OCT . . .
Why is OCT such a game changer?
There was a time when we knew something wasn't right, call it a gut instinct, experience or some results that simply didn't add up. We could see the retina, even photograph it, we could plot your field of vision, take intra ocular pressure measurements but what we couldn't do is look beyond what we could see.
That all changed with the introduction of optical coherence tomography; a kind of CT scan for your eyes. OCT uses low-coherence light to capture technology to create a three-dimensional image of the structures behind the retina. We can see the nerve fibre layers; packed full of rods and cones, we can see the blood supply and the various membranes that hold the retina in place - all in incredible 3D detail.
Revolutionising eyecare . . .
Peter Noakes has worked in private practice for 40 years and is currently a Director at Noakes Habermehl & Kerr and sits on a number of local optometry, eyecare and NHS committees.
As we live longer, my colleagues and I are seeing far more age-related eye conditions than ever before. Probably the most common being age-related macular degeneration, which affects around 600,000 people a year in the UK and is now widely accepted as the single biggest cause of sight loss. We know that up to 50% of the nerve fibre damage that leads to it occurs before any symptoms are experienced. OCT allows us to study and measure nerve fibre layer thickness and look for the early signs of change so that preventative treatment can be considered before the disease has a chance to develop.
OCT also allows us to see macula holes, retinal detachments, helps in the detection of retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease. As a preventative tool it has become invaluable and as a diagnostic tool, it allows us to accurately refer patients for treatment far more efficiently and quickly than ever before.