More Australians will be able to access 3D eye scans through their optometrist to better detect common diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.
More than 300,000 Australians are thought to have glaucoma, but only half of them have been diagnosed.
It often develops without any symptoms and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in Australia.
One of the country’s largest corporate primary eye care providers, Specsavers, is investing more than $35 million to provide 3D eye scans to all patients at its 324 practices.
The scans are provided for free to each patient as part of standard testing.
The technology is called Optical Coherence Tomography and uses light waves to give a detailed picture of the back of the eye.
“OCT technology is a hospital-grade 3D imaging technology which gives an ultrasound like image of the back of the eyes, but using light instead,” said Jimmy Park, Optometrist Director, Specsavers.
“This allows us to see the different layers of the back of the eyes, allowing us to pick up conditions much faster,” he said.
The roll out is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Data has already shown the use of OCT is increasing detection and referrals to specialists.
“With the data we’ve collected and in the State of the Nation eye report it shows that we have seen a 50 percent increase in the detection rate of glaucoma using this technology,” said Mr Park.
“We’ve seen about a 70 percent increase in the detection of macular degeneration and also about 85 percent increase in the detection of diabetic macular edema,” he said.
The overall program aims to benefit more than four million Australians and New Zealand patients annually.
The move has been welcomed by Glaucoma Australia which is urging Australians to get their eyes tested.
“All we have to do is get people to get their eyes tested early, especially family members of people with glaucoma,” said Ron Spithill, Glaucoma Australian President.
“If it’s detected early, the treatments are quite simple and effective,” he said.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018