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Optical Coherence Tomography
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive diagnostic test that uses light waves to create detailed images of the layers of the retina and other structures in the eye. These images will help your eye doctor diagnose, manage, or treat many different eye diseases and conditions.
If your optometrist recommends you receive an OCT scan during your visit, here is what to expect.
- During your eye and vision exam, your eye doctor will ask about your medical history and any symptoms you may be experiencing. If your eye doctor determines that an OCT scan is necessary, they will explain the procedure to you in detail and answer any questions you may have.
- Your eye doctor may or may not dilate your eyes prior to the scan being completed. If they choose to dilate your eyes, it is to make it easier to examine your retina.
- The OCT scan takes only a few minutes. You will be asked to sit in front of a machine with your head gently resting on a support so that it remains still. The machine will then scan your eyes. Nothing touches your eyes at any point during the scan.
- After the scan is complete, your eye doctor will review the images and discuss the results with you. If any abnormalities are detected, they may recommend further testing or treatment.
OCT can be used to diagnose a wide range of eye conditions, including:
Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye disease that affects the central part of the retina, known as the macula. OCT can detect abnormalities in the macula that may be a sign of AMD.
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which can lead to vision loss. OCT can provide important information about the health of the optic nerve and can be used to monitor the progression of the disease.
This is a complication of diabetes that affects the blood vessels in the retina. OCT can detect abnormalities in the blood vessels and can be used to monitor the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
This is a serious condition in which the retina becomes separated from the underlying layer of the eye. OCT can detect abnormalities in the layers of the retina that may be a sign of retinal detachment.
In addition to these conditions, OCT can also be used to diagnose other eye problems, such as cataracts, dry eye syndrome, and uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye).
OCT can detect abnormalities in the layers of the retina that may not be visible during a traditional eye exam. It can also provide important information about the health of the optic nerve, which is crucial in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma.
In addition to its diagnostic capabilities, OCT can also be used to guide certain treatments, such as injections for wet age-related macular degeneration or laser procedures for diabetic retinopathy.