When attending a recent eye exam at my opticians, I was interested to see that there was a new procedure available for all patients. It is known as OCT. OCT stands for Ocular Coherence Tomography and is an advanced eye scan for people of all ages. Similar to the ultrasound, which we are all familiar with, 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 scan of the back of the eye at the same time.
How does this machine work?
Using a Topcon state of the art 3D OCT camera, your optometrist will take both a digital photograph and a three dimensional cross sectional scan of the back of your eye - in one sitting. This allows for the immediate diagnosis of a number of common conditions that can affect your eye health. The scan is non-invasive, painless, simple and quick with the software automatically detecting even the most subtle changes to the retina with every eye test taken and providing an invaluable ongoing record of the health and condition of your eyes.
What can the scan check for?
Common conditions identified through regular OCT screening include:
Age-related macular degeneration. This is the most common cause of vision loss in those over the age of 50. Macular degeneration causes the gradual breakdown of the central portion of the eye. The scan can identify this condition and whether the wet or dry types while monitoring its progress.
Diabetes and diabetic retinopathy are major causes of visual impairment in adults. Having a scan can lead to early detection, greatly improving the success rate of any treatment.
Glaucoma which damages the optic nerve at the point where it leaves the eye. Some form of glaucoma will affect 2 in every 100 over the age of 40. Chronic glaucoma is insidious as it comes with no pain and unchanged eyesight but all the time your vision is being damaged. The scan will confirm any risk together with the stage reached.
Macular holes. This is a small hole in the macular - the part of the retina which is responsible for sharp, detailed, central vision.
Vitreous detachments. The danger is there is no pain and the eyesight usually remains unchanged while damage is being wrought behind the eye. Any problems can be clearly diagnosed through OCT.
Consider booking an eye scan for your own eye health
That is the simple first step! Your optometrist will scan your eyes using the 3D OCT camera. He or she will then examine the high res images with specialist built-in analysis tools before presenting the results to you. Any future scans can be compared with previous ones for comparative diagnosis. This is an opportunity to diagnose potentially serious conditions that can affect your eyesight and your overall well-being.
Jane writes for Healing Natural Oils, a producer and retailer of high-quality, all-natural treatments for a variety of conditions as well as a range of beauty products. Apart from writing about those various conditions, she also covers general health, environmental and other subjects of interest. She has lived in Kenya as well as Cape Town, South Africa and spent time in San Diego, USA. She now lives in Somerset, England with regular visits from her far-flung children and grandchildren. She is a keen gardener and enjoys growing fresh fruit and vegetables with her husband on their joint allotment. As a result, there is something available to use in the kitchen virtually all year round. Her regular posts can be found on our blog.