AN OPTICIAN in Malvern has become the first in the county to trial a new eye-testing system.

Holland Opticians, on Graham Rd, is trialling the MP-eye, an innovative screening device that assesses a user’s risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD, the loss of central vision, is the leading cause of blindness in the western world.

After a patient receives their score from the MP-eye, they can then be advised upon how to change their lifestyle choices, such as improving their diet, to reduce the risk of developing AMD within their lifetime.

Holland are the only opticians in Worcestershire to be trialling the technology and have been using it in their pre-screening process.

And their patients have already seen the benefits of the technology.

Partner and optometrist Kirsty Litherland said: “The technology has really added an extra dimension to our service.

“It allows us to give a more personalised and individualised consultation to our patients, meaning we can give them advice on what treatments would be best for them.

“It’s also a really quick test, around a minute long, which benefits both us and the patient.”

Users are tested on their ability to see a faint rotating image, which gets harder to see with each step. The longer they see the image for, the more macular pigments they have, meaning their risk is lower.

Simple lifestyle choices, such as a healthier diet, wearing sunglasses more often or quitting smoking, can increase the amount of macular pigment in the eye, which can delay the onset of AMD.

The MP-eye has been invented and developed by Bristol University’s Dr Shelby Temple, co-founder of Azul Optics.

Dr Temple said: “With the MP-eye, we can now start a conversation with patients about the importance of macular pigments and what people can do to protect themselves if we find out they are low.

“We will all get AMD if we live long enough, but we can prevent it by delaying the onset beyond a patient’s living years.”