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OCT: Optical Coherence Tomography
One of the great advantages of having regular eye exams is the opportunity to catch serious eye diseases in their earliest stages, while you can still derive the maximum sight-saving benefits of the many treatment methods available to modern optometry. But not all eye problems are visible to the naked eye even with sophisticated viewing equipment. That's why our Spartanburg optometrist at Eyes on Henry, Dr. Louis Martin, uses a state-of-the-art technology known as optical coherence tomography, or OCT, to spot these hidden problems lurking with the optic nerves and retinal tissues.
Comprehensive eye exams typically include a careful visual inspection of the retina inside the eye, ideally with aid of pupil dilation to expand the visible surface area. This allows the optometrist to look for telltale signs of eye diseases. Bleeding in the eye or overgrowth of blood vessels in the retina, for instance, are possible signs of diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration, while obvious damage to the optic nerves may indicate a case of glaucoma.
These conditions need to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible because the vision loss they create is irreversible and patients may not experience any visual symptoms until much of the damage is already done. But even a close visual inspection of the retina can only show what's happening on the surface of the eye tissues. To discover eye diseases and disorders at an even earlier stage of development, we need to detect them at deeper tissue levels -- and that's where OCT comes in.
Optimal coherence tomography uses light waves in much the same way ultrasound uses sound waves. The light waves emitted by the OCT machinery can actually display the tissues of the retina and optic nerves as a three-dimensional cross section. Using this technique, we can examine the depth of the various tissue layers and see signs of oxidative damage and other retinal issues that need to be addressed.
We can also examine the layers of nerve fibers that come together to make up the optic nerve. This is enormously valuable because it can alert us to the possibility of glaucoma -- even when tonometry tests indicate normal intraocular eye pressure. It can also help to confirm or rule out glaucoma if the tonometry results give us cause for concern.
OCT testing at our Spartanburg, SC optometry clinic is quick, easy and comfortable. Pupil dilation isn't strictly necessary unless we feel we need to get a wide-angle view of the eye's interior. All you have to do is place on your chin on the chin rest and look straight ahead at a green light while the testing is underway. The procedure only takes a moment -- and it could help you enjoy better eyesight for life. Call 864-585-0208 to schedule OCT and other evaluations from our Spartanburg optometrist!