What is OCT?
OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) is 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 the eye. The OCT machine captures both a retinal photograph and a cross sectional scan of the back of the eye at the same time.
What happens during the scan?
Using a Topcon state of the art 3D OCT camera, your Dipple & Conway 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 us to rapidly diagnose a number of common conditions. The scan is non-invasive, painless, simple and quick. What’s more, with every eye test the software can automatically detect even the subtlest changes to the retina. This gives you 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
Macular degeneration causes the gradual breakdown of the macular (the central portion of the eye). OCT can identify this condition and its type (there are two types, wet or dry) and also monitor its progress, for example if you are undergoing treatment for such a condition. Unfortunately the risk of developing macular degeneration increases with age, and it is the most common cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of fifty.
Diabetic retinopathy is a major cause of visual impairment among adults. Here in the UK, more than two million people have been identified as having diabetes. An OCT examination assists early detection, which greatly improves the success rate of any treatment.
Glaucoma damages the optic nerve at the point where it leaves the eye. Recent statistics suggest that some form of glaucoma affects around two in every 100 people over the age of 40. The danger with chronic glaucoma is that there is no pain and your eyesight will seem unchanged, but your vision is slowly being damaged. An OCT examination will help confirm if you are at risk, or indeed what stage of glaucoma you may have.
- Macular Holes
A macular hole is a small hole in the macular – the part of the retina which is responsible for our sharp, detailed, central vision. This is the vision we use when looking directly at things, reading, sewing or using a computer. There are many causes of macular holes. One is caused by vitreous detachment, when the vitreous pulls away from the back of the eye and sometimes it does not ‘let go’ and eventually tears the retina, leaving a hole. Extreme exposure to sunlight (for example staring at the sun during an eclipse) can also cause a macular hole to develop.
- Vitreous Detachments
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 most cases this is harmless but in some cases parts do not detach and cause ‘pulling’ of the retinal surface. This can be clearly diagnosed through OCT, providing invaluable information to help manage this condition.
A range of OCT scans are available to Dipple & Conway clients and your optometrist will advise of the most appropriate one for you.
Please note if you are a member of our Vision Care Plan, you can book an OCT scan free of charge.
For more information and to arrange your OCT scan please contact us on 01603 626750.