Cromer Hospital is making good use of a new Heidelberg optical coherence tomography scanner (OCT) which was funded by the Norfolk & Norwich Hospitals Charity.
The technology produces a 3D image and can also measure, for example, optic discs on patients with or without glaucoma enabling the clinicians to monitor and treat any progression of the disease. The machines are widely used for the monitoring of Wet macular degeneration which usually progresses quickly, and vision loss can occur rapidly if left untreated.
The equipment can diagnose lesions within the eye which can lead to an oncology referral – the equipment can be lifesaving if an eye tumour is diagnosed quickly.
Chris Grayston, Operations Manager for Cromer, said: “We are always looking for opportunities to improve our services and having access to the latest technology is a great benefit to our patients.”
The scans can be carried out without dilating the eye, meaning less discomfort for patients and less time for vision to return to normal, and can replace invasive procedures involving dye injections. As dilating drops are not required, there is also a reduction in the nurse time required and pharmacy costs, supporting service efficiency.
Prior to OCT technology a flat 2D image was taken of the retina/disc on a retinal camera with no measurements or other crucial information.
John Paul Garside, Director of the N&N Hospitals Charity, said: “It’s good to see patients in rural North Norfolk benefit from new technology thanks to the support our charity receives from the local community around Cromer Hospital.”
The Norfolk & Norwich Hospitals Charity supports better care for the hospitals forming part of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, including the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital, Cromer & District Hospital, and the Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital. The charity funds additional state-of-the-art medical equipment, improvements to the hospital environment and support for patients, wellbeing and development for the Trust’s NHS staff, and ground-breaking research. More information can be found at www.nnhospitalscharity.org.uk
Photograph: Ophthalmic Photographer Lisa Bellamy and NNUH CEO Sam Higginson with the new scanner at Cromer Hospital