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Behind the scenes at City Sight

Situated a short walk from Northampton Square, since its move from near Moorfields Eye Hospital two years ago City Sight has become a key part of the local community.

by City Press Office (General enquiries)

Using the latest equipment and techniques - as well as offering specialist clinics for children, and those with specific learning difficulties, visual impairment and colour vision defects - City Sight provides something a little different to your standard high street optometrist.

Not only do you get an advanced and incredibly thorough eye test informed by the latest research from City’s leading Division for Optometry and Visual Science, but also the tests are carried out by City’s own students supervised by a qualified optometrist enabling the latest generation of optometrists to receive the vital training they need.

Having treated over 3,000 patients in the past six months alone, in one of 23 clinic rooms and four diagnostic rooms, the clinic also provides a vital role in a thriving community while also offering Occupational eye tests for the London Fire Brigade and other emergency services.

But what lies behind the test?

Optical care

In the UK millions of us wear glasses and regularly have eye examinations, providing an important way to not only correct vision problems but also provide an opportunity to spot a range of conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes and age-related macular degeneration.

Comprising of a series of tests, which over the course of two hours rigorously assesses all aspects of eye health, the City Sight examination is a vital health check as well as educational tool for third year optometry students.

“The clinics have been incredibly useful for studies as it really gives an insight of what the 'real' world of optometry is like”, says Dounia Gharanei, a third year optometry student at City. “It has given me a chance to view, identify and even manage certain conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma which we only saw in textbooks - it's given us a real view of what such conditions would look like.”

In general, an eye test starts with questions about general health and vision, including any diseases such as diabetes which can have an impact on eye health. But besides the classic chart test which has been in use for many years to examine vision and determine prescriptions for glasses, City Sight also possesses a wide variety of equipment for examining ocular health.

One such piece of equipment, known as a Slit Lamp, is used to check the health of the front of the eye, and examines the cornea, iris and lens to check for any scratches or abrasions. The optometrists can also place a dark orange dye called fluorescein on the outer surface of the eye. By then using a blue light they can use this to check if there is any damage to the cornea of the eye, or any foreign bodies present in the eye.

SL-Zoom Slit Lamp

A device known as the direct ophthalmoscope can also be used to measure the health of the back of the eye. Using a bright light which is shone into each eye, the optometrist examines the retina. This is an important test as it can show up early signs of diabetes or high blood pressure.

“My favourite bit of equipment to use is the ophthalmoscope; it just amazes me how one piece of equipment allows me to see such a beautiful image of the back of the eye,” said Dounia.

Advanced optometry

In addition to these tests, City Sight also possesses some cutting-edge machines which enable optometrists to look at the eye – and for eye diseases – in incredible detail. One of these new machines, known as Optomap, provides an ultra-wide image of the retina in colour and black and white enabling early detection of vision impairment or blindness, as well as life-threatening diseases like cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.

Another machine which provides advanced imagery of the eye is the Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scan. One of the latest advancements in imaging technology, the OCT can obtain higher resolution pictures of the structural layers of the back of the eye. This can be used to detect eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Humphrey Field Analyzer (field of vision test)

Other tests at City Sight also include the use of a non-contact tonometer, which uses puffs of air to test eye pressure, as high pressure can indicate eye diseases such as glaucoma. The field of vision test, in which those having their eyes tested are asked to focus on a central point while white dots appear around the machine of varying intensity. They are then asked to click a button every time a dot is seen to appear. As many eye and brain disorders can cause peripheral vision loss and other visual field abnormalities, these tests can help detect blind spots and other visual field defects, which can be an early sign of these problems.

Lastly, once all these tests have taken place, the recipient of the eye test can return to the classic optometrist’s chair as their current vision is calculated using the famous chart test – and taking into account all the information gleaned from previous tests – to provide an update on eye health, and advise on whether glasses and a certain prescription is needed.

Roshni Samra, Manager of City Sight, said:

The educational and training facility at City Sight has some of the most technologically advanced instruments available on the market today. We believe this investment in the future of tomorrow’s optometrists will provide a fantastic platform for the students at City, University of London to launch their careers in optics. The facilities enable staff and students to examine the eye in even further detail, enabling us to diagnose and treat any eye conditions at the earliest opportunity.

The tests as well, will also help prepare future optometrists such as Dounia for the next step in their careers.

“Clinics have really given us a 'taster' of what the work life will be like and I feel like every clinic brings be one step closer to being ready for the working life. Time at City Sight has really helped me prepare for work and after I finish at City, I will be starting my pre- registration placement at Specsavers opticians,” said Dounia.

Book an appointment

To find out more about services on offer and to book an appointment, visit the City Sight website.

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