New upgraded machine helping future proof the hospital’s eye services

An upgraded non-invasive diagnostic eye machine at the Broken Hill Health Service will ensure the highest level of eye care continues to be delivered here as well as future proofing the service.

The health service has purchased a new Zeiss Cirrus HD Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) machine (cost $103,990) which is used in the Specialists Department for the management of many of the most significant eye diseases in local patients. A bequest to the hospital by the late Ian Ferguson about 15 years ago helped fund half the cost.

Ophthalmologist Dr Ashish Agar, Director of the hospital’s eye service, said the new machine is the latest technology.

“It’s a brand new machine with the latest HD technology and replaces one about ten years old. This will allow us to keep providing the absolute highest level of eye care here in Broken Hill,” said Dr Agar.

“This device really future-proofs the service here because the technology is one that is cutting edge. It offers us access to new imaging tests and treatments and that we probably don’t even know are coming yet.”

The OCT allows a scan of the back of the eye and helps in managing diseases like glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease.

“To assess these diseases we can look in the back of the eye but it is very difficult to measure anything. This technology allows us to actually measure the health of the optic nerve for glaucoma, of the macula for macular degeneration, and of the retina for diabetic retinopathy.”

The OCT, when combined with the ability to offer free public specialist treatment, also saves local patients from having to travel to Adelaide and the expense of transport and accommodation. This was the major reason the former OCT was purchased with help from the BH Contribution Fund and Silver City Charities and donations from members of the Silver City Workingmen’s Club.

Dr Agar said the new machine allows the health service to continue scans here in the public clinic. “The Cirrus HD-OCT has extra capability including having better analysis for glaucoma and also for other eye diseases, which we haven’t been able to assess here before. We are very grateful for the generous bequest from Mr Ferguson, and we will ensure that his legacy will go on to help many hundreds of fellow Broken Hill citizens.”

The OCT also ensures Broken Hill Health Service complies with the Royal Australia & New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists registrar accreditation standards as the machine has become an essential routine monitoring tool in modern eye clinics. This in turn has ensured the continuity of the advanced trainee position, seconded from the Prince of Wales Hospital’s Outback Eye Service, making the Broken Hill hospital one of very few in regional Australia with such a high level of specialist education.

  • Ophthalmology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Alison Garrick and Ophthalmologist Dr Ashish Agar demonstrating the new Zeiss Cirrus HD-OCT machine with patient Trevor Manly.


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