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What is an OCT?
You may have heard opticians advertise that they will use an OCT in your eye test. But just what is an OCT and what does it do?
An Optical Coherence Tomography Scanner, or OCT, is a new, completely painless and highly advanced system that scans your eyes for potentially serious conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, age-related macular degeneration, vitreous detachments and more.
Similar to ultrasound, OCT uses light rather than sound waves to image the different layers that make up the structures at the front and the back of your eye. The OCT machine captures both cross-sectional and 3D images of your eye at the same time
The scan is non-invasive, painless, simple and quick. What’s more, the software can automatically detect even the most subtle changes to the retina with every eye test you have. This gives you an invaluable ongoing record of the health and condition of your eyes and helps with early diagnosis and management of eye conditions.
How we use our OCT
We have recently invested in the very latest in OCT technology, the Triton OCT. This is a hospital grade machine, which allows us to not only make a more detailed and accurate diagnosis but also helps the ophthalmic consultants when we refer patients to their care. Because we use the same high-grade equipment, they can quickly interpret the scans and diagnosis we send them and provide a better level of care to our patients.
We use our OCT to help us diagnose and manage the following conditions:
Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the UK. It causes gradual deterioration of the macula (the central portion of your retina which helps you to see in detail). There are two types of AMD: wet and dry. Wet AMD causes rapid reduction in vision and must be treated in hospital very rapidly. Our OCT helps us identify the earliest signs of AMD, determine whether it is the wet or dry form, and monitor its progress over time.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age within the UK. However, it can be treated successfully if the condition is picked up early enough. We use our OCT to detect diabetic retinopathy at its earliest stage. This means we can immediately refer our patients for treatment and help them manage the condition.
Glaucoma is a condition which causes damage to the optic nerve – the part of the eye which connects to the brain – and gradual loss of peripheral vision. Recent statistics suggest that some form of glaucoma affects around two in every 100 people over the age of 40, rising to almost 1 in 10 in people over 75 years. Because the early stages of chronic glaucoma do not cause symptoms, regular eye examinations are essential to pick up glaucoma at its earliest stage so that ongoing damage can be prevented. We use our OCT to measure numerous features at the back of the eye help us diagnose the condition as early as possible. We also use it to closely monitor your eye health, so we can identify any glaucomatous changes over time.
As people get older the vitreous jelly that takes up the space in our eyeball can change. It becomes less firm and can move away from the back of the eye towards the centre. In some cases, parts do not detach and cause ‘pulling’ of the retinal surface. Where they do detach, the danger is that there is no pain and your eyesight will seem unchanged, but the back of your eye may be damaged. We can easily diagnose vitreomacular traction with our OCT and get invaluable information about the current relationship between the vitreous and the retinal surface of your eyes.
A macular hole is a small hole in the macula – the part of the retina which is responsible for our sharp, detailed central vision. This is the vision we use when we look closely at things, for example when reading, sewing or using a computer. Macular holes usually form during a complicated vitreous detachment, when the vitreous pulls away from the back of the eye, causing a hole to form. The condition needs to be managed by an ophthalmologist in hospital.
The difference we make to you with our OCT
Whilst many opticians are investing in an OCT, few have the necessary expertise to interpret the results effectively. We do. And we work closely with the eye hospitals we refer our patients to when they need further care.
“We researched the OCT market carefully to ensure we chose the best machine for our practice. The 3D Triton OCT is the most technologically advance of all OCTs and so allows us to provide a better service to our patients. This gives them peace of mind because they know their eye care is in the very best hands.
We have already diagnosed several conditions that would not have been immediately obvious without the detailed scans and images the OCT provides of our patients’ eyes. It allows me to see so much more. Before I could see a problem once it presented itself. but now the OCT gives us the ability to see a problem before it becomes an concern.
Priyanka, Principal Optometrist.
We know how important it is to pick up any problems with your eyes as early as possible, because then we can better manage the condition and help prevent any further damage. If you would like us to examine your eyes using our OTC then the cost is only £35.
It’s all part of our commitment to provide you with the optimum health care for your eyes.