The OCT is an ophthalmological examination performed by your eye practitioner. It is painless and allows for an in-depth examination of the structure of your eye in a few minutes. Do you know what the acronym OCT stands for? And how is this examination performed in an ophthalmology center? Find the answers to these questions in this article, and discover the pathologies that can be detected and monitored thanks to this examination.
What is an OCT?
An OCT is one of the complementary eye exams that your ophthalmologist can perform. It is a complement to the eye fundus examination. Its full name is Optical Coherence Tomography,
OCT uses laser beam refraction, called tomography. It is a radiological technique that allows artificially to obtain a clear image of a cross-sectional plane of an organ. In other words, this eye exam allows the reconstruction of the volume of an object in 2 and 3 dimensions using cross-sections.
In ophthalmology, OCT explores:
- the state of the deep layers of the retina;
- the macula ;
- the optic disc;
- the inner segment of the eye.
This is a non-invasive, non-contact imaging technique that can also be performed in pediatric ophthalmology. We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that Dr. Stephanie Zwillinger is specialized in pediatrics. Do not hesitate to make an appointment with her or with one of her COP9 collaborators.
How does an OCT take place?
OCT has become a reference in the exploration of ocular structures and is one of the complementary eye examinations which is non invasive, without injections and without contact. There may be a prescription for a hydrating eye drop to be applied to the eyes before the examination. There is no risk of ocular contamination or any safety issues.
During the ophthalmology consultation, the patient is first seated in front of the OCT, and then the device is adjusted in height so that he or she can rest the forehead and chin on the supports.
The retinal screening is performed with the lights off. Both eyes are examined by your ophthalmologist to identify any abnormalities. The patient will stare at a lighted marker that allows the acquisition of images of the eye. The examination takes only a few minutes and you will be asked to remain still with your eyelids as steady and as open as possible.
At the end of the exam, your eye health professional will analyze, interpret and diagnose any abnormalities that may be visible in the OCT results. You will then be given a prescription, or referred for specific medical treatment for any possible eyesight disorders.
An appointment for an Optical Coherence Tomography can be made in an ophthalmology clinic or an imaging center. This examination can be performed by your ophthalmologist or orthoptist. Performed under prescription, it is fully covered by the Social Security in France.
Why should we have an OCT?
Several eye conditions may lead your ophthalmologist to prescribe an OCT. Functional explorations allow to make sure that a pathology is not developing, which is why a regular ophthalmic check-up is necessary at any age.
OCT is mainly prescribed for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), which is a pathology developing in the central region of the retina. The examination allows the analysis of the neovessels under the retina, which cause a thinning or a thickening of the retina.
In the case of cataracts, OCT ensures that no other associated disease is present. A better visual recovery and rehabilitation is then assured for the patient.
OCT can be performed for screening, or monitoring of :
- DMLA humide (exsudative) ;
- Diabetic retinopathy or diabetic maculopathy (for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes)
- circulatory disorders
OCT can be used in addition to other examinations, within the framework of refractive surgery for the improvement of visual acuity (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, etc.). It allows one to measure the thickness of the cornea, and to estimate the incision during the surgical procedure.
In conclusion, the OTC allows not only to make a diagnosis but also to follow the evolution of the pathology, and the results and effects of the treatments. You want to know more? Do not hesitate to join us on our social networks: we are on Instagram and Facebook!