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Eye and Vision Care

Optical Coherence Tomography

07/19/2011

Question:

Can you tell me what Optical coherence tomography is and why would it be done?

Answer:

Thanks for a great question! Our Netwellness users are certainly a highly-educated group of healthcare consumers!!

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a relatively-new imaging technology that allows eye doctors to view the back of the eye (retina and optic nerve) in three-dimensional views. It's like wearing 3-D glasses at the movies! And the precision is unbelievable - down to 1/1,000 of a millimeter (a micron).

OCT studies allow the eye doctor to diagnose swelling (caused by tumors, blood, edema, retinal detachments, etc) as well as depressions (such as "caving-in" of the optic nerve in glaucoma) and then to correlate this information with the patient's visual acuity, visual fields and other eye tests.

Serial OCT images also allow eye doctors to measure a patient's progress in either healing or in slowing the progression of eye diseases.

OCT technology is quickly becoming an essential instrument to have in optometry and ophthalmology practices where large numbers of eye disease patients are being managed.

Thank you for your question!

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Response by:

Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO
Professor Emeritus of Clinical Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University