Using technology to better examine your eye health

For years the standard way of checking the health of the back of your eyes has been either direct ophthalmoscopy (when we get really close with the bright light) or slit-lamp ophthalmoscopy where you have your chin on a chin-rest and we look inside the eyes using a microscope, a bright light and a super-powerful magnifying lens.

All optometrists are highly skilled at recognising anything that may be wrong, the only problem with this is one of comparison. Judging whether the appearance of someone’s retina two or more years ago has changed or not, can be difficult, even when comprehensive notes are kept. That’s where photographs can be invaluable.

Many eye conditions can be particularly hard to detect because the changes in the appearance of the back of the eye can be very subtle and slow. If we take glaucoma as an example, the appearance of what’s called the optic disc, where the optic nerve joins the back of the eye, is one of the things that we monitor very closely. Glaucoma damages the optic disc and it’s shape and size change slowly as the damage occurs over time. If we have images to compare, then this damage can be picked up a lot earlier than would otherwise be the case. This is not just true of glaucoma, the detection of diabetes and other problems hugely benefit from this too. At Patrick and Menzies, we were early adopters of this technology, known as Fundus Photography over 15 years ago.

Since fundus photography became commonplace, a newer, more advanced technology became available, known as Optical Coherence Tomography or OCT. From the patient’s perspective the procedure is very similar to fundus photography. However instead of a flat 2D photograph of the retina, OCT uses scanning light beams to create a 3D image, not unlike an ultrasound, of the retina. The advantage of this is that we can see the deeper layers of the retina, nerve fibres and blood vessels underneath, things that can’t be seen on a conventional fundus photograph. Conditions like Glaucoma, diabetes and many others can be picked even earlier than before, enabling treatment before any significant sight loss or other complications can occur. We installed OCT in all our practices over 5 years ago and they have proved invaluable.

Our Braintree practice also has something called Optomap. These machines give us an ultra-widefield image of the back of the eye, enabling easier detection of any problems in the peripheral areas of the retina.

These more advanced ways of examining your eyes are a standard part of our private eye examination, and included if you are part of our VisionPlan scheme.

For anyone who receives a basic NHS check, they are available as an upgrade for a small fee.

For more information, or to book an appointment, just get in touch.  We’d be very happy to look after you!


Brand Spotlight | Prada Eyewear Collection

Prada is the Italian luxury fashion house, specializing in leather handbags, luggage, shoes, ready-to-wear, perfumes and accessories, founded in 1913 by Mario Prada. It represents the best of Italian culture and tradition and is one of the most innovative, prestigious and widely recognized world brands, with a keen attention to detail and a finger on the pulse of new trends. In 2000, Prada launched their eyewear collection, which reflects this approach with unmistakable style, refined elegance and uncompromising quality.

Prada’s eyewear collection is made by Italian eyewear conglomerate and the world’s largest company in the eyewear industry, Luxottica. Luxottica was founded by Leonardo Del Vecchio, who began his career as the apprentice to a tool and die maker in Milan. In 1961, he moved to Agordo in the province of Belluno, which is home to most of the Italian eyewear industry and in 1967, he started selling complete eyeglass frames under the Luxottica brand, which proved hugely successful. Today Luxottica make glasses for Chanel, Versace, Armani, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana, as well as their own lines.

Prada glasses are among the most colourful, avant-garde and yet wearable on the market today. The brand is renowned for both anticipating and influencing future tendencies, so they’re the perfect option for those who want to lean towards a timeless aristocratic elegance. The collection also includes the Prada Linea Rossa line, which is inspired by the world of luxury sports to convey an everyday casual yet sophisticated style.

“Beauty, creativity and superior quality have always been the guiding principles of the Prada Group,” says Carlo Mazzi, Prada’s Chairman, but the Group is also committed to environmental and corporate social responsibility, so you can sure you are making an ethical choice too.

Take a look at some of the frames: The Duple come in a abundance of colours and has a chunky 1960s feel, upgraded with an exposed metal nose piece, the Ultravox has a beguiling kitten shape and doesn’t overwhelm finer-boned faces, the Journal captures the nerdy-cool vibe with a solid square-frame, the Cinema and the Ornate both have interesting corner details and the Minimal Baroque are so fashion-forward you’ll be on the cover of a magazine!

From sophisticated designs with intriguing detail to vintage models reimagined in different, original nuances, the Prada Eyewear Collection is a range we are very proud to stock. Obviously, we don’t have all frames available at all times in all of our stores, but we are always happy to help, so if there’s a particular style you’re interested in, just let us know!