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Community optometrists

Improving diagnosis with the latest eye technology

Fifty community optometrists were invited to City to complete an educational programme on advanced imaging devices

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Community optometrists attended City, University of London for an educational event in May 2018, as researchers spoke about how 3-D advanced imaging devices such as Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) could be used to help diagnose eye diseases.

OCT is mainly used in eye hospitals where it is used to help diagnose eye diseases and is now becoming more affordable with uptake by community optometrists increasing.

Within the last six decades there has been 80% increase of people aged 65 years or older in the UK. With an ageing population there will be an increase in age related eye diseases such as glaucoma and age related macular degeneration. Therefore, there is a growing need to educate optometrists regarding the principles of OCT, how to interpret the data it produces, as well as learning about its limitations. As a result, 50 community optometrists were invited to City to complete an educational programme which consisted of online learning tools and an interactive three-hour evening event involving a computer based assessment.

Organised by PhD student and Specialist Optometrist Anish Jindal in partnership with Professor John Lawrenson and Dr Irene Ctori from the Division of Optometry and Visual Science, the event was highly successful, with attendees praising the informative and educational nature of the event, which was delivered in an accessibly and easy to understand way.

Anish said: “This event highlights the importance of healthcare professionals keeping up to date with innovative technology, which may have the potential to improve their diagnostic skills, which in turn benefits patients by allowing earlier detection and treatment which will subsequently help in the fight against preventable blindness. The event was overwhelmingly well received by delegates and feedback was incredible. This programme was part of a  project within my PhD research where I am investigating whether OCT improves the ability to diagnose common eye diseases seen in primary care by community optometrists. The project itself if one of several I am conducting in my PhD where I am looking at the diagnostic accuracy of technology in detecting age related eye diseases.

“I hope that the results gathered from the event we can use to publish and present  within the year in peer reviewed scientific journals and conferences respectively; as currently there is minimal evidence in this area and will encourage further research into this area as uptake of OCT in increasing.”

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