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The Importance of an OCT Scan

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Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Explained – Part 1

The Macula – Our Central Vision

The macula is a pigmented area at the back of the eye, your retina. This is the area that we use to read and see fine detail. The macula is responsible for clear central vision.

The OCT scan provides a cross section view of the retinal layers. This is invaluable for the diagnosis and monitoring of dry macular degeneration and the diagnosis of wet macular degeneration. 

The benefits of macula OCT stretch beyond macular degeneration detection and monitoring. Here are a few examples:

Diabetic retinopathy, a sight threatening condition, can also be diagnosed and monitored with OCT imaging.

-vitreomacular traction and epiretinal membranes which can affect your quality of vision can be detected

-Central serous retinopathy can be detected. It is caused by a build-up of fluid under the retina which can accumulate in the macular region and can cause temporary vision impairment.

-Macular edema after cataract surgery can also be diagnosed and monitored with OCT imaging.

How will changes to the macula affect your vision?

Macular Degeneration:

– straight lines appear distorted or wavey

-difficulty reading

-difficulty recognizing faces

– in the early stages some patients may be asymptomatic

Diabetic Retinopathy:

– splotchy, distorted central vision

– central vision blind spot

– unexplained floaters

Vitreomacular Traction & Epiretinal Membrane:

– distortion of your central vision

– straight lines may appear wavey or distorted

– decreased vision

Macular Edema & Central Serous Retinopathy:

– distorted central vision

– blind spot in central vision

– in the early stages some patients may be asymptomatic

Regular full comprehensive eye exams with digital OCT imaging are important to ensure any new conditions are diagnosed early. Treatment or a referral can then be made in a timely manner to preserve your vision.

Written by Dr. Vagners

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