Specsavers has reached another two milestones in its rollout of OCT across the Australian and New Zealand store network, with glaucoma detection rates continuing to lift as more practices gain access to the technology.
In late February, Specsavers Australia & New Zealand installed its 250th OCT in the Specsavers North Lakes store in Queensland. Within the same week, Specsavers North Ryde in New South Wales became the 200th Australian store to receive OCT. The New Zealand rollout was completed in early October 2018, with Australia on track to have an OCT in every Specsavers store by the end of 2019.
Redefining the standard eye examination to include OCT, ensuring all patients have access to the technology at no extra cost, has led to a measurable improvement in patient outcomes. In the last 12 months, more than one million scans have been performed across Australia and New Zealand. Combined with efficient and effective assessment by Specsavers’ cohort of approximately 950 optometrists, this has resulted in the detection and referral of an additional 15,000 glaucoma patients to ophthalmology compared with the previous year.
In Australian stores with OCT, the glaucoma detection rate has now doubled, with the rate being near the expected population prevalence as determined by the Blue Mountains Eye Study. In the last 12 months, approximately 183,000 Australian patients have been referred for avoidable and treatable causes of blindness as a result of Specsavers’ combined strategies of implementing benchmark reporting, using RANZCO’s referral guidelines, and rolling out OCT. Targeted professional development completes the virtuous circle of people, training and technology, which all form key elements of the $40 million, two-year Specsavers investment that has led to a measurable eye health outcome impact has never been recorded in any other region of the world.
Director of Optometry Professional Advancement Dr Ben Ashby, PhD noted that momentum would only continue. “As we increase our focus on diabetic retinopathy, we will continue to build on the 9,000 patients we have already referred since the beginning of 2018. Our State of the Nation eye health report has already shown that utilising OCT as part of the standard eye examination has led to a significant improvement in the detection of diabetic eye disease. With each OCT that goes live in a Specsavers store, we move one step further in our mission to transform eye health across Australia and New Zealand by driving better clinical outcomes for our patients.”