What is an OCT? How does it help in Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma?

OCT stands for scanning technology Optical Coherence Tomography. Scanning lets us ‘see’ tissue behind the visible retina inside the eye. In the past 5 years OCT has become invaluable in assessing eye health, particularly helpful for Macular Degeneration (MD) and Glaucoma.

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When we see signs of MD during an eye examination, we take an OCT scan which reveals what is happening in the underlying retina. In particular we want to spot the ‘wet’ form of MD which can cause rapid, devastating vision changes. With a scan we can see if there is fluid in the macula and allows us to make referral for treatment.

The detailed measurements of the nerve fibre layer in the eye are particularly helpful when we are looking for Glaucoma. If there are signs in a regular examination, OCT gives us a way to closely monitor changes over time. These changes are seen before any vision loss.

But OCT is not a stand alone magic bullet. It’s a tool and interpreting the results needs careful consideration along with all other clinical findings. At the end of the day an OCT scanner is not an optometrist.

We are committed to using all our available diagnostic tools and we strongly believe the best place to start is regular eye examinations. The simple, vital step of spending time with you, to collect relevant history, through careful listening, guides us to the best combination of diagnostic testing.