropshire

We are one of the first eye care practices in Shropshire to have recently invested in a revolutionary piece of diagnostic equipment that can detect damage from a number of serious eye conditions such as diabetes, glaucoma and macular degeneration, so that treatment can be implemented quickly. This piece of equipment is called 3D Optical Coherence Tomography System.
 
What is OCT? Ocular coherence tomography is an advanced eye scan for people of all ages. Similar to ultrasound, OCT uses light waves rather than sound waves to illustrate the different layers that make up the back of the eye. The particular 3D OCT unit captures a digital photograph of the surface of the eye at the same time and can be cross reference across any area of concern.
 
This type of technology was previously used in hospitals and for research purpose and is only just becoming available for comprehensive eye examinations.
The retina can be seriously affected by many common diseases including age related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetes which can lead to visual impairment and even blindness. By having this technology in practice Clare Darbyshire opticians can pick up problems at a much earlier stage enabling better treatment options. Regular scans also mean even the most subtle changes in the retina can be detected and this gives an invaluable on-going record of health and condition of your eye.
What can the scan check for?
Common conditions identified through regular OCT screening include:
 

Macular Holes

A macular hole is a small hole in the macular –the part of the retina which is responsible for our sharp, detailed central vision. This is the vision we use when we are looking directly at things, when reading, sewing or using a computer. There are many causes of macular holes. One is caused by vitreous detachment, when the vitreous pulls away from the back of the eye and sometimes it does not ‘let go’ and eventually tears the retina, leaving a hole. Extreme exposure to sunlight (for example staring at the sun during an eclipse) can also cause a macular hole to develop.

 

Vitreous detachments

Vitreomacular traction can clearly be diagnosed through OCT providing invaluable information about the current relationship between the vitreous and retinal surface of the eye. As people get older the vitreous jelly that takes up the space in our eyeball can change. It can become less firm and can move away from the back of the eye towards the centre, in some cases parts do not detach and cause ‘pulling’ of the retinal surface. The danger of a vitreous detachment is that there is no pain and your eyesight may seem unchanged but the back of your eye may be being damaged.
Optometrist, Clare Darbyshire says “We were one of the first opticians in Shropshire to have the original digital photography 8 years ago and are always striving to remain at the forefront of eye care technology. Scans using this new instrument really do make a difference to treatment outcomes and gives patients the peace of mind that the health of their eyes is being monitored over the long term.
Tips on looking after your eye sight:

Your eyesight can often change without you being aware of it. A sight test is a valuable health check picking up any potential underlying problems including high blood pressure, glaucoma diabetes and macular degeneration.

1. Children should have their eyes tested before they start school.
2. All drivers should have their eyes tested regularly.
3. Children under 16 and people over 60 are entitled to an NHS sight test every year. Between the ages of 16 and 59 you should have your eyes tested at least every 2 years or sooner if recommended by your Optometrist.
4. It is essential to have a healthy diet and eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily. Green vegetables especially spinach are good for your eyes.
5. It is good to take regular exercise.
6. Wear good quality sun-spectacles when it is sunny. Ultraviolet light can accelerate the onset of macular degeneration and cataracts.
7. Stop smoking as this can increase the risk of diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration and cataracts.

 

Age related macular degeneration

Macular degeneration causes the gradual breakdown of the macular (the central portion of the eye). OCT cannot only identify this condition and its type (there are two types, wet and dry) but also monitor its progress, for example if you are undergoing treatment for such a condition. Unfortunately the risk of developing macular degeneration increases with age, and it is the most common cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of fifty.

 

Diabetes

Diabetic retinopathy is s major cause of visual impairment among adults. Here in the UK, more than two million people have been identified as having diabetes. OCT examination enables early detection, which greatly improves the success rate of treatment.

 

Glaucoma

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve at the point where it leaves the eye. Recent statistics suggest that some form of glaucoma affects around two in every 100 people over the age of 40. The danger with chronic glaucoma is that there is no pain and your eyesight will seem to be unchanged, but your vision is being damaged. An OCT examination will confirm if you are at risk, or indeed what stages of glaucoma you may have.