Optical coherence tomography, also known as OCT, is an eye imaging test. It is used by ophthalmologists to examine the different layers of the retina (the retina is a tissue that images seen by the eye are formed). It can also be used to measure the thickness of the retina. These measurements help with diagnosis of glaucoma and retinal diseases such as diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration.
With an OCT you can expect to sit in front of the machine, resting your chin and forehead where technician or nurse instructs. You will then be instructed to look at an image in the OCT machine, looking at this image will help to position your eye in the correct spot. Once the desired image appears the eye care professional will snap a picture.The OCT works by using light waves to take images of the retina. The equipment will scan the eye without making any contact with it. After the scan, the OCT machine creates a high definition image of the inside of your eye which can be reviewed and compared over time.
Many eye conditions can be diagnosed and monitored with the OCT. They include:
- Macular hole
- Macular pucker
- Macular edema
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Vitreous traction
- Age-related macular degeneration
Disorders of the optic nerve (links the eye to the brain) can also be studied by the OCT. Your ophthalmologist can see changes to the fibers of the eye with the help of this exam. For instance, it can detect changes caused by glaucoma. It should be noted that OCT is highly dependent on light waves. So, conditions that interfere with the passage of light through the eye, including cataracts or heavy bleeding in the eye, may make testing more difficult.
The OCT has very powerful magnification strength. Considering the fact that the retina has a thickness about the size of a grain of salt, it is exciting to note that the OCT can magnify the layers until it can be seen with the naked eye. Using the OCT, complex eye disorders can be monitored and diagnosed early.