OCT Imaging: Dr.Williams Explains Why This Technology is So Important
1) Can you describe what you use the OCT for and explain how it works?
Similar to an ultrasound, which uses sound to detect mass, an OCT scanner uses light to detect pathologies in the eye. After your eye doctor completes the scan, the OCT creates an HD image depicting the OCT’s findings. This image is stored over time with your eye doctor, so you can always go back to compare what your previous scan looked like.The fantastic technology of the OCT allows us to have a microscopic view of the different layers of the retina, which is the most vital structure in the eye.
2) Which parts of the eye, and how much of the retina, does the OCT look at and give imaging for?
The OCT gives us images of two major parts of the retina, the macula and the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the part of the eye that carries information from your eye to your brain.The macula is the part of the eye with the densest photoreceptor cells. By looking at these two vital parts of the retina, eye doctors can diagnose eye disease before the disease progresses, and start treatment before the eye becomes damaged.
3) What types of eye diseases and disorders can be discovered?
Glaucoma and Age-Related Macular Degeneration are the main eye diseases we diagnose using the OCT. We can also see many other eye conditions and diseases by using the OCT, including retinal holes, retinitis pigmentosa, congenital eye disorders, genetic diseases, and diabetes.
4) What is it about this particular technology that you find most exciting?
The most exciting thing about the OCT is that we can see the retina with much more clarity. It’s important to understand that the retina is only 300 microns thick (0.3 millimeters). By using the OCT we can magnifying the retina enough so that we can actually see it with our naked eye. Therefore, by using the OCT we can see the start of diseases that would be impossible to see without such magnification. Also, the OCT is extremely easy to understand, so we can give our patients much more information now than we could before this new OCT technology.
5) Can you describe what the patient experiences when undergoing an OCT scan?
Yes. The patient experience is comfortable and easy. The protocol is that a patient sits in the chair and puts his or her face next to the camera. The patient then gazes at a green light for 2 seconds, and the test finishes. You don’t even have to worry about blinking, because the scanner is so sophisticated that it makes sure your eyes are aligned for the scan.
6) Do your patients who have been coming to you for years appreciate the upgrade in technology?
Our patients who have an OCT scan are very confident and calm that we have done a very thorough eye exam. They feel good that they know their eyes are healthy. They know that the OCT will find virtually every eye condition. So, yes, our patients definitely appreciate that we have the latest in eye health technology.
7) How does this technology improve comprehensive eye exams compared to the days when we did not have an OCT in the optometric office?
The greatest and most important change is that we can now detect eye disease mor earlier, and that means that we are saving more people’s vision. We are also able to complete many tests in our office which we used to have to refer to other eye specialists, which meant that patients had to wait weeks for a diagnosis. Now we can diagnose more eye diseases in our office, on the day of the visit. Also, using the OCT with an eye exam makes the experience more educational and fun.
8) Which patients do you recommend have an OCT scan?
Everyone! The OCT scan is a great screening tool, and also a wonderful educational tool. Patients who should absolutely have an OCT scan are patients with particular eye diseases, like Glaucoma and Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
Call or visit our office in Frisco, Plano or Fairview to schedule an eye exam today. Our optometrists at Williams Eye Care are happy to explain how this new technology can benefit your eyes.
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