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June – OCT as standard

June – OCT as standard

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) as standard on all eye tests

This month I’d like to share some exciting news.

OCT or Optical Coherence Tomography is now the gold standard of ocular health examination. While at Arthur Hayes this technology has been available in practice for 8 years it has always been offered as an extra rather than as routine. However, during your routine eye examination an OCT will now be performed, where physically possible, to allow us to see more than we’ve ever been able to see before.

But what exactly is an OCT?

The iceberg metaphor is quite a good one here. Although traditional methods of examination can detect surface abnormalities of the retina or cornea, an OCT can scan and see, in fantastic detail, every layer of the retina (the very back of the eye) allowing for detection of disease earlier than ever before. This technology also records progression and change over time, visit after visit giving an invaluable ongoing record of the health and condition of your eyes.

Similar to ultrasound, OCT uses light rather than sound waves to image the different layers that make up the structures at the front and back of the eye. The OCT captures both a photograph and cross-sectional scan of the eye at the same time. The scan is non-invasive, painless, simple, and quick.

This figure shows the anatomy of the eye. The retina is often likened to the film in a camera where the light signals are processed. The macula is the centre of the retina, the most sensitive area where all the light rays focus (you are using your maculae right now to read this information*). The retina is about 250um thick – that’s about the same as couple of widths of Sellotape.

This is what some of an OCT scan shows. The central retina, the macula in great detail and optic nerve head for glaucoma assessment. Quite simply, this scan allows us to see more than we ever could with traditional equipment and assessment alone. OCT is particularly useful for assessing and detecting macular degeneration (ARMD), glaucoma, diabetes,  macular holes and vitreous detachments.

We are so pleased to be able to offer this technology – as standard.

I hope this blog post has been of interest and I look forward to welcoming you in practice again soon.

Lucinda

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