Optometrist and independent practice owner, Amanda Bahadur, discusses the benefits of having an Optomap in practice
My husband, Anthony Bahadur, and I purchased Focus Medical Eye Centre four years ago and one of the beauties of having our own practice is the freedom that we can choose what equipment we want to invest in.
We pride ourselves on creating and nurturing strong relationships with local ophthalmologists and when a patient with an ophthalmic emergency walks in the door, we strive to examine, diagnose and refer as efficiently as possible.
We both became accredited to run a Minor Eye Condition Service (MECS) clinic just over a year ago and pretty soon after decided to invest in an Optomap. And it has since proved to be invaluable.
The Optomap provides a panoramic digital image of 82% of the retina. It is fast, painless and comfortable for the patient and gives you so much more information than a standard fundus photograph, which only gives a view of 15% of the retina.
It has helped me to detect asymptomatic retinal holes and tears, retinal detachments, peripheral diabetic retinopathy and even damage to an eight-year-old’s eye from a firework.
Our Optomap is performed on all of our private patients and as an optional, additional test on NHS patients at a charge of £20 for adults and £15 for children.
Patients do not need to be dilated and the Optomap can be used on the practice shop floor without needing a different lighting level.
The Optomap can be performed by trained practice staff, who would usually take one colour photo and one with auto flourescence on each eye, which then become available to view in the test room immediately.
You can zoom in and out of the retina and look underneath at the choroid and view the blood vessels in high definition. You can also demonstrate the difference in the view of the retina given by the Optomap compared with the view obtained by standard imaging.
Although our MECS clinic is a free service provided by the NHS, all of our patients are happy to pay for an Optomap if we feel it is necessary. PVD’s are managed in practice more confidently, meaning less referrals and less disruption for both patients and ophthalmologists.
"Our local GPs now confidently refer any minor eye conditions to us knowing that we have the best equipment to help us diagnose and co-manage these patients, freeing up their valuable time"
When we detect retinal tears or retinal abnormalities, we are able to print off the Optomap and send it in to help the ophthalmologists pinpoint the area in question.
Furthermore, our local GPs now confidently refer any minor eye conditions to us knowing that we have the best equipment to help us diagnose and co-manage these patients, freeing up their valuable time.
An example of the benefit that having an Optomap can provide can be found in the story of when I used it on an eight-year-old who got remnants of a firework in her eye. Her mum brought her in to me several days later because her vision was blurry and her eye felt sore. A quick Optomap revealed the damage to her retina, which I was able to show her mum. An urgent referral to the eye hospital and two operations later to patch with silicone and then remove the silicone, and her eye looked much better.
Her vision in this eye is now 6/7.6 and her retina has healed well. She even brought me in this letter (pictured above) which made my day.
I would recommend an Optomap to everyone. I still dilate and use my Volk lens, but the Optomap helps me to record, diagnose and communicate retinal and general health issues more effectively to my patients and fellow health professionals.