You may have seen quite a few instruments listed on this web site, but did not know what they really do, or why it is important to pick a practice with the latest technology. The instrument picture here is our Ocular Coherence Tomographer or (OCT). It is used to evaluate macular disease and to better care for glaucoma patients.
If we measure a high intraocular pressure or note enlarged optic nerves we will want to determine if you are developing glaucoma.
In many offices a visual field (bowl with blinking lights) will be used to make this determination. This test can be useful but is not very sensitive. You will have had to lose about half of your optic nerve to glaucoma before the visual field test shows any abnormality. By the time the visual field test shows any problem, you already have permanent blind areas in your vision.
The OCT picks up glaucomatous loss long before there are any permanent blind areas in your peripheral vision. By using the OCT with a visual field test we can detect glaucoma long before blind areas in your peripheral vision occur. It is quite reasonable to ask if your practice uses a device such as an OCT or other brand of nerve fiber analyzer if you have glaucoma, higher than normal intraocular pressures, large optic nerves, or have a family history of glaucoma.
The OCT is also used to provide a high resolution layer by layer picture of the macular area. In our office we have used the OCT to find macular fluid, macular traction (pulling on the macula by the vitreous gel in the eye), macular holes, and blood vessels forming in macular degeneration. Detecting these problems early with an OCT leads to faster referrals for treatment by a retinal specialist, and in most cases better outcomes.
We use instruments and technologies such as the OCT, corneal topography (map of the front of the eye), pachymetry (corneal thickness measurements used to be sure the measured eye pressures are correct), digital photography (used to look for change in moles, pigmentation, and structures such as the optic nerve) and electronic medical records to provide better care for our patients. Few offices in the country have all the eye care instruments found in Sun City West Eye Care.