Dr. Geller Explains The Importance Of Amazing Technology
1) Please describe what the OCT is used for and give a basic sense of how it works.
Just like an ultrasound uses sound to detect things, an OCT uses light instead of sound and then gives us an HD image of what it found. We use the OCT to get a microscopic view of the layers of your retina, the most important structure in your eye.
2) What components, or how much of the retina, does the OCT look at and give imaging for?
In particular we look at the optic nerve, which carries information from your eye to your brain, and the macula, which is a point in our eye with the most dense photoreceptor cells. By looking at these two critical structures we can pinpoint disease and intervene before damage occurs.
3) What types of eye diseases and disorders can be discovered?
The main eye diseases we use the OCT for are Glaucoma (a disease most often with elevated eye pressure) and Macular Degeneration (an age related inflammatory eye disease). Yet that’s not all! Retinal holes, retinitis pigmentosa, congenital eye disorders, genetic diseases, and diabetes are just a fraction of what the OCT can give us information about.
4) What is it about this particular technology that you find most exciting; the component that made you feel you need to invest in this for your practice?
The retina is only about 300 microns thick, thats 0.3 millimeters! We are literally magnifying a 0.3 mm piece of tissue so it is visible with our naked eye. It gives us a look at disease that we would normally never be able to catch or see. Also, it is very easy to understand the scan and patients gain so much information.
5) Can you describe the patient experience when using the OCT?
Sure! Sit down in a comfy chair, put your face next to a camera, look at a green light for 2 seconds and then you are all done! The instrument even tracks small eye movements and blinks so you don’t have to worry about fixation, the instrument will take care of the alignment.
6) Do the patients that walk through your doors day in and day out, appreciate the upgrade in technology?
100% beyond a shadow of a doubt. Every patient that comes in and gets an OCT scan tells me that they can now rest assured that themselves their kids, or their parents feel they have healthy eyes. Very little disease processes can escape or evade the technology of the OCT!
7) How does this technology improve comprehensive eye exams compared to the days when we did not have an OCT in the optometric office?
First off you get early detection of disease. Secondly you cut down on referrals to other doctors and making the patients wait weeks for a diagnosis. Lastly, the eye exam becomes much more educational and fun.
8) To what patients do you recommend using the OCT?
Everyone! In training at optometry school I only used the OCT when I detected disease using other tests. Now I do it on everyone because it is a great screening tool, and an amazing educational tool. Also, we have 1 hour long exams with our patients so there is plenty of time to go above and beyond the average eye exam. I of course recommend the OCT for patients with particular eye diseases.
9) Can you share a particular story in which, by using the OCT, you were able to detect and treat a disease that would have otherwise gone undetected?
Sure! I recently saw a patient who’s vitreous (the jelly that fills the eye) was pulling on the macula (the most sensitive part of the eye). I would have never ever seen it on a regular eye exam because it was so subtle. This is called “vitreo-macular traction”. Because of this we were able to put the patient on close watch and give her all the necessary at home tools to monitor her vision. At this point we are not going to treat this, but just watch it for changes.