Kumeu retina scanner impresses PM

22:48, Oct 05 2011
MODERN TECH: The first scanning laser ophthalmoscope in New Zealand is at Kumeu's For Eyes Optometrists which impressed Prime Minister John Key. He talks about it with owner Matthew Whittington.

Prime Minister John Key was among the first in New Zealand to have his eyes imaged by new technology in Kumeu Village.

He was impressed by the state-of-the art Optomap equipment.

Mr Key says his mother had glaucoma and he tries to get regular check-ups.

For Eyes Optometrists is the first practice in the country to have the Optomap scanning laser ophthalmoscope which captures an image of almost the entire retina.

Other retinal camera systems capture only 12 percent of the retinal surface, thus missing peripheral anomalies like early retinal detachments, diabetic changes and a percentage of melanomas.

Owners Matthew and Molly Whittington say the device can be likened to "switching on the light" rather than searching piecemeal with a torch if you were trying to find your keys in a large barn.


It is a quantum leap in eye care, quick and easy for patients to use and allows optometrists to spend time analysing, diagnosing and educating patients on their retinal health.

It could even save lives by noting the early detection of retinal abnormalities or other health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Mr Whittington says a lot of patients feel they need only be examined when they need a change in prescription.

"In reality, the most important part of the examination is determining the health of the retina.

"The Optomap provides a permanent digital image which I can manipulate and magnify to have the most comprehensive view of the back of the eye in order to better and more effectively discover abnormalities that may be present."

The Optomap was invented by Scottish design engineer Douglas Anderson whose 5-year-old son went blind in one eye from undiagnosed retinal detachment.

He was upset that eyetesting equipment was incapable of diagnosing and saving his son's vision.

He spent over 40,000 and 10 years to develop the machine.

The Optomap joins the practice's other firsts For New Zealand, including the 3D optical coherence tomography machine which offers high resolution scanning of the macula and optic nerve.

Follow For Eyes Optometrists on Facebook or phone 412-8172 for more information.

Norwest News