Dr Ellen Sun shares her ‘wow’ moment with including OCT with her eye exams

For optometrists, one of the most rewarding parts of the profession is being able to make a difference to people’s lives. Whether that’s helping them to see clearly, with glasses or contact lenses, to even saving their life.

Dr. Ellen Sun, optometry partner at Specsavers CF Masonville Place, shares one such experience during her very first months as a practice owner that emphasizes the power of a comprehensive eye exam with ocular coherence tomography (OCT), which Dr. Sun provides to every patient as part of her standard eye exam.

“A few weeks ago, I saw a 39-year-old woman who had been experiencing mild blurry vision at distance and some dizziness and headaches for around two weeks. She thought that she probably just needed some new glasses and Tylenol seemed to be helping with her symptoms. She’d been studying for a final exam the next day and had also been busy taking care of her kids.”

“During her exam, I noted her vision was around 20/25 in each eye without glasses and I could refract her to 20/20. Everything seemed fine at first glance, but after reviewing her retinal images and OCT, it was clear that both of her optic nerves were swollen and there was a hemorrhage above the right optic nerve. The increased RNFL thickness as well as no direct visualization of optic nerve head drusen were key in making the diagnosis of papilledema.”

“This can sometimes be harder to see with normal lenses, so having advanced diagnostic equipment at my clinic and including OCT scans as part of a routine eye exam allowed me to efficiently examine my patient when she came into the exam room.”

The patient’s retinal pictures show blurred disc margins in both eyes and a nasal disc hemorrhage in the right eye.

“The kind of swelling I saw indicated a potential build-up of cerebral spinal fluid inside the brain which could cause raised intracranial pressure. This can be life threatening and lead to seizures, strokes and other neurological damage.”

“I talked her through my findings and sent her to the ER straight away with my report recommending an MRI/CT and, if necessary, a lumbar puncture to rule out increased intracranial pressure. I also gave her a doctor’s note to excuse her from her final exam.”

“The next day I got a report back from the ER saying that she’d had multiple CT scans and had been admitted overnight. A blood clot had been found in her left parietal lobe that was causing her brain to swell, and she was officially diagnosed with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). I’d been emailing with the patient to check on her status and it sounded like she was in great hands at the hospital, receiving treatment from a neurologist as well as a neuro-ophthalmologist.”

“She later emailed me to thank me for showing her kindness during the exam and helping her get the urgent care that she absolutely needed. That was one of the best feelings I can get for doing what I do and truly shows that you can’t underestimate the power of a comprehensive eye exam with OCT!”

Independent, locally owned clinics, like Dr. Sun’s, are fitted with fully integrated, advanced technology at all Specsavers locations. To start your own independent clinic at a Specsavers location, start a conversation with our partnerships team at enquiries.ca@specsavers.com

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