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Technology advances at an astonishing rate, giving us ever more sophisticated ways to assess and monitor your general and ocular health and this is why we offer an enhanced eye examination as standard.

But what is an enhanced eye exam and how is it different to a standard eye exam?

What is an Enhanced Eye Exam?

Alongside the usual ocular assessments that you would expect as part of a standard sight test, our enhanced eye exam includes digital retinal photography and OCT retina and optic nerve scans. These digital images are invaluable to us when it comes to understanding your eye health. For the both of us, one of the big reasons for joining Clapham Optical was the investment in cutting-edge equipment. It has made a massive difference to the level of care we are able to give our clients.

What is an OCT scan?

An OCT scanner (or Optical Coherence Tomography to give it its full name) is used to take detailed images of the retina and optic disc, similar to those from an ultrasound, only using light instead of sound. The 3D images produced allow us to not only see the surface of the retina, but also beneath the surface. As much as we like to brag about our skills with a retinoscope and VOLK lens, there is no other method available that allows us to see the many layers and structures that are hidden beneath the surface.

This is the same equipment used by the local Hospital Eye Services and in private clinics (only at a fraction of the cost!)

What conditions can OCT scans detect?

For most people, an Enhanced Eye Examination with OCT scans allow us to confirm that your eyes are healthy. Repeating on a regular basis allows for comparison over time and early detection of some of the most common eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinal holes, age-related macular degeneration (both wet and dry) and vitreous detachment.

Do you need an Enhanced Eye Examination?

This is something we get asked commonly in practice. Because of the unprecedented information that we get from the OCT scans, we feel an enhanced eye exam is vital for anyone wishing to have the most thorough assessment of their eye health. It is highly recommended for anyone with diabetes, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or those with a family history of these conditions.

Even if you are not aware of any symptoms, OCT scans are beneficial as many eye conditions can present no symptoms until more advanced stages. Regular eye examinations with OCT scans allow us to detect small signs of change and closely monitor them in order to detect eye conditions as early as possible. For example, evidence has shown that an OCT scan can help detect signs of glaucoma up to four years earlier than traditional techniques.

We also frequently get asked whether it is necessary for those that attend a regular diabetic screening to have OCT scans. The answer is yes and that is due to significant differences between the retinal images taken at the screening and the advanced scans that the OCT provides. Retinal imagery is great for seeing the surface of the retina and signs of diabetic retinopathy, but it stops there. As outlined above, the OCT scans provide much more information and can detect a greater range of conditions.

For an optometrist, trying to get a detailed view of the internal structures of the eye with traditional instruments is like asking a surveyor to give you a detailed report of your house by looking through the letterbox!

How Much Does An Enhanced Eye Exam Cost?

Our enhanced eye exam costs just £50 and is available to all. For those eligible, the NHS optical services fee of £21.31 is deducted, bringing the cost down to £28.69. In a recent poll of fellow opticians we discovered that the average fee for a comparable enhanced exam is £65, so as always we are giving great value for money!

Hopefully this has given some useful information about the benefits of OCT scans and we look forward to seeing you for your Enhanced Eye Examination soon.

Laura and Rachel
Optometrists