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Retinal Photography

Using state of the art equipment, our registered optician will record a high definition image of the back of your eye in order to monitor the retina, nerves and blood vessels for any problems or changes. Traditionally, when the registered optometrist shines a light into your eye during the examination (ophthalmoscopy) he sees a snapshot of the retina, and records it on his paper file. This is imperfect for many reasons, such as having a limited view because of pupils becoming smaller with the bright light, a limited time frame due to the patient's potential discomfort caused by bright light, and only having a pen and paper to record any findings. A digital copy allows us to look back at the findings as and when required, compare images taken years apart to detect small but potentially important changes, and in case of a problem we can send the images directly to your GP or eye clinic so that they know exactly what they are looking for before they even meet you.

OCT Screening: More than Just a Picture

Using a state-of-the-art 3D Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) camera, our registered optometrist will take a quick, painless digital photograph and a three dimensional cross sectional scan of the back of your eye. The scan is non-invasive and allows us to immediately diagnose a number of potentially serious conditions, so that treatment can begin without delay. We obviously hope that no issues are found, however even when the scan is performed on completely healthy eyes, it gives an unprecedented and invaluable ongoing record of the health and condition of your eyes.

An Advanced Health Check

Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) has been described as “high definition ultrasound”, however the key difference is that OCT uses light rather than sound waves to illustrate the different layers that make up the back of your eye. The scan actually allows us to examine 128 separate images, all captured in one short sitting. We also include a digital photograph of the front and back surfaces of your eye to cross reference areas of concern. There is an additional charge for our OCT scan, but the benefits are clear to everyone. OCT is particularly useful for patients worried about, or with a family history of, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, and “flashes and floaters”.

Book an appointment with one of our stores in Cardiff or Bristol.

EHEW and WECS

As part of an initiative from the NHS in Wales, we are proud to be a Welsh Eye Care Service (EHEW/WECS) approved practitioner. This means we can perform additional services, such as providing emergency same and next day appointments for those suffering acute eye problems, as well as further investigations into new and existing concerns, and reviews of previously treated eye health issues. We are also able to perform a full eye health assessment for those considered to be at risk. The additional tests required are performed at no extra charge to you, and the registered optometrist will decide during your routine eye test if they’re necessary to avoid you having to come back another day.

Low Vision Service

Another initiative from the Welsh NHS, the Low Vision Service provides specialist advice and equipment to help those with limited sight perform the tasks we take for granted, such as doing a crossword puzzle, cooking or watching television. Large print versions of many publications are available; however magnifiers, screen reading equipment and even improved lighting arrangements can allow a low vision patient to perform many previously impossible tasks with ease.

How it Works

Your appointment will take around one hour, and during this time our registered optometrist will discuss your eye condition with you, offering general advice before moving on to which tasks you struggle with due to reduced vision. Having established these, the registered optometrist will offer you some suitable vision aids to try out, to see which will work best for you. These may be magnifiers, screen readers, reading stands or other low vision aids, depending on your needs. The equipment will then be ordered from the NHS and supplied to you, free of charge, for as long as you need it. You are more than welcome to bring along a friend or family member to the appointment, as well as any examples of what you will need help to view (some embroidery or a puzzle book, for instance).

Next Generation Pressure Checks

As with blood, there is an ideal balance of the pressure in the jelly like substance within the eye (called vitreous humour), and this has traditionally been measured in a normal sight test with the standard “puff of air” pressure check, which has long been famous as the dreaded portion of an eye examination. This, coupled with its moderate accuracy level, left us seeking alternatives. At Direct Eyecare, we pride ourselves on having some of the most up-to-date clinical services in Wales, and our intraocular pressure testing equipment is no exception to that. We still offer the “puffer” test (non-contact tonometry), however we also offer a hospital grade Goldmann (applanation tonometry) check. Goldmann Applanation Tonometry is considered to be the gold standard in terms of accuracy, and although your test may take an extra 5 minutes, the highly specific reading we get allows us to track even the smallest changes within your eye (and you won’t have to hold your breath, wincing in anticipation of the dreaded puff!). Maintaining a record of the pressure inside the eyes is incredibly important, primarily because a high reading can be indicative of Glaucoma, a serious and potentially sight-threatening condition which often goes unnoticed for years. A less serious condition known as Ocular Hypertension (which can lead to Glaucoma) is also best diagnosed and monitored with the use of the Goldmann test.

How it Works

Our registered optometrist will begin this extra check by applying some eye drops, which both reduce sensitivity, and allow us to thoroughly check the health of the front surface of the eye with a mild staining effect (which wears off quickly). Then, the Goldmann Applanation Tonometer will briefly touch the front of the eye (you won't feel it), and the registered optometrist will use a blue light to observe and record the pressure reading. The entire process is very quick and painless, and gives us the most accurate reading possible.

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