At your next eye exam, your optician may recommend you have an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scan. An OCT scan provides an in-depth picture of the health of the back of your eye using cutting edge technology.
What is an OCT scan?
The OCT is an advanced piece of technology that allows us to scan your eye and see what’s going on beneath the surface. Think of it like an ultrasound for your eyes but instead of using sound waves, it uses light waves.
In the past, we have used traditional retinal photography methods to see the outer layer of your retina. This only shows us a small portion of the back of the eyes (approximately 15%, or a 45-degree view). In comparison, an OCT scan is more advanced as it allows us to see all the different layers of your retina, giving us a much wider view to look for even the smallest changes. This allows us to gain a deeper insight into your eye health.
Benefits of an OCT scan
The most important aspect of an OCT scan is that it allows us to detect potentially sight-threatening conditions before you notice any symptoms. Many eye problems don’t have visible signs until they have advanced to a point where they are much harder to treat, and the damage has become irreversible. If a serious issue is detected and diagnosed, it then gives our optometrist the chance to refer to you a specialist for further tests and treatment straight away.
Some of the potentially sight threatening conditions an OCT can detect include:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Vitreous and retinal detachments
- Macular holes and membranes
What to expect
The OCT scan is quick, easy, and non-invasive. All you have to do is simply rest your head on a chin rest and your optometrist will stand on the other side of the machine and instruct you to look at a target. A scan and photograph will be taken of your eye in a matter of seconds – 50,000 images are taken per second to be precise. These images are then automatically collated to produce one 3D image.
As the scan results are instant, your optometrist will be able to explain any changes or abnormalities at the back of your eye straight away. We’ll also keep the results on record so that we can then compare them at every appointment that follows, making it easier for us to track even the most minute changes and get a more accurate picture of your eye health, for your peace of mind.