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Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive, non-contact, imaging technique used to obtain high resolution cross-sectional images of the retina. It is similar to an ultrasound scan, but uses light rather than sound waves to obtain much higher resolution images of the retina. It is a hospital-quality scan that can be carried out in our practice, using the latest technology to look more closely at your retina.
OCT has been shown to be useful for evaluation of diseases associated with the vitreous and retina at the back of the eye (such as macular holes, macular oedema, age-related macular degeneration, epiretinal membranes) and glaucoma. In particular, it is used to:
- examine the retina and the retinal structures (such as the macula, retinal pigment epithelium, and retinal nerve fibre layer)
- examine the extent of retinal defects or abnormalities caused by trauma or various eye diseases including macular degeneration, retinal detachment, macular hole, macular oedema, and epiretinal membrane
- perform detailed measurements of the retina (such as thickness of the macula and its sub-layers) and the optic nerve head (such as volumetric and area measurements), to determine the specific causes of various eye disorders and develop the treatment plan, such as surgical intervention
- monitor the outcomes of treatment procedures over time
We recommend having regular OCT scans, even if your vision and eyes appear perfectly fine, so that we can identify subtle changes. These may indicate early signs of eye conditions, making it much easier to diagnose, treat and manage. In particular, an OCT scan can help to detect eye conditions like glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
During an OCT scan, you will be asked to sit in front of a small machine with your chin placed on a support. The instrument can scan your eye without touching it and it is completely painless.
An OCT scan allows us to see towards the back of the eye and provides a cross section through the layers of your retina.
We recommend that you have an OCT scan even when your eyes are healthy, in order to provide a baseline image for future comparison.
Video explaining the benefits of Optical Coherence Tomography