Optical coherence tomography or OCT is a process used during an eye examination. This non-invasive imaging technology is used for obtaining images of the retina. The images are high-resolution, and they help to identify optic nerve diseases. OCT works like ultrasound testing, but the imaging process measures light instead of sound. In cases of eye diseases like glaucoma, OCT can measure the thickness of the retinal nerve fiber.
Optometrists and ophthalmologists use OCT to get an image of the back of the eye and its entire anatomy. This includes the optic nerve, macula, choroid, and retina. During an eye exam, the eye doctor may need to view more detail below the eye surface. This detail is difficult to view using standard techniques. However, the OCT technology can reveal more details. It captures images between tissues providing doctors with detailed reflections of the cross-sections.
The OCT reveals high-resolution details in a way that has never been experienced before. The system produces images better than 10 microns. This is better than any ultrasound or MRI available. With these images, the eye specialists do not have to guess whether retinal swelling is present from the way it appears. They can determine with accuracy using detailed information. The examination can identify the exact layer of the retina that is accumulating fluid, causing the swelling or edema. The technology is used to track the resolution or healing of the swelling.
OCT works through the use of interferometry. This interferometry allows the professionals to image the tissue using light instead of sound, gamma rays, or radiofrequency. The OCT system shines a light beam into the eye. Different tissues reflect the section of this light building images based on the internal reflection differential. Images that are 2-3 mm below the tissue surface are obtained through the cornea that works like a transparent window. The light that enters the eye is safe, which means that no eye damage will occur.
Eye doctors agree that the OCT exam is the easiest imaging test that an individual can take. The test is usually completed in about 5 minutes. The patient will simply place his head on the headrest, and the instrument will be calibrated. The patient looks at a target in the machine, and the technician will receive the image. If the pupils are too small or if the doctor wants to highlight a specific area, they may be dilated. Medicated eye drops are used to dilate the pupils. However, most patients do not require dilation.
The OCT system is used for the evaluation of different eye conditions. It can be used to identify glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, central serous retinopathy, macular degeneration, and macular holes. The technology is not just efficient but also offered at a low cost. The non-contact, non-invasive procedure has quickly become a regular practice in retinal diagnostics.
OCT systems provide high-resolution images. The 3D images are displayed in real-time for the best results. The systems can take “optical biopsies” of eye tissue, producing images without the need for tissue specimens for diagnosis and characterization.
To know more about OCT, visit Coers Family Eyecare at our office in Columbus, Indiana. You can also call (812) 408-8400 to book an appointment today.