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Experience an Interstellar Eye Examination, Incorporating OCT Technology Used By NASA

We are thrilled to be able to offer this incredible OCT technology to our patients.

Our practices are equipped with cutting edge technology normally only found in the best private eye hospitals. This includes the latest in ocular imaging and our state-of-art 4D Optical Coherence Tomographer retinal scanner.

This phenomenal piece of equipment, matched with its incredible computer technology now allows us to diagnose a comprehensive list of eye conditions. Measuring as small as 1/1000th millimetre of change means we are now not only able to treat eye conditions sooner but minimise the visual loss in our patients.

This scan is particularly advisable for anyone that has been diagnosed with cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes or has a complex medical history. Those who have a family history of eye diseases would also benefit from this amazing technology. The scan is taken during your examination, takes only a few seconds, causes no pain or discomfort and gives instant results for our expert clinicians to interpret.

Spectrais in Space

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are tracking the effects of zero gravity on the eye for the first time, as part of NASA’s Ocular Health Study. These first eye examinations using optical coherence tomography (OCT) in space are intended to understand the changes which occur as a result of space travel, potentially with long-term consequences.

Using advanced eye-scanning technology – the Heidelberg Engineering SPECTRALIS – astronauts underwent thorough baseline eye examinations before departing on the mission. Since October they are being monitored at fortnightly intervals, with the results being fed back to Mission Control in Houston, Texas. The eye examinations will continue for some time when the astronauts return to earth.

Examining the back of the eye, the research follows recently discovered ocular changes in astronauts after space flight. It may provide an insight into mitigating potentially sight-threatening risks for astronauts on long-duration missions with changes to inter-cranial pressures due to fluid shift in zero gravity.

As Heidelberg Engineering UK Director, Krysten Williams, explained –

“All of the eye examinations utilise the SPECTRALIS AutoRescan function which ensures that all OCT images are captured at the identical retinal location. The consistency of the scans provided by the SPECTRALIS – whether in space or on earth – ensure the data is an unrivalled means of tracking any changes. We are measuring to 1/1000th of a millimetre.”

“Spectral-domain optical coherence tomography – SD-OCT – is a valuable aid to tracking the minutest changes within the eye and to detect the first signs of ocular disease and its progression. The high resolution, cross-sectional images of the retina and fundus allow a comprehensive study of the back of the eye,” explained Dr Gerhard Zinser, Managing Director of Heidelberg Engineering.

The AutoRescan function of the SPECTRALIS and active eye tracker ensures that terrestrial and extra-terrestrial OCT scans are performed at the same anatomic location on the retina, to enable tracking of ocular changes.

The technology required vigorous testing by NASA prior to the launch with zero gravity tests performed over the Gulf of Mexico last year –

“We were happy to see the SPECTRALIS unit was fully functional after rocket launch – space was not a location we envisaged when the product was designed,” admitted Dr Zinser, with a smile on his face.

SPECTRALIS OCT examination Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, performs SPECTRALIS OCT examination on board the International Space Station (ISS). (Image Credit: NASA)