Simmons Optometrist in Oakham, winner of the Customer Care category in the Mercury Business Awards 2017, is one of only 50 opticians in the country to install a laser retinal scanning device. This innovative equipment can spot eye conditions and other health problems. Reporter Brendan McFadden went along to give this new equipment a try.
Simmons’ Optomap Daytona Plus device can produce detailed images of the inside of your eyes and was installed at the opticians in Burley Road in December.
Opticians can give you a routine eye exam which can only look at a small section of the eyes. The Daytona Plus can see more than 8o per cent of the retina - including the veins and arteries - meaning an optometrist is more like to spot eye or heath damage. It means that if Simmons spot something unusual with a customer during the routine eye test, it gives them access to investigate further.
It felt slightly daunting ahead of my visit knowing this eye test could help spot issues but I was keen to know how it worked.
Optometrist, James Alexander led me into the examination room and introduced me to the Daytona Plus.
Scanning my eye was a relatively simple process. I simply looked into the lens where I could see a target which turned green if I was the right distance away, at which point James initiated the scan.
The test itself sees a green laser scan your eye. Seeing green lines move across my eye was an intriguing process - It made me feel like I was in a futuristic science fiction movie.
After my scan, we moved to another room where James brought up scans of different layers inside my eye.
I was stunned to see the detail of the scans. I was able to see a clear view of my optic nerve and the arteries and veins in my eye.
Due to its range the device is capable at examining how much lipofuscin (substance produced in the eye) is inside the eye which can help determine if somebody has an eye disease. Dark areas on the scan is a sign the retina is not functioning.
The Daytona is also able to look at the optic nerve and the blood vessels around it. If things like drops of blood are spotted it can be a sign of a health condition such as diabetes, high cholesterol or even a brain tumour.
And if these signs are identified, Simmons will refer people to a hospital or doctor for further tests
Thankfully, James told me that my eyes were in good shape and there were no signs of any other health issues.
James said: “The job of an optician when it comes to health care is to screen for problems. We are not necessarily going to treat problems that we find.
“If it picks up on a problem, something you might not pick up on yourself, a lot of the time we refer to the hospital.
“This is the best tool in our opinion for spotting problems.”
He stressed that finding out if you have a health condition is not the reason that the test should be done and that finding brain tumours through the device is rare.
The scan with the Dayton Plus comes complete with an eye test. The cost is £25 for adults and £15 for children.
n To book an appointment with Simmons, call 01572 756434.