The Chair of BANES, Cllr Alan Hale, invited to officially open the company’s newly relocated practice in the town’s High Street. He jumped at the chance when he was invited to use an instrument new to the town which is identical to that being used by Tim Peake and his colleagues to make regular checks on their vision in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station which is orbiting approximately 370km above the earth.
The instrument, a Heidelberg Engineering SPECTRALIS, is based on a technique called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) which until recent years could only be accessed in hospitals. The OCT uses a scanning laser which enables 3D images to be built of the various layers of a patient’s eyes. The resulting scans, especially if repeated over a period of time, can give a vital early warning of several serious conditions long before they become apparent to the patient.
Cllr Banes said: “This is a very impressive piece of technology. I already knew I had a progressive problem with my eyes but to be able to see it like this and to have the ability to track and measure its development is incredible.”
“We are gradually installing this exciting capability across our practices,” said Norville Opticians Director Adrian Street.” The test is very simple, takes just a few seconds and is completely non-contact; there are no sudden puffs of air or flashes of light. Any areas that appear unusual can then be measured and later repeat scans can be lined up exactly with the original and any changes can be seen and measured.”