Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
- A whole new way of examining your eyes
What is OCT?
OCT uses low intensity infra-red light to give a highly detailed image of the back of the eye. It shows not only the retinal surface but also the depth of the structures within the retina. It uses the same principal as ultrasound, but uses light instead of sound to build an image of the back of the eye.
The light levels are very low, the scan takes seconds to acquire and is totally painless. All you need to do is look at a light, keep your eyes still and not blink for two seconds - simple as that!
What are the benefits?
The instrument is incredibly good at detecting and monitoring various eye conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. It can measure the thickness of the retina and optic nerve fibres as they enter the back of the eye. The detail achieved by the scans can help with the early detection of problems that cannot be seen by standard examination techniques (including retinal photography).
It can mathematically show changes from one visit to the next, working at a level beyond the ability of even the most experienced observer with normal viewing methods.
If there are any changes or abnormalities, they can be monitored by ourselves (if appropriate) or should you need referral to a hospital, the information we provide can help immensely in aiding the doctor to prioritise the urgency for assessment / treatment.
Does everyone benefit?
Everyone can have greater reassurance from a more in-depth examination. The main areas where we see benefits are to people with, or likely to develop, macular problems (such as macular degeneration), those with a family history of glaucoma or high pressures in their eyes, diabetics and people with other conditions such as epi-retinal membrane, macular hole and macular oedema can all benefit from OCT technology. *
Do I need to have an OCT scan?
When checking the health of your eye, the more information we have, the better the quality of our decisions will be. This procedure gives us far more information to make a decision now, and improves our ability to compare and notice very subtle changes in the years to come.
What does OCT cost?
The OCT scan is an additional test and as such is not part of a standard NHS or private eye examination. The cost is £20.
* Epi-retinal Membrane: An epi-retinal membrane is a thin sheet of fibrous tissue that develops on the surface of the retina and can cause problems with central vision.
* Macular Hole: A macular hole is a small hole in the macula which is in the centre of the retina.
* Macular Oedema: In macular oedema, blood vessels leak fluid into the retina.