New Zealand may soon be the first nation anywhere in the world to have a whole-of-population eye health screening process in place, as the rollout of OCT technology across the country’s Specsavers stores nears completion.

The New Zealand OCT rollout is currently on track to reach completion by the end of September. Specsavers is integrating OCT into the pre-test routine of a standard eye examination for every patient at no additional cost. Combining this with its investment into IT systems that are able to extract, track and analyse referral data will yield useful research data on the state of the nation’s eye health, including the prevalence of various eye diseases.

As part of its ‘Transforming Eye Health’ mission, Specsavers is using the data to further enhance its clinical processes, with the aim of continuously improving patient outcomes. This is being achieved through research in collaboration with ophthalmology and other eye disease stakeholders, as well as through the provision of feedback to optometrists via benchmark reporting and ophthalmology-led education sessions.

This evidence-based approach to clinical practice has already shown positive results in Australia, with more than 29,000 patients at risk of glaucoma detected in the last 18 months.

The Australian OCT rollout is also continuing at a rapid pace, with more than 120 OCTs installed across the store network and more than a quarter of a million OCT scans completed.

Once the introduction of OCT is complete in all Australian and New Zealand Specsavers stores, the annual totals for individual OCT scans will be as many as four million – and growing every year.