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Independent group installs OCT technology

Norville Opticians invests in the same OCT technology being used by astronauts on the International Space Station across its 12 practices

OCT in use on the International Space Station (ISS)

An independent opticians group has invested in the same state-of-the-art vision testing technology that is being used by astronaut Tim Peake and his colleagues on the International Space Station (ISS) to perform regular vision checks.

Norville Opticians will roll out the OCT technology in all of its 12 practices, with the equipment having already been installed in its Keynsham, Thornbury, Downend, Gloucester and Stonehouse branches.

The technology enables 3D images to be built of the various layers of a patients’ eyes which, if repeated over a period of time, can provide early warning signs of a number of serious conditions, long before they become apparent to the patient.

Crew members onboard the ISS have been using the Heidelberg Spectralis OCT – as purchased by Norville Opticians – to perform eye examinations every four weeks since June 2013 as part of NASA’s ongoing ocular health study.

Director of Norville Opticians, Adrian Street, said: “We are gradually installing this exciting capability across our practices.

”For the first time it offers our patients in Keynsham an opportunity to monitor their health and detect problems at a much earlier stage. 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 with the original and any changes can be seen and measured.”

He added: “Unfortunately this test is not part of the NHS eye examination and so we have to charge a nominal fee, but when you consider what it can detect then it’s well worth the money.”