oct eye scanEye examination seem to have come on a long way since the ‘can you read what’s on the chart’?

As the increasing burden on the NHS takes its toll, we find the first point of contact for many patients are the front line health services such as Pharmacists, Opticians etc.

The questions we ask ourselves are:

  • What can we do to enhance the service here at HD Eyes Opticians and improve the final outcome?
  • What if we could detect signs that may indicate a future problem?

After all the purpose of regular eye examinations is to detect the subtle anomalies over a period of time.

What is OCT?

oct eye scan image smart cube 768x460OCT is an abbreviation of Ocular Coherence Tomography. It’s an advanced eye scan for people of all ages. Similar to ultrasound, OCT uses light rather than sound waves to illustrate the different layers that make up the back of your eye.

The OCT machine captures both a fundus photograph and a cross-sectional 3D scan of the back of the eye at the same time. We are able to see, sometimes for the first time, problems within your eye that could not easily be seen before.

Why Consider OCT?

Our enhanced eye examination involves the use of an OCT machine, a painless and highly advanced scan that checks for eye conditions before any permanent damage occurs. Think of it as an MRI or CAT scan for the retina (a thin layer of tissue that sits at the back of the eye).

We can now locate and determine the state of a particular eye condition. With the aid of computer wizardry, we can digitally peel back the layers and confidently diagnose, manage and refer you to a specialist for further treatment should this be required.

Any subtle anomalies can also be scanned (base line data) and monitored over time with additional scans at a later date. The scans can be lined up with the original and compared to see if any changes have occurred over time.

For what age group is OCT recommended?

Eye disease does not discriminate against one particular age group. We see retinal conditions across the board if not more so with the over 40s. The concern is early detection. With recent innovations in treatment for WET Age Related Macula Degeneration, never has the early detection of macula changes been more paramount to preserve/ enhance existing vision. Also if we consider the increase in life expectancy, early identification of eye disease with OCT can improve the quality of life in later years.

What part of the eye do we examine?

The Macula.

This is the most delicate part of the eye and offers the most sensitive vision. It can be seen in 3D and cross-section.

An OCT scan is relevant for:

  • Macular degeneration.
  • Diabetes.
  • Family history of Macular disease.
  • Smokers.
  • Short-sighted people.
  • Those with unexplained visual problems.
  • People with flashes and/or floaters.
  • Any loss of vision.
  • Head or eye injuries.
  • Other Retinal or Macular Disorders e.g. Epi-Retinal Membrane and Macular hole.

The Optic disc.

It connects the eye to the processor (aka the brain). It can be seen in 3D and cross-section.

A OCT scan is relevant for:

  • Glaucoma.
  • People with a family history of Glaucoma.
  • High eye pressures.
  • Neurological conditions e.g. MS.
  • Headaches.
  • People with unexpectedly poor vision.
  • Optic nerve disease e.g. Optic Neuritis.
  • Other optic nerve anomalies e.g. Optic Disc Drusen.

OCT scans were the preserve of research laboratories but technological advances allow us to now use this technology in high street practice. Be sure to ask about an OCT scan at your next eye examination.

– Available from the 16th December 2016 onwards.

Any queries? Then please get in touch.