3D OCT Eye and Retinal Scanning
WHAT IS OPTICAL COHERENCE TOMOGRAPHY (OCT)?
The OCT is an advanced system that uses long-wavelength lightwaves to create a 3D scan of your eye, including the surface of the retina (back surface of the eye) and into the retina, showing details like the blood vessels and the optic nerve. No drops are required and the machine does not touch your eye, it just makes a bright flash.
The images it produces allow your optometrist to see detail beyond that which is possible in a normal eye examination, it also allows us to keep a permanent 3D record of your eye for comparison at future appointments.
A number of potentially serious eye conditions can be detected by the OCT scan, in many cases we are able to identify the early onset of conditions before they began to show evident symptoms and before they would have been visible in a routine eye examination
Macular Degeneration (AMD)
The most common cause of sight loss in individuals over 50 in Britain, AMD exists in ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ form. Wet AMD is the most dangerous and at worst can lead to rapid sight loss within a few days, the OCT scan allows us to quickly identify the cause of vision loss and make a quick, precise referral for treatment. It is also helpful in monitoring the ongoing effects of treatment and recovery.
Dry AMD is a slow deterioration of the macular at the back of the eye, it currently has no pharmacological cure, although evidence has shown that certain supplements and diet choices can greatly help in slowing the onset and limiting its damage. The OCT scan is very helpful here, letting us detect early signs of the condition before it affects the vision, allowing us to recommend ways to help slow its development. Having frequent scans allows us to monitor the progress of the AMD over time.
One of the most common and serious eye conditions, Glaucoma is an increase in pressure of the fluids within the eye that can lead to damage to the optic nerve and cause permanent vision loss. As part of every eye examination we routinely check for glaucoma using the “puffer test” to check the pressure within the eye (IOPs) but this can only provide warnings when pressures are above the average healthy readings. Some sufferers however can experience ‘Normal-Tension Glaucoma’ where their eye pressures are actually within the clinically “safe” range, but due to the make-up of their eyes, the pressures are high enough to cause damage.
The OCT Scan allows your optometrist to directly view the optic nerve and look for signs of glaucoma damage on the ‘optic disc’, the visible end point of the optic nerve, where glaucoma damage can occur. The nature of this optic disc can vary from person to person and what may be of concern for some eyes is normal for others, so having a scan of your healthy eye can help us to detect very subtle changes as they take place in the future