A CHIPPENHAM opticians is the 500th branch to have a hospital-grade kit installed.

Specsavers in Borough Parade, Chippenham, installed an optical coherence tomography machine as part of a wider £35million investment which will see one in each of their 900 stores in the UK by spring next year.

An OCT eye scan can help detect treatable eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and glaucoma up to four years before an eye examination using traditional methods can.

Tom Mogford, store director and optometrist at Specsavers in Chippenham, said: "We were delighted to have the Mayor of Chippenham come and try the new OCT. To be the 500th store to have the machine installed is testament to the commitment Specsavers is making to investing in the eye health of local people, not only in Chippenham but across the UK.

"We made the decision to invest in two OCTs to try and ensure there were no delays for customers if they wanted to have the scan. So far, uptake has exceeded our expectations, and it’s making a real difference to how we’re able to diagnose, manage and treat certain eye conditions.

"Glaucoma has become easier to spot, and we’ve been able to refer customers at the earlier stages of the disease, which means treatment has a higher success rate. The OCT has allowed us to better detect partial macular holes which in turn means we can give better advice on management, while diabetic customers can be referred for treatment sooner."