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Optical Coherence Tomography

What is OCT ?

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a diagnostic test that images and measures retinal thickness. It is used to detect swelling in the retina or accumulation of fluid as a result of your condition.

OCT testing has become a standard of care for the assessment and treatment of most retinal conditions. OCT uses rays of light to measure retinal thickness. No radiation or X-rays are used in this test, and it is a non invasive procedure. An OCT scan does not hurt and it is not uncomfortable.

Why is an OCT scan so important?

It is the only way to 'look under the top layer of the retina' and detect problems early before they affect your vision.

What does the scan involve?

The testing takes only a few minutes. You may need dilating drops so that your eyes can be properly scanned. You will be seated for the test, and you may have your face stabilized to ensure no movement during the test. A special camera is used to take pictures of your inner eye. The images are transmitted to a computer for the tester to view and analyse. The results are immediately available, and you will either be told the results, or they will be sent to your consultant to view alongside the results of other tests you have had.

Who should have an OCT scan?

You may be given an OCT scan for a variety of reasons, including monitoring of the progress of your disease, verifying or discounting suspected swelling of the retina or checking OCT results against other results to determine the effectiveness of the current medication regime.
Written by patients Rea Mattocks and Annie Folkard and medically checked and verified by an Orthoptist. Published November 2009.
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