Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is widely used in hospital eye clinics to produce in depth digital imaging of the back of the eye. It takes a photograph of the inside of the eye, and generates a 4D scan beneath the surface of the retina, giving much more information about the health of the eye.
Imagine an ultrasound image of a baby - an OCT scan is like this, but using light instead of sound waves. This extra information gives us more opportunity to pick up eye disease earlier, meaning that treatment can start sooner and the chance of irreversible damage is therefore reduced.
The OCT has two main areas of investigation:
The macula is the part of the retina that is used for seeing detail, such as reading or seeing people's faces. One of the most common causes of sight loss in older people is macular degeneration. When this occurs the macula stops functioning and central vision can be lost.
An OCT scan can show the early signs of macular degeneration, and help differentiate between the different types (wet and dry).
The Optic Nerve
The optic nerve is the part of the eye that is affected by glaucoma, a disease caused by elevated pressure inside the eye. OCT scans of the optic nerve can show very early changes related to glaucoma, and because of the detail recorded in the scans, small changes in the appearance of the nerve can be measured and monitored.
OCT is not currently part of the standard sight test and can be added to your examination for a fee.
Members of our Eyecare Membership get OCT free of charge.