Connect 4 – eye tests, opticians, 3D OCT scans and dementia in Meltham

How our 3D OCT eye scanner can help us see so much more

In July this year the BBC and many national newspapers reported how,  “A simple eye test carried out by opticians could help predict who is at risk of developing dementia, a study suggests.”* The articles in the papers talked of a new report that explored the link between retinal thickness and mental functions such as memory. During the research  30,000 UK adults, aged 40 to 69 were studied. The people with the thinnest retinas were 11% more likely to fail a series of memory tests and reasoning assessments. As early as 2016 researchers at Moorfield eye hospital were looking into the link between retinal thickness and poor memory⍡.  Participants in the study completed a series of memory test, during which their reaction times and reasonings were recorded. The results of the tests were compared to measurements taken using optical coherence tomography scans (OCT) which records the thickness of the retina.

Moorfield’s study

The study found a significant association between a thinning of the retina and poor cognition skills. The retina was found to be thinner among participants who had an abnormal result to at least one of the memory tests. The retina also appeared one-micrometre thinner for each additional memory test failed. Dr Fang Ko of Moorfields, said: “Our findings show a clear association between thinner macular  retinal nerve fibre layer and poor cognition in the study population.” The Moorfields team suggest the latest findings could lead to people being screened for dementia as part of an individual’s regular eye check-up. Dr Clare Walton, Research manager at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Changes in the brain associated with dementia can begin several years before any memory symptoms appear. This research suggests that some of these changes happen in the retina of the eye too, which could give us a relatively easy, non-invasive way to spot them early. Eye tests are fairly common for older people, so there is great potential to incorporate additional tests into their regular check-up. These tests could help to identify people at risk of dementia who would benefit from further investigation but will not become a primary way to diagnosis the condition.” At Allegro Optical Opticians we have a brand new 3D optical coherence tomography (OCT)  which we use to literally see through the retina. Allowing us to assess the health of the tissue around the eye and to measure the thickness of all the retinal layers. While screening for dementia is still very much in its infancy our 3D OCT Scanner can show signs of many other conditions such as;
  • age-related macular degeneration.
  • glaucoma.
  • central serous retinopathy.
  • diabetic retinopathy.
  • vitreous traction

Who can the 3D OCT eye scanner help?

The 3D OCT is an advanced eye scan for people of all ages. Similar to an MRI or CAT or ultrasound scan for the eyes, it uses light rather than sound waves.  Illustrating the different layers that make up the back of the eye. The major benefit of this amazing state of the art machine is that it allows our optometrists to see through the back of your eye. Creating a three-dimensional image literary looking beneath the surface of the regular retinal image. Never before, has it been easier to find out the exact state and location of a particular eye condition. Our 3D OCT scans are available to everyone and it takes just a few seconds.  It is completely non-invasive and non-contact. There are no sudden flashes of light and certainly no puffs of air. If our optometrists see any areas of your eye that appear unusual they can then be measured with the OCT. These areas can either be monitored over time with additional scans and at a later date. Or we will refer for further investigation. All of these scans can be lined up with the original and compared to see if any changes have occurred over time. Allegro Optical is the only opticians in Meltham to have a 3D OCT scanner By performing 3D OCT eye scans we are able to identify any potential problems at a much sooner, allowing for better treatment options and a better visual outcome. Our appointment times are longer than most so you can trust us with your eye care. Call 01484 907090 and book your thorough eye examination today. Allegro Optical is a registered Dementia Friendly business.
Further reading
*https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-44936752 https://www.rnib.org.uk/nb-online/eye-test-early-dementia https://www.rnib.org.uk/eye-health/sight-loss-other-medical-conditions/dementia-and-sight-loss *https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5985545/How-going-simple-eye-test-opticians-spot-DEMENTIA.html https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5742098/

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