1997 we were the first practice in Edinburgh to adopt EyeScan
technology which allows a better view of the retina, digital
quality image and the ability to store pictures electronically for
future comparison. Over 3000 patients
routinely benefit from EyeScans that comprehensively check their ocular
health. In some cases we have seen early signs of disease, that
have been treated, which we felt we would have missed without
from May 2007, for
the first time in Scotland, we are introducing a new test for the
over 30s - A MacuScope is the first commercially available device
that can measure and monitor macular pigment density. By investing in this new technology, patients will be able to
remove one of the major risk
factors of developing macular degeneration, the number one cause of
untreatable blindness in the UK.
degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible blindness
in people over 50 years of age, affecting an estimated 500,000
people in the UK.
patients aged 75 and over with loss of vision in one eye, the main
medical causes were AMD (53%) and cataract (36%). Those who suffer its blinding effects lose their central
vision, which is needed for reading, driving, and every day
activities. The most important confirmed risk factors are.
FAMILY HISTORY OF AMD
MACULAR PIGMENT LEVELS
With new scientific
research, there is compelling evidence that people with low
pigment levels are at risk later in life. It has been advised
that people have their macula pigment levels checked from the age
of 30 years onwards. Any protection that macula pigment may
provide against AMD will need to be exerted in the middle years of
life because protective macula pigment depletes with age.
pigment is made up of 3 dietary components, known as lutein,
zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin. Macula pigment is yellow in
colour and therefore absorbs high-energy blue wavelength light. Lutein and zeaxanthin are potent antioxidants and therefore
protect against the damage caused by free radical oxidisation, so it is
perhaps unsurprising that this pigment protects the central
macula from the ageing process.
is Meso-Zeaxanthin so vital?
is the 3rd component of the macula pigment and is only found at
the very centre of the macula where vision is sharpest. Meso-zeaxanthin is
obtained by the conversion of lutein to meso-zeaxanthin in the
macula. It is not found in a typical diet. Meso-zeaxanthin
is being recognised as a more powerful neutraliser of free radicals
and protector of the central
macula than lutein or zeaxanthin.
with meso-zeaxanthin will ensure that this component of macular
pigment accumulates at the target tissue (i.e. the central macula)
in a way not dependent on an enzyme to convert lutein to
meso-zeaxanthin. Indeed, such an enzyme may be lacking in some
Inside and at the back of the eye, the retina is
the only place in the body where arteries and veins can be
visually inspected. Blood vessels
here are branches of the body's larger circulatory tree and are an excellent reflector of
general health. For example, life's total accumulation of cholesterol can be seen
on the walls of arterioles (small arteries).
Traditionally the optometrist peers through a
hand held scope and looks for changes. This is difficult because
there's nothing to
compare with except written notes or sketches. Even the most diligent
record keeper is challenged.
With EyeScan technology, retinal images are
digitally stored. By
comparing previous images, superb comparisons of eye
health can be
made...any changes can be detected earlier. In addition the care
is portable; a personal copy of an EyeScan
can be emailed from our consulting room's broadband connection to allow comparisons to
continue if a patient moves away.
retinal fingerprint made by the blood vessels is unique but can change. For example meandering
arterioles may indicate high blood pressure. A pattern shift
towards the nasal side of the optic nerve may indicate glaucoma.
Loss of a defined optic nerve edge may be raised intracranial
pressure from a brain tumour. The
appearance of red blotches are blood haemorrhages which when
dot-like may indicate diabetes or, if flame shaped, high blood pressure. The observation of white dots is fluid
leakage from arteries whose walls are losing containment, another
possible sign of diabetes.
In the macular zone, acquired yellow dots, called drusen, are piles of dead retinal cells
which should have been chemically marked and absorbed. These can be the first sign of macular degeneration,
sometimes years before
the patient has any symptoms but they are not always present. For a detailed
explanation of macular degeneration go
EyeScan and the
Digital imaging technology, while incredibly
useful for other eye structures, does not assess macular pigment
thickness. This means optometrists do not have a predictive test for the
disease. This is why the Macuscope is so eagerly awaited.
The Macuscope is a
heterochromatic flicker photometer and measures the amount of protective macular pigment by flashing blue and green
lights in an alternating flicker pattern. The blue light is
absorbed by the macular pigment but not the green. The amount of
blue light required to be equally effective as the green yields
the pigment density. This simple, none
invasive test, which is safe and painless, takes only a
minutes to perform and will save some patients the misery of losing their
Many studies show patients who are low in
macula pigment have increased risk for macular
degeneration. Studies also show that deficient macula
pigment can be restored by dietary supplements.
With a new formulation containing Meso-Zeaxanthin, the subjects responded, with macula protective
re-pigmentation increases of up to 40% in as little as 140 days of
For more about the supplement with Meso-Zeaxanthin go
For preventative care we
recommend an EyeScan
/ Macuscope test be performed every two years. Patients low in
macular pigment density should be monitored bi-annually.
EyeScan is included in our standard consultation fee of £30 and is
free to patients registered with
eyeplan™. The new Macuscope test costs £30 and
is also free on
We at Eyecare-Plus have always invested in the
best available technology and used it for our patients. Good
preventative care costs, both in time and money but eyesight is
priceless. We think the combination of EyeScan / Macuscope greatly
enhances the level of care we can offer you and that is why
we would encourage you to take advantage of the improvement in