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Glaucoma detection increases as 250th Specsavers store receives OCT

27/03/2019By Myles Hume
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Specsavers is on track to introduce optical coherence tomography (OCT) across its entire Australasian store network by the end of the year after recently achieving two significant milestones.

The optical chain has now incorporated OCT into 250 stores across Australia and New Zealand, and – in the same week – celebrated its 200th Australian store. The New Zealand roll out was completed last October, leaving 130 more Australian stores still to install OCT equipment.

According to Specsavers, the initiative is a cornerstone of the company’s mission to help raise the standard of eyecare by including screening for every patient at no additional cost.

With plans to have the technology in every store by the end of 2019, the company reports that, on average, approximately 7,100 patients are being assessed for glaucoma and other sight-threatening eye diseases each day across its OCT-equipped stores.



“With each OCT that goes live in a Specsavers store, we move one step further in our mission to transform eye health across Australia and New Zealand by driving better clinical outcomes for our patients.”
Dr Ben Ashby, Specsavers

The OCT rollout, combined with clinical benchmarking and the RANZCO referral pathways, has resulted in its Australian stores referring an additional 15,000 glaucoma patients to ophthalmologists in the past 12 months when compared to the previous year.

This amounts to a doubling of the detection rate in Australia, which is now sitting near the expected population prevalence as determined by the Blue Mountains Eye Study.

According to the company, this was also evident during World Glaucoma Week, in which its stores made 530 referrals from 41,000 patients examined – a referral rate of 1.3%.

GA CEO Ms Annie Gibbins said her organisation was now receiving more than 50 referrals from Specsavers optometrists each week. The company also donated $10,000 to GA following the completion of World Glaucoma Week.

“These referrals, along with Specsavers’ generous World Glaucoma Week donation, will help Glaucoma Australia reach and support even more glaucoma patients, and continue to promote risk awareness as we work alongside optometry and ophthalmology to eliminate glaucoma blindness,” Gibbins said.

Specsavers director of optometry professional advancement Dr Ben Ashby said:  “The doubling of the glaucoma detection rate in Australia is evidence of the measurable improvement our optometrists are having in uncovering the 50% undiagnosed glaucoma cohort that have remained elusive for so long.

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“As we increase our focus on diabetic retinopathy, we will continue to build on the 9,000 patients we have already referred since the beginning of 2018. Our State of the Nation eye health report has already shown that utilising OCT as part of the standard eye examination has led to a significant improvement in the detection of diabetic eye disease.”

As of 1 February 2019, Specsavers had 330 stores in Australia and 52 in New Zealand.

 

More reading:

Specsavers and Optometry Australia at odds over supply of optometry graduates
Drilling down into Specsavers’ state of the nation report

 

IMAGE CAPTION: Specsavers North Lakes was the 250th Specsavers Australia AND New Zealand store to receive an OCT.

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