optomap Retinal Scan Leads to Early Diagnosis of Patient’s Arterial Blockage, Emphasizing the Critical Importance of Optos' Newly Expanded Line of optomap Imaging Devices

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Sheila Gibb was visiting a neighbor on Victoria Day when she noticed the trees and sky had the appearance of a ‘pink lace’ overlay. Gibb immediately went to see her optometrist, Dr. Dana Blakolmer. Through the use of an Optos optomap®, Dr. Blakolmer discovered several retinal hemorrhages in the affected left eye. Suspecting carotid occlusive disease, she immediately referred Gibb to her primary care physician. Receiving treatment for a 70% carotid arterial blockage saved her life, and laser surgery saved her eye. The newly expanded optomap technology allows eye care providers to identify markers for systemic (or non-eye) diseases such as hypertension, anemias, diabetes, bowel issues and certain cancers, as well as diagnose a number of eye disorders.

optomap eye exam technology by Optos
I am very grateful to Dr. Blakolmer and the optomap for helping alert me to this problem and ultimately allowing me to prevent a stroke or heart attack. — Sheila Gibb

When Sheila Gibb was visiting a neighbor on Victoria Day she noticed what she described as “lace curtain” visual phenomena — the trees and sky had the appearance of a “pink lace” overlay. Her vision returned to normal the next day but the 72-year-old former nurse dutifully made an appointment to see her eye care provider, Dr. Dana Blakolmer. Dr. Blakolmer examined Gibb the day after her vision disturbances. “Sheila was in a hurry, so I did an optomap® as a time saver,” explained Dr. Blakolmer. The doctor discovered several retinal hemorrhages in the affected left eye. Suspecting carotid occlusive disease, she immediately referred Gibb to her primary care physician and a retinal specialist.

Gibb was in a race against time. It took several days for her to get in to see her primary care physician. It took an additional two weeks for her to get in to see a retinal specialist. “My family doctor did a carotid Doppler test that showed I had a 70% blockage of my carotid artery on the left side and in July I underwent surgery to open that artery.” Meanwhile, while waiting for her retinal specialist appointment, her vision problems reoccurred — and areas of her eyesight began to disappear. The ophthalmologist diagnosed a blockage of the circulation that drains the retina of blood. Gibb had Avastin injected into her eye and two retinal laser surgeries. “They were unable to save my eyesight,” she said, “but they did save my eye. If new blood vessels had continued to grow, there was a good chance that I would have lost my eye.”

“I am very grateful to Dr. Blakolmer and the optomap for helping alert me to this problem and ultimately allowing me to prevent a stroke or heart attack,” Gibb said.

Dr. Dana Blakolmer has been offering optomaps to her patients for over five years. “Providing an optomap to my patients is very important to me,” said Blakolmer. “In certain instances, like in Sheila’s image, the optomap can allow us to see changes inside the eye that are caused by serious or life-threatening conditions long before other symptoms appear. Because of their location, the hemorrhages would have been missed by other types of eye exams.” Since these markers are often first detected inside the eye, an optomap as part of a complete eye exam can be key to helping the patient receive an early diagnosis. “I may not tell my patients that the optomap has saved a patient’s life,” Dr. Blakolmer said, “but I am very passionate about it and that comes across as I counsel patients about the importance of the optomap. I would not want to practice eye care without my optomap machine!”

Dr. Blakolmer’s own genetic retinal disorder, FEVR, was diagnosed through an optomap in 2009, making a believer out of the 41-year-old doctor as to the benefits of a yearly optomap. “The first indication that I had a problem was seen in an optomap,” she said. “It made me believe in the Optos optomap even more. optomap is changing the way we practice eye care and is reinforcing the importance of yearly eye exams.”

About Dana Blakolmer, O.D.
Dr. Blakolmer graduated with honours from the University of Waterloo Doctor of Optometry program. She started her own private practice at Dr. Dana Blakolmer and Associates in 2002, after seven years as an associate of the Oshawa Clinic. She has one full-time associate, Dr. Salima Parpia, and one part-time associate, Dr. Lisa Chow. They aim to provide superior ocular health care using state-of-the-art technology. For more information, please visit http://www.oshawaoptometry.com/

About optomap
Optos introduced the optomap technology in the late 1990’s, allowing eye care providers to help identify a growing list of conditions as part of a routine eye exam, often leading to early diagnosis and treatment. In addition to traditional eye conditions such as glaucoma, retinal detachment or hemorrhage, and diabetic retinopathy, the optomap is able to identify changes inside the eye that help diagnose some bowel and blood cancers, incipient strokes, tumors pressing on the optical nerve and more. Early research suggests that in the future, the optomap might become a valuable tool in the detection and monitoring of Alzheimer’s disease.

The optomap is a retinal scanner that generates an ultra-widefield image. Through its patented Virtual Point™ technology, it puts the scan point within the eye, allowing a simultaneous view of 200 degrees (82%) of the retina. This is a much wider image than is obtainable with traditional retinal viewing methods. In 2011 Optos has continued to develop the optomap, launching a new smaller, sleeker device that offers an improved user interface with workflow-based software, plug-n-play installation, image review capabilities and electronic storage options for future comparisons. For information about optomap visit http://www.optomapexam.com

About Optos plc
Optos plc is building The retina company. Our vision is to be recognized as a leading provider of devices and solutions to ophthalmic professionals for improved patient care. Optos has a range of medical devices that support different customer segments and patient levels. For more information, please visit – http://www.optos.com

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Chris Shay

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