What is an Optos Scan?

31st January 2024
Optos Scanner

Put simply, an Optos scan, or Optos ultra-widefield (UWF™) retinal imaging, takes an image of the retina called an optomap image. This image enables your eye care professional to detect, diagnose and document certain eye issues that could go undetected in traditional eye exam methods. Signs of other diseases including heart disease and diabetes can also be found in the retina, making an Optos scan an incredibly beneficial exam for a multitude of reasons.

Optos retinal imaging does a thorough screening of your retina, unlike standard techniques which focus on the front of the eye. These traditional exams are good for detecting when prescription changes are needed and general eye health, but an Optos scan is crucial for detecting vision problems early, detecting disease, and evaluating retinal health.

The retina

The retina is a thin layer of cells that lines the back of your eye. This lining covers 65% of the inner surface of your eye, where it converts light into impulses. The retina then sends these impulses to the optic nerve, which carries the nerve signals to your brain. If the retina is damaged in any way or shows signs of poor health, then your eyesight will suffer. 

An Optos scan gives your optometrist the ability to check the health of your retina, which is why this groundbreaking imaging technique is so key to your eyesight and eye health.

Is an Optos scan safe?

Optos retinal imaging is completely safe, as well as quick, comfortable and easy. Adults and children of all ages can be tested with this machine, which simply requires a patient to look through a hole, one eye at a time, for a laser to scan the eye. A flash of light indicates that the image has been taken. No eyedrops, no puff of air, just a quick look into the machine and the imaging is complete.

Why get an Optos scan?

An Optos scan can detect many eye issues including macular degeneration, retinal detachments and retinal holes, along with signs of hypertension and diabetes. Not only this, but the imaging can spot ‘freckles’, or nevi, in your eye, and can help a specialist determine whether these freckles are benign or malignant melanomas. 

This is possible due to the blood vessels visible in the retina, where scans can discover abnormal symptoms and signs. By getting Optos retinal imaging, an eye care specialist can detect and treat eye diseases and issues that could damage your eyesight and your eye health in future.

Only a small part of the retina is shown in traditional retinal photography, around 15% of the back of your eye in a 45° view. This means that any diseases in the periphery of your retina will not be spotted. With an Optos scan, around 85% of your eye will be scanned in a 200° view, greatly increasing the chance of diseases being spotted. An Optos scan is a fantastic idea for your eye health as it can catch issues that won’t typically be seen.

The Optos story

How did Optos come to be? In 1990, Douglas Anderson’s five-year-old son Leif went blind in his left eye. Despite having multiple eye exams before this, no one detected the retinal detachment as the issue lay beyond what traditional exams could see. Leif was only young and found eye exams difficult, so his eye care specialist struggled even more, alongside their limited view of Leif’s retina, to see any future problems that could occur. 

Douglas wasn’t happy that these standard exams couldn’t catch eye problems outside of a very small view of the retina. He then decided to invent technology that would scan the whole retina to prevent these heartbreaking situations from occurring to others in future. As for the name – what does optos mean? Douglas’ son Leif came up with the idea to name the technology Optos, the Greek word for ‘vision’. 

Optomap ultra-widefield imaging at Dipple & Conway

There are over 20,000 Optos scanners in use worldwide today, and we are delighted to say that we too offer this imaging equipment here at Dipple & Conway. Your eye health is our priority, and with top-of-the-line technology like Optos retinal imaging, we can ensure that you leave us feeling in safe hands. You can rest assured that your eye health is being taken seriously, with detection, diagnosis, documentation and treatment handled by our expert professionals.

Arrange an appointment at your local Dipple & Conway practice using our simple online form, or give your practice a call via their number on our website to talk to one of our friendly team. 

Posted by Dipple Conway

"I’m very impressed by the friendly and helpful attitude of the staff at Dipple and Conway, and by the very competent and professional service my optometrist provided. It really is a pleasure to ones eyes tested there."

Mike Lindsay
Optician Awards Finalist Investor in People The College of Optometrists British Contact Lens Association Association of Dispensing Opticians Best Family Business 2020

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