Optometry Scotland working group established to explore need for OCT services

A short-life working group, launched by the representative body, will explore use of the technology in community optometry and determine financial implications of the universal provision of OCT

In the foreground is an OCT device, while blurred in the background a practitioner is typing on a keyboard
Getty/Aegean Blue

Optometry Scotland has launched a taskforce to investigate the benefits of investment in optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology and determine the need for universal implementation of OCT scanning in the community.

The short-life working group (SLWG) will explore the use of OCT in community optometry to consider the benefits and value of additional investment and the potential for expansion across Scotland.

Initial investment in fundus cameras was supported by the Scottish Government through grant funding in 2008, however, Optometry Scotland suggested that these devices are now outdated and that many practitioners have chosen to offer OCT services privately.

Optometry Scotland highlighted the role that OCT plays in preventative care and advanced detection, and the knock-on effects that early diagnosis and treatment of conditions, such as glaucoma and retinal diseases, could have for easing pressure on secondary care resources.

The working group will aim to determine the financial implications of universal implementation of OCT technology in the community, while providing research-based evidence to support the need for the service.

The SLWG is expected to run for approximately six months, with the findings to be presented to the Scottish Government.

The group will comprise seven members, including optometrists Julie Mosgrove and Eilidh Thomson, chair and vice-chair of Optometry Scotland, along with individuals from multiple and independent practices, NHS National Services Scotland, ophthalmology, and the University of Aberdeen.

Thomson commented: “We are incredibly fortunate to live in a day and age where technology can serve such a fundamental role in the healthcare process. However, this can only provide value to patients if access is equitable.”

“Universal provision of OCT scanning would improve the quality of care optometrists can provide across the country, and in turn, benefit the health of the nation,” she continued, adding: “Optometry Scotland is pleased to be launching the group now and look forward to presenting results and recommendations to the government later this year.”

Optometry Scotland is the representative body for optometrists and dispensing opticians in Scotland, and has a membership of more than 370 practices.

OT heard from Julie Mosgrove at the end of December 2023 about plans for the short-life working group. Read more here.