Retina Scan That Can Save Sight; Health in Brief

Article excerpt

Byline: ISLA WHITCROFT

WHEN schoolboy William Noble attended a routine eye check-up in June, he had no idea he was about to receive a piece of luck that might just have saved his sight.

His optician, Gareth Roberts of Llandudno, had just taken delivery of the Optomap Retinal Imaging Equipment, a groundbreaking method of examining the back of the eye - the retina - for signs of illness or injury. Gareth asked William to be his guinea pig and both were stunned when the examination showed that William has tiny multiple retinal tears in both eyes, which left untreated could affect his sight.

'The Optomap examination was amazing,' says William, 15, from Dolwyddelan, North Wales. 'You could see the image of your eye on the screen.' In a standard examination, the optician looks at the retina through the pupil of the eye using a handheld ophthalmoscope.

But the pupil is a tiny tunnel, and unless it is dilated using eye drops, the optician can see only a small part of the retina. As drops are uncomfortable, they are used only if a retinal ailment is suspected - leaving the possibility that a host of other problems go undetected. …