Glaucoma – the “Sneak Thief of Sight”

Currently, there are more than 3 million people in the United States and over 60 million worldwide living with glaucoma, otherwise known as “the sneak thief of sight”.  It is estimated that half of those with glaucoma, do not know they have it.  The disease presents no symptoms and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness, taking as much as 40% of sight without notice.  January has been deemed National Glaucoma Awareness Month and is an important time to spread the world about this sight-stealing disease.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually progress, stealing sight, without symptom. Glaucoma can affect people of all ages but is most prevalent in middle-aged adults and the elderly.  While there is no cure, surgery or medication can slow its affects and help to prevent further vision loss.  The word ‘glaucoma’ is actually an umbrella term for a group of eye diseases that damage the delicate fibers that run from your eye to your optic nerve, which is the nerve that carries information about the images your eye sees to your brain. This damage is often the result of high fluid pressure inside the eye.

What can you do?

It is important to know your risks, those at higher risk include people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent. Other high-risk groups include: people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted.  Annual comprehensive eye exams are important to detect, prevent and treat the effects of the disease.

optomap’s role in the management of glaucoma

Results from recently published clinical studies suggest that optomap ultra-widefield (UWF™) retinal imaging may play an essential role in glaucoma management.  optomap enables eyecare professionals to discover, diagnose, document and treat ocular pathology that may first present in the periphery.  optomap is a high resolution single capture image of 82% or 200 degrees of the retina.  Currently, the gold standard tool for glaucoma detection is a clinical examination with a dilated slit-lamp bio-microscopy carried out by a glaucoma specialist to assess the optic disc.  Recent studies suggest that UWF imaging may be suitable for diagnosing glaucoma in situations where slit-lamp bio-microscopy or digital color stereoscopy are not available.  Another study also confirms that optomap has almost perfect agreement with color digital stereoscopy when assessed
by a glaucoma specialist. Continued reading on these studies and additional findings here

stereo pair of optic nerve head images with can be viewed using a stereo viewer, when there is suspicion of glaucoma

optomap is continuing to become a key player in the role of eye care professionals.  optomap provides details needed for specialty exams, while simultaneously delivering an integrated view to the eye, as said by Dr. Savak Tymoorian, MD of Harvard Eye Associates. When Dr. Tymoorian first began using Optos technology, he employed it primary for patients presenting with flashers or floaters.  While reviewing the images, he was able to pick up on more peripheral issues and early indicators of pathology.  “The more I use the device, the more I appreciate this dynamic technology, I now image all my patients this way”, states Tymoorian.   As a glaucoma specialist, Dr Tymoorian finds that optomap helps reassure him that he is not missing peripheral issues that could be relevant to the disease.

Recognizing January as National Glaucoma Awareness Month, allows us to shed light on glaucoma and stress the importance of protecting your sight and preventing the onset of the disease.  The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get a comprehensive eye examination. This way, if you have glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately.

optomap UWF imaging captures more than 80% of the retina in a single image, whereas traditional imaging methods can sometimes only reveal 10 – 15%.  optomap is a fast and easy addition to a standard comprehensive eye exam.  Don’t hesitate, and ask your eye care professional about optomap today.

optomap Aids Eyecare Professionals in Early Detection, Monitoring and Management of Diabetic Eye Disease

November is recognized as American Diabetes Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month.  Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month aims to increase awareness of diabetes and diabetic eye disease and encourage people with diabetes to seek treatment for related vision problems.   According to Prevent Blindness America, Diabetes is now the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults, and all people with diabetes are at risk for vision loss and blindness.

Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that diabetic persons may face as a complication of this disease including:
Diabetic retinopathy
– A leading cause of blindness in American adults, it is caused by damage to the small blood vessels of the retina – the seeing layer of the eye.
Diabetic macular edema (DME)
 – A complication of diabetes caused by leaking blood vessels, which leads to fluid accumulation in the macula, the center of the retina used for central vision. DME can cause central vision to become blurry.
Cataract
– The clouding of the lens in the eye, which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. Cataracts can cause vision to become blurry.
Glaucoma
 – Optic nerve damage and possible loss of side vision, usually caused by increase in fluid pressure inside the eye.

Today, 3.6 million Americans age 40 and older suffer from Diabetic Retinopathy (DR), DR in its early stages has no symptoms as it begins to damage the small blood vessels in the retina, causing them to leak fluid and blood. As the disease progresses, blood vessels become blocked and they may rupture, or new vessels will grow on the retina, leading to vision loss. Treatments are available to help prevent and manage long term effects of the disease but are most effective when detected early.

 

David Brown, MD on UWF retinal imaging and its aid to advance the detection and management of diabetic retinopathy

Eyecare professionals can greatly enhance their ability to provide early detection of diabetic retinopathy with the use of ultra-widefield (UWF™) optomap technology.  optomap is specifically designed to provide an UWF image of the retina, and it is the only technology that captures 200-degrees of the retina a single capture and in less than ½ second. Because optomap images so far out in the periphery, where the damage from diabetic retinopathy often begins, it allows a clear look at the health of the retina in order to determine if there are any early warning signs of diabetic retinopathy. optomap can also be used to confirm a diagnosis, allowing eyecare professionals to initiate a plan of care as soon as possible.

In preventing vision loss in people with diabetes, primary interventions include regular, effective screenings to detect diabetic eye disease earlier combined with education to encourage patients to undergo yearly comprehensive eye examinations. Many clinicians agree that UWF is an important part of these examinations, this was discussed in an article by Dr. Paul Tornambe where he calls for the integration UWF imaging as both a practical and clinical asset to the management of patients with diabetes.  UWF continues to evolve to address specific patient requirements, including looking at non-mydriatic imaging alternatives which are also designed to be more time efficient. optomap is clinically proven as a leader in imaging patients with diabetes to support the detection of diabetic retinopathy and related diseases.

Visit our website to learn more about the clinical benefits of utilizing ultra-widefield optomap in your practice or clinic.

 

Sources:
https://www.friendsforsight.org/resources/eye-health-awareness/item/16-diabetic-eye-disease-month-november
https://nei.nih.gov/health/diabetic
https://www.visionaware.org/blog/visionaware-blog/november-is-diabetic-eye-disease-awareness-month-learn-more-about-diabetes-and-your-eyes/12
Paul E. Tornambe, MD, FACS. Cover Story – Ultra-Widefield Imaging: Advancing the Understanding and Management of Diabetic Retinopathy. Retina Today, April 2015 http://retinatoday.com/2015/04/ultra-widefield-imaging-advancing-the-understanding-and-management-of-diabetic-retinopathy

Optos Introduces Monaco – The only clinically-validated, ultra-widefield retinal image with integrated OCT

In 2000, Optos delivered the first and only retinal imaging device that could capture beyond the vortex vessels of the retina. The ability to clearly image that much of the retina—in one capture, and in less than ½ second—significantly influenced the way eye care professionals examined their patients’ eyes. The core technology is based on a scanning laser ophthalmoscope and a unique ellipsoid mirror that create a virtual focal point inside the eye to enable the single capture of the central retina and periphery. For color images, green and red lasers are engaged simultaneously to allow visualization of retinal substructures from the sensory retina and retinal pigment epithelium to the choroid.

Over the years, Optos has continued to develop its hardware and software platforms – most recently delivering Monaco, the newest device providing new ways to enhance clinical exams.  It is the only ultra-widefield (UWF™) retinal imaging device with integrated OCT. Monaco produces a 200° single-capture optomap image in less than ½ second and also provides cross-sectional 40° OCT views of retinal structures. Monaco enables a rapid multi-modality capture featuring color, autofluorescence and OCT scans, for both eyes, in as little as two minutes.  UWF with integrated OCT saves time, space, and minimizes patient movement.  optomap images and OCT scans are correlated to facilitate pathology examination. Color, AF, and OCT images are shown in a single, comprehensive view on a single device.  The introduction of Monaco further differentiates Optos’ products with continued ease of use and speed of capture. OCT scans available with the device are: Line Scan, Raster Scan, Retina Topography Scan, Optic nerve Head (OnH) Topography Scan, and Retinal nerve Fiber layer (RnFl) Scan.

Optos technology has been a valuable asset to Werner Optometry in El Cajon, California for some time now.  Aaron Werner, OD joined his father, Rex Werner, OD, in the practice and has watched the technology improve immensely over time.  When given the opportunity to present Monaco in their practice, Dr. Werner knew this was the technology they had always wanted.

Dr. Werner was most surprised by how much time he saved in the exam room.  “There were efficiency scales that I never realized I could reach.  Think of the time it takes to settle a patient for an optomap, then walk the patient over to the OCT, re-enter data and then re position the patient.  It took about five minutes per patient,” he says, noting those some often take longer.  Dr. Werner adds that saving several minutes per patient allows space for an additional exam slot or two in a busy practice, but he himself appreciates the more advanced diagnostics he can get for all patients.

Dr. Werner, among many others, often feel there is never enough time to do everything the doctor wants to do during a visit.  “That’s at the top of the list.  We all think that if we had more time, we’d be able to do more.  The genius of combining and OCT with optomap imaging is really the way to get that time.”

Monaco, he says, is that rare combination of equipment that helps the staff save office time without compromising any of the quality or value of the exam.  In fact, it heightens it because it provides him with so much data before he even enters the exam room.  Monaco has also provided Dr. Werner with an excellent education tool.  “I am no longer a data collector in the exam room.  I have the data presented to me so that I can look at the results, interpret them and make a professional judgement on which direction we’re going to go. “Patients appreciate learning not only their retina anatomy but are also intrigued that the eyes can give so much data about their overall health.   Read Dr. Werner’s full testimonial here

To learn more about Monaco and other ultra-widefield devices from Optos, visit our website or contact us to discuss offerings with your local Optos representative.

The Retina – A Window to Alzheimer’s Disease

In a novel study from Queen’s University Belfast, researchers demonstrate that the eye could be a window to the brain. The results of the study, recently published in the Journal of Ophthalmic Research, show how degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) can be monitored via ultra-widefield (UWF) retinal imaging.  The retina is a part of the central nervous system and shares structural and functional features with the brain. Altogether 59 AD patients and 48 controls were entered into the study.  They were imaged utilizing ultra-widefield imaging from Optos.  This advanced technology, using red and green lasers, captures a 200 degree, high-resolution digital image of the retina in less than ½  second, reaching regions of the retina that have been previously inaccessible with other methods of imaging.

Measuring biomarkers, such as drusen and vasculature width gradients in delineated quadrants of the retina, the researchers found that these changes, particularly in the peripheral retina, could be associated with degenerative brain conditions such as AD. Specifically, the markers that were chiefly considered were drusen and vasculature changes. Drusen are deposits of fats, minerals, and proteins and are normal symptoms of aging that appear as yellowish spots in the layer beneath the retina.  While they are harmless and typically begin to appear after the age of 40, an increased occurrence in number and size can contribute to the degeneration of the retina.  In the study, at baseline and follow up, the optomap images revealed that drusen accumulation, particularly in the superior nasal quadrant, were increased and significantly associated with positive AD status as compared to the number of drusen that would be normally expected in the control group. An additional novel element of the study was that by utilizing the UWF view of optomap, the width gradient of the vasculature could be observed in entirety from the macula to the far retinal periphery.  The study found that people with AD have blood vessels that are wider closer to the macula and thin as they progress further into the periphery.  This can impede the flow of blood and the essential delivery of nutrients and oxygen in the periphery, leading to further damage.

The team, led by Dr. Imre Lengyel of Queen’s University, hypothesized that changes in the peripheral retina could be important to explore the association between the eye and the brain. They concluded that their research supported their original hypothesis and that UWF retinal imaging has significant potential for monitoring AD and other degenerative brain diseases via the eye.  Utilizing optomap to evaluate progression of AD may bring important value to this effort because changes in the eye are easier to measure in relation to other methods necessary to evaluate the health of the brain.  Establishing an evidential correlation between the eye and the brain would suggest that utilizing UWF imaging could provide an easier, more expedient access to that information.  Furthermore, UWF imaging provides a much less expensive option to other methods of evaluation, such as brain scans. The researchers demonstrated that by utilizing optomap, they were able to identify early markers that could manifest many years before dementia develops as well as high risk groups who would benefit from preventative guidance. The study notes that to be a reasonable marker of early disease, pre-symptomatic, or early symptomatic patients would need to be followed up over several years to determine the predictive value of the peripheral findings.  Routine optomap exams could prove to be an earlier, easier and more cost-effective method for monitoring the progression of AD, and identifying individuals at high-risk of developing AD.

Grading of vascular parameters on UWF imaging.

Read the Full Article here….
Or visit our website to learn more about clinical studies utilizing optomap technology.

 

optomap Screening Reveals Cataract in Unsuspecting Doctor

While the exact causes of cataracts are still not entirely understood, annual eye exams are still important for the diagnoses and treatment of their formation.  Even with precautions and regular exams, by the year 2020, more than 30 million Americans are expected to develop cataracts.

Most cataracts occur gradually as we age and don’t become bothersome until after age 55. However, cataracts can also be present at birth (congenital cataracts) or occur at any age as the result of an injury to the eye (traumatic cataracts). Cataracts can also be caused by diseases such as diabetes or can occur as the result of long-term use of certain medications.  While typically forming in both eyes, cataracts may not grow at the same rate. They can develop slowly or quickly, or progress to a certain point, then not get any worse. As a result, one may not notice substantial changes in their sight. Sometimes they can significantly precede symptoms and can be so subtle as to go unnoticed without a comprehensive eye exam.

Read Dr. Young’s full testimonial by clicking on the image above.

When Vince Young, OD introduced Daytona, into his practice, he volunteered to be the imaging guinea pig while his staff trained on the device.  He was unnerved when he reviewed his images and somewhat uncertain about what he was seeing.  He knew what a posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC) looked like through the slit lamp but was surprised by what the optomap image revealed. Concerned, Young sent the image to his wife, Lindsey Brewer Young, OD. When she reviewed the image on her phone she immediately responded, questioning whose eye she was reviewing.  Learning it was her husband’s image she returned to the clinic, conducted a dilated exam, and confirmed that it was indeed a PSC that had been revealed in the optomap image.

At 40 years old, Dr. Young had no reason to suspect he would have cataracts as they are more typically associated with the elderly population. He also exhibited no symptoms or clouded vision.  A subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens and can be caused by a variety of circumstances such as systemic issues and some forms of medication. PSCs are also more difficult to remove due to adhesion of the cataract to the lens capsule as well as an increased risk of capsule rupture during removal. However, Young’s cataract surgery on both eyes was successful and today his vision is fine.

Young reports that while this initial training episode was distressing, the image itself has become an excellent tool in communicating the importance of optomap and comprehensive exams to his patients.  The image hangs in the exam room and Young and his staff frequently share the story. “If the doctor didn’t know he had a cataract, how would anyone else know?” they say, underscoring the value of retinal screening. The unusual story has assisted with the elevated level of acceptance the optomap imaging has had in Young’s office.

Young stresses that the exam experience has changed with optomap in an extremely valuable way when it comes to patient education. optomap enables him to help his patients understand exactly what is occurring in their eye, or even just to provide reassurance that all is well. “Even if there is no pathology, patients want me to take the images every year. They want to see what I see.”

Dr. Young’s story demonstrates that it is not only possible for practitioners to image themselves and discover retinal pathology but also discover if significant opacities reside in the media as well.  The importance of regular, annual comprehensive eye exams cannot be expressed enough in the discussion of eye and systemic health. Visit our website to learn more about the benefits of optomap in protecting your eye health and to find an eyecare provider who used optomap technology in their practice.