When you visit Pagan and McQuade for an eye test, you'll be asked whether you want a retinal photograph. Our job is to keep you healthy and capable, so we recommend it. Here's why.

The retina is the back part of your eye that receives the light and converts it to nerve impulses for your brain to process.

It's the only part of your body where it's possible to see your blood vessels as they are not covered in skin. Opticians, then, are in the privileged position of being able to see the start of numerous problems and help you stop them developing into illness.

Until retinal photography came along, if we saw something unusual in your retina, we'd make a drawing in your notes showing what we had seen. Then when it came to your next checkup we'd do the same thing and try to compare our drawings, or our drawing to that of the previous optician, and try to work out whether it was getting better or worse. As you might imagine, opticians tend to have studied science subjects at school, not art, so this is a less than perfect system. When there was no alternative, that was the best we could do. But technology has moved on, so now .. we like to take a photograph.

What sort of things do we see on the retina?

  • Interestingly, you can have freckles on your retina .. they need to be watched for changes.
  • Your macula, the dense, hard-working part of your retina that you use when you look in detail at something .. when you work, read or watch TV for instance .. that's covered in protective yellow pigments. When they break down, an early sign is clumping. If we spot that early, there are things we can do to protect your detailed sight.
  • Want to know how much cholesterol is lining your arteries? Your optician can see your blood vessels, show you the photograph and give you advice and, by comparing photographs over time, you'll be able to see if that's getting worse or better.
  • Even certain types of brain tumour show up first on the retina. Catching these early is obviously a good thing.

In keeping with our aim to offer the best and most professional service possible, we were the first practice in Scarborough to offer retinal photography and we recommend everyone opts for it even if their eye is healthy, as that then forms a template against which we can judge any future changes.