Specsavers and Heidelberg Engineering set to transform Community Eyecare in the UK

Hemel Hempstead, UK – Heidelberg Engineering has designed the SPECTRALIS SPIRIT, a bespoke OCT imaging platform – which achieves high definition images in just three clicks – to support Specsavers’ ambition to offer patients a choice of the best possible technology in their eye examination by installing an OCT in every practice.

The new SPECTRALIS SPIRIT is set to transform eyecare in the community at a time when hospital services are increasingly stretched. Providing excellent image quality, accuracy and reproducibility, it measures up to one micron of change over time – which sets the technology apart from competitors. With an emphasis on glaucoma diagnosis and care, the SPECTRALIS SPIRIT uses highly sensitive and specific parameters for early detection of glaucoma, minimising false positive referrals and providing the clinician with an easy-to-interpret traffic light signal report.

To understand how the Specsavers’ partnership integrates with the existing SPECTRALIS business, Krysten Williams, Director of Heidelberg Engineering UK, stressed the differentiation of the two models and the roles they play –

“In past years the challenge was to find and design an imaging solution to meet the demand for a high-volume retail environment, and to ensure that both optometrists and ophthalmologists can embrace shared care with confidence,” said Krysten Williams.

“This strategic move is a highly significant contribution to advancing eyecare in the community. Those who have already invested in the SPECTRALIS platform can be confident that the full range of functionality and imaging modalities of the retinal specialists’ OCT of choice, as well as their own expertise continues to set them apart.”

“We have just one ophthalmologist per 50,000 people in the UK. By comparison, in Germany the figure is one per 11,100 people. High Street optometry could help to relieve the burden on hospital eye departments, who are faced with an ageing demographic, and an alarming rise in age-related eye disease. For over 6 years Heidelberg Engineering UK has been dedicated to providing high level clinical education to optometrists and we have seen those who invested in technology and their own education raise the standard of patient care in their community.“

“The collaboration with Specsavers raises the bar for diagnostic technology and education in all Specsavers practices and, in turn, encourages the NHS to recognise the profession as the logical choice for commissioning and paying for services provided in the community. The business opportunity for diagnosis and care is here for the entire profession to seize. The SPECTRALIS SPIRIT is available to all optometrists, allowing them to build their clinical confidence by starting with the essentials of OCT and upgrading to additional imaging modalities that enhance their clinical decision making as their practice grow.”

Paul Morris, Specsavers’ Optometrist Director of Professional Advancement, spoke of the enthusiasm of Specsavers ‘practices to roll out OCT, and the company’s “significant” investment in training –

“OCT is the future of optometry. Our partners have shown a passion for the opportunity to offer the latest in imaging technology to better identify and manage the long-term eye health of patients. Our relationship with Heidelberg Engineering is new, but the quality of their OCT devices needs no explanation as the company is synonymous with leading-edge technology. I am confident that we will have a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”

If you have questions about Heidelberg Engineering’s partnership with Specsavers or about the SPECTRALIS SPIRIT please call 01442 502 330 or email Info-UK@HeidelbergEngineering.com

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