OCT, or optical coherence tomography, is a device your optometrist uses to take photos of your eye. OCT imaging uses lightwaves to take detailed, cross-sectional images of your retina. It’s a similar concept to an ultrasound, but OCT imaging uses light waves instead of sound waves. This gives a clearer, sharper image compared to ultrasound.
Detailed OCT images allow your optometrist to evaluate the health and thickness of each individual retinal layer. OCT imaging is an important part of eye exams, as it allows for detailed monitoring of your eye health and, in some cases, early diagnosis of eye disease.
OCT imaging can help diagnose eye disease, particularly eye disease that affects the retina and optic nerve. Some of these conditions include:
The OCT testing process is relatively quick and simple. First, you place your face in front of the OCT machine, resting your chin on a chin rest. Then, the OCT machine will scan your eyes without touching them. In total, the process takes less than 10 minutes.
Depending on your eyes, your optometrist might recommend that you have your eyes dilated before the procedure. For dilation, your optometrist will administer dilating eye drops before OCT testing. Dilation allows your optometrist to see more of your retina.
In addition to disease diagnosis, OCT testing can have many benefits. Your optometrist might recommend OCT testing to monitor your eye health. Even if you have a low risk of eye disease, OCT testing can create a baseline, which helps your optometrist detect small changes over time.
OCT imaging can be well worth it for your eye health. The test is quick, non-invasive, and painless while providing your optometrist with a wealth of information.
Depending on the diagnosis that results from an OCT exam, your eye doctor will decide on the proper course of treatment.
If the diagnosis is glaucoma, next steps could include pills, eye drops, surgery, or a blend of these.
If you are found to have macular degeneration, options might involve laser therapy, anti-angiogenic medication, vitamins, or a combination of these.