Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for Macular Degeneration

Optical Coherence Tomography or OCT has become a critical tool in the fight against many eye diseases, especially the top three known to cause blindness – macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.  Named as one of the top ten medical innovations, optical coherence tomography (OCT) is being used to battle macular degeneration.

What is OCT and how is it used to battle eye diseases such as macular degeneration?

Optical Coherence Tomography or OCT, is a non-invasive technolgy used for imaging the retina.  It can determine if there are any vision related problems without touching the eye.  It has the ability to detect problems in the eye prior to any symptoms being present in the patient.

The retina is composed of layers of light sensitive tissues.  With an OCT, doctors are able to see a cross section of the retina and detect the early onset of a variety of eye conditions and eye diseases such as macular degeneration.  The OCT allows for detection of things such as macular holes, diabetic retinopathy and even optic nerve damage.  Using an OCT allows for early treatment in patients and dramatically improves the success of these treatments, especially in diseases such as wet macular degeneration – where the eye disease progresses rapidly.

The OCT is similar to a CT scan which is used to image internal organs inside the body.  The OCT uses an array of light to rapidly scan the eye.  These scans are interpreted and the OCT then presents an image of the tissue layers within the retina.  These layers can be differentiated and their thickness measured.  By comparing the thickness of the layers measured by the OCT scan against the normal thickness of healthy retinal layers, eye doctors can determine which retinal disease or eye condition exists in the eye, even before the patient is aware of any symptoms.

The OCT test is not only non-invasive, it allows for early detection.  Using an OCT test to help detect macular degeneration is critical when fighting this eye disease.