Two thousand optometrists geared up for OCT

More than 2000 optometrists at Specsavers have completed an extensive programme of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) training, ahead of the installation of the hospital-grade technology in their stores.

The milestone has been reached almost half way through the rollout across the UK and Ireland of OCT, which is now in use in 400 stores.

Richard Davies of the Bath store was the 2000th optometrist to complete the set of seven online modules, which cover essentials of OCT, OCT in glaucoma, medical retina and anterior segment, and prudent referrals.

Presenting a £100 voucher to Richard in store this week, Paul Morris, director of professional advancement, said:

‘It is great to celebrate this achievement with Richard and with all the team. Reaching the milestone of 2000 so quickly is testament to the commitment throughout Specsavers to improve clinical outcomes and develop clinicians through investment. Every clinician who undertakes this learning will be enabled by the very latest eye care technology to play a vital role in improving eye health in their community. I look forward to meeting the 3000th optometrist later in the journey.’

Richard explained that he had wanted to work with OCT since he qualified 12 years ago: ‘Customers know the technology is out there and it’s great to be able to offer it.’

The OCT modules were written by Mike Horler, ophthalmic director in Brighton and a specialist optometrist in Sussex Eye Hospital’s macula clinic, Adam Wannell, head of clinical optometry, Will Lok, head of enhanced optical services, and Jason Higginbothan, director of medical education at Birmingham Optical.

He continued, ‘Overall there is a really good package of training and support for OCT, tailored to use in high street practice. We’re able to see conditions that we could not see before. And it provides a baseline assessment for eye diseases such as glaucoma so we can monitor its progress. It’s a real step up from digital retinal photography. As optometrists we are getting more involved in diagnosis and management of conditions, taking the load off the hospital eye service.’

The two OCT machines selected for the Specsavers rollout are the Nidek Retina Scan Duo and the Heidelberg Spectralis Spirit. The Bath directors opted for the Heidelberg, which was installed on 4 June.

Optometrist director Masumi Jethwa said: ‘We are all thrilled with our new OCT.  With this investment we can identify and help to manage conditions with a level of diagnostic capability which previously would have needed a hospital visit. OCT technology produces such a detailed picture of the structures in the eye that it allows us to identify signs of diseases years earlier than traditional methods. Given that nearly half of all sight loss is preventable, the sooner we can detect these conditions, the sooner we can help manage them or refer people for treatment.’

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