Early detection is
the key to reducing the risk to your sight and health
“20/20 vision doesn’t mean perfect eye health”
WHAT IS AN advanced Eye EXAMINATION?
We are often asked, “Do I really need an hour-long Advanced Eye Examination”?
Our answer is, absolutely, it could prevent you from losing your sight.
With our World-leading Diagnostic equipment we can see potential problems up to 5 years before a conventional ‘sight exam’
Early detection and treatment is unarguably the greatest factor in preventing sight loss.
See more than ever before
At The Eye Studio, we’re dedicated to bringing you the most thorough ways of testing your vision and the health of your eyes. We can see the unseen with The Advanced Eye Examination.
At the heart of the examination are Spectralis OCT and Optomap. These are diagnostic tools rarely found together outside Eye hospitals.
SPECTRALIS uses Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to scan your eyes. OCT is a medical imaging technique that uses light waves to generate images of the back of your eye. It allows your optometrist to see a detailed three-dimensional view of your retina so that they can look at your eye in very fine detail.
Using OCT we can spot the tiniest sign of damage long before the conventional methods of looking in your eyes. In some conditions, this can be up to 5 years ahead of traditional methods.
What is Optos Ultra-widefield retinal imaging?
Many vision problems begin in early childhood, so it’s important for children to receive quality routine eye care. The Optomap is a digital image of the retina produced by Optos scanning laser technology. It is the only technology that can capture 82% view of your retina at one time.
Why is that so helpful?
The retina plays a hugely important part in the process of seeing – it ‘captures’ the images we look at and sends them off to the brain via the optic nerve. If the retina weren’t working correctly, it would stop us from seeing clearly (even when wearing glasses).We can see the retina during a sight test but only the front of it from a head-on view. Many abnormalities aren’t even visible from the front, so you really can’t confirm an eye is healthy until you’ve seen them all.
Once we have assessed these parts of the eye, we can tell you a considerable amount about your eye health. Diseases of the retina are surprisingly common, and many are preventable if early signs are detected. If a problem has already occurred, it must be treated as soon as possible to maximise the chance of maintaining perfect sight. Remember, there are no pain receptors in the retina, so we wouldn’t feel anything if there were a problem. Even vision loss is easily missed because of the way our brains compensate!
A problem can be brought to the optician’s attention during a standard sight test because of poor sight or a visible abnormality within the eye. A 4D retinal scan can show problem months or even years before it would otherwise become apparent. This means that we can treat it, monitor it, or prevent it from getting worse.
The 4D retinal scanner also has advanced integrated software which assesses the images in even further detail. This can alert you to a retina that is dangerously thin but appears otherwise healthy.
‘Glaucoma is often thought to be pressure only related. This is no longer the case. Eye pressure measurement is an indicator and should not be referred to as the ‘Glaucoma’ test. Glaucoma is more complex and is due to nerve damage on the retina, which can be pressure-related, but you can also have normal pressure Glaucoma and people who have high pressure but no Glaucoma.
The OCT is a far more accurate way of assessing nerve changes and due to the high repeatability, there is less chance of missing nerve changes.
Is the Heidelberg Spectralis the same as other OCT scanners?
No. The Spectralis is the most superior of its kind. But don’t just take our word for it; NASA on the international space stationalso uses the same model of OCT scanner used in our practice to assess astronauts’ eyes whilst in space.
It’s their machine of choice for the same two reasons it is ours:
Reason 1. Its unbeatable Image Quality
It has a higher image quality than other OCT scanners (but that doesn’t mean the pictures just look prettier). It is accurate to 1 micron – that’s one-thousandth of a millimetre! Other models of OCT are only precise to 9 microns. That may still seem small, but that means you can’t differentiate all of the layers of tissue and are forced to combine up to 3 layers of tissue into one. If the Heidelberg Spectralis detects a problem, we will know its exact location.
Reason 2. Its Unique Laser Tracking Technology
This allows us to monitor the health of your eyes accurately over time. The laser tracker means that the machine will detect the exact location repeatedly after the first scan is performed. A little bit like a homing missile (without the blowing up part, of course), it recognizes the correct position and adjusts accordingly. Without this tracking technology, you will undoubtedly catch a different part in the eye because it would be next to impossible to recreate the same head position accurate to one-thousandth of a millimetre. This means we will be confident about anyways the eye is changing. We’ll know if a problem area was getting better or worse, and any uncertainty that it looks different just because we captured a slightly different location will be eliminated.
Who benefits from having OCT?
Every adult can benefit from having OCT. We can view a part of the eye where it’s likely that no one has seen before. If we know everything looks healthy, it’s great peace of mind, and we’ll then have a record of exactly what the back of your eye looks like. We can then make sure that it’s not changing in a way that it shouldn’t be, and should you ever have a concern about your vision or eye health, we can look for anything in the retina that wasn’t there before.
We do recommend it to anyone, but it becomes even more advisable when you’re over the age of 40 since you’re more at risk of diseases such as glaucoma.
‘If a patient reports an increase in distortion of vision, we can now confidently tell you if it is Dry or Wet macula degeneration.’
Is OCT different to retinal/fundus photography?
Yes! Taking a photo of the back of the eye is commonplace in eye examinations today. Some opticians include it in the price of a sight test, or you might have paid a small fee to have it done. If you have diabetes, you’ll have these photographs taken regularly, most likely at your GP surgery. Whilst this is a valuable diagnostic tool, it does not show you any more of the eye than in your standard eye test. It is simply a photograph of what the optometrist can already see. OCT, however, shows us all the layers of tissue that sit behind what you can see in a picture.
‘The normal photo flash typically bleached out subtle pigment changes in macula degeneration, the OCT use Infra-red and no flash.’
How long does it take?
The scan is usually rapid and is performed in about 1-2 minutes per eye. We recommend you allow around 20 minutes for the scan, though, as this will give us time to discuss the results.
Is it uncomfortable?
No, there’s no discomfort at all. There is no contact with the eye, there aren’t any bright flashes or puffs of air, and you don’t need to have any drops put in your eyes. You can also blink normally whilst having the scan. It simply involves you sitting still and focussing on a small blue cross.
How long do I wait for the results?
The results are instant, and we usually discuss them with you during your visit, although there might be the odd occasion where we need to get back to you.
Can I have OCT if I have a cataract?
Yes. If you have a cataract, it’s all the more reason to have OCT. Cataracts form when the lens inside the eye loses transparency or becomes ‘cloudy’. This means it’s more challenging to get a good view of the back of the eye during your sight test. In OCT, however, the safe light beam is not obstructed by the cataract so that we can see the back of the eye.
Is it still advisable to have OCT if I’m diabetic?
Definitely, if you have diabetes, you probably have regular screening appointments where they photograph the back of your eye. This is a critical assessment that checks for signs of diabetic retinopathy – or put simply, ‘wear and tear’ caused by diabetes. But remember, the OCT scan shows us more than the photograph, and we can pick up on signs of disease at an earlier stage. The chance of any sight loss is reduced for 9 out of 10 people when diabetic retinopathy is found and treated quickly. Just as importantly, if you’re already at risk of problems in the eye from diabetes, you will undoubtedly want to know about any other factors that could be putting your vision at risk.
‘Diabetic Retinopathy is at its worse when the macula is affected; the OCT will detect earlier changes to the macula than a normal exam or photo every would do.