20 long years ago in 1995 I spent £45,000 on the UK’s first retinal camera and since then every patient has been screened free at least once a year. The retinal camera was an advancement because it allows the Optometrist to see 60% of the retinal surface in ‘one view’ whilst peering into the eye through an Ophthalmoscope only allowed a small area at a time to be seen with the inherent risk that if the patient blinked we might miss some vital warning sign of disease!
Today technology has moved on so much that retinal camera attachments costing less than £200 are now available for phones so you can take your own ‘Retinal Selfie’. See www.peekvision.org
5 years ago we were one of the very first practices to invest in 3D OCT Eye Scanning – similar to an MRI Scan this unique instrument uses infra-red light to scan the INSIDE of the retina where diseases first develop. 3D OCT has immediately made retinal photography unnecessary as, with a retinal camera or the more dated Ophthalmoscope, we can only see the signs of sight threatening diseases after they have advanced to the surface, by which time it is usually more difficult or impossible to treat. With regular 3D scans we can even predict the onset of Glaucoma, allowing us to refer for treatment often before any sight loss has occurred!
Having invested over £70,000 in our Scanner we do feel a little aggrieved when we see at least two of the High Street chains now advertising that they have, 20 years after us, just discovered Retinal Photography!