OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) is one of the most important diagnostic tools in modern eye examinations, and can be used to diagnose many serious eye diseases at an early stage. Today, OCT is an indispensable tool for checking the health of your eyes. Its role is to provide accurate information about the areas responsible for vision and any abnormalities in the eye.
The OCT eye scan produces three-dimensional, colour-coded, cross-sectional images of the retina, allowing the detection of asymptomatic, early lesions that cannot be seen during other examinations.
OCT scanning uses optical imaging (without radiation) to produce higher resolution images of the layers of the retina and the optic nerve. The colour-coded images provide a great deal of information that can help your eye doctor measure the thickness of the retina and identify optic nerve abnormalities.
Timely and accurate diagnosis is essential to enable your eye doctor to start appropriate treatment as soon as possible. The results of the examination also provide a good indication of the course of the diagnosed disease and the effectiveness of treatment.
When is optical coherence tomography needed?
Your ophthalmologist may recommend an OCT scan if you are over a certain age and/or at risk of developing certain eye conditions. In such cases, it may also be used as a screening test.
OCT scans are used to diagnose various eye diseases and to decide on the effectiveness of treatments, such as:
- Retina diseases
- Hereditary or acquired macular diseases
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Coronary Retinal vein occlusion
An anterior segment OCT scan is used to look for corneal lesions. The front of the eye can be examined with high accuracy, which can be useful in various corneal diseases and glaucoma.
The need for an OCT scan is decided by your ophthalmologist, but of course you can also initiate it if you have a medical condition such as age-related macular degeneration, other macular diseases, glaucoma, maybe diabetes, hypertension, or other internal medical conditions caused by fundus lesions.
How does the OCT scan work?
No special preparation is needed to perform an OCT scan. In most cases, it may be necessary to apply a dilating eye-drop, which dilates the pupil, making it easier to perform the scan.
The test is carried out in a dark room, in a seated position, with the patient resting their chin and forehead on a support attached to the machine so that they do not move. The OCT machine then scans the eye without touching it. The eye is focused on a coloured target inside the machine. During the scan, you may see a red line. The test takes a short time, a few minutes. The test is completely painless and risk-free.
If you have received eye drops to dilate your pupils, your eyes may be more sensitive to light for a few hours and your vision may become blurred.
Why is an OCT scan particularly important?
In the case of glaucoma, it is important to diagnose the problem as early as possible, as the slow progression of the disease causes ongoing damage to the cells and nerve fibres involved in vision, which in the long term causes a narrowing of the visual field and permanent damage to vision. An OCT scan helps detect the problem early and helps to monitor the disease effectively.
Macular degeneration is one of the most common causes of vision loss in the elderly, but it is also increasingly affecting middle-aged people. Macular degeneration attacks sharp vision. Abnormal neovascularisation, watery discharge may develop in the wet form of macular degeneration. In dry macular degeneration, areas of atrophy may develop in the area of sharp vision. An OCT scan can detect the disease early.
In the case of diabetic maculopathy, i.e. changes caused by diabetes, timely eye examinations also help to ensure that targeted treatment can be started in time, before significant vision loss occurs.
What is an OCT-A scan and when is it needed?
Angiography-OCT is a diagnostic test that uses optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology to produce high-quality images of the retina and its vascular structure.
The results of the test allow thorough monitoring of certain eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Many patients with diabetic retinopathy can develop macular oedema, neovascularisation and consequent vision loss.
Angio-OCT complements OCT, a very useful test to monitor the condition of the retina, detect possible eye problems early and select the most appropriate treatment. Years ago, this diagnostic test was preceded by unpleasant preparations, but nowadays, due to advances in technology, the test can be performed easily and without any inconvenience.
Years ago, this diagnostic test was preceded by unpleasant preparations, but nowadays, due to technological developments, it can be performed easily and without discomfort.
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