Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) at Sarasota Retina

Development of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) has been one of the greatest advances in Ophthalmology in the past 20 years.  OCT was originally used only by  retina specialists and glaucoma specialists, but now, it has become a powerful tool used by the neuro-ophthalmologists to make diagnosis and track systemic disease.

How Does the OCT Work?

If you’ve been to any of our offices, you have likely had an OCT performed on your eyes.  It is a non-contact and non-invasive scan of your retina or optic nerve.

OCT works by bouncing light off the retina and recording the time it takes to return to the machine’s sensor. By using this information the machine can show us a cross sectional image of the retina, optic nerve and surrounding structures, but at resolutions never before possible.

We are now able to see microscopic changes in the eye and start treatments often before they could normally be detected on normal exam.  In the retinal world, an OCT can show swelling of the retina,  wet macular degeneration, and even small wrinkles in the retina.  This has been used for years and has improved patient outcomes by allowing us to start treatment at an earlier stage.

Similarly, small microscopic changes can be detected to monitor glaucoma.  Glaucoma is a slow progressive loss of the optic nerve.  Subtle changes are now routinely seen with OCT.

Neuro-Ophthalmologist Use OCT

One of the new areas that we are using OCT is in the neuro-ophthalmology world. We can use the OCT to show the nerve fiber layer of the optic nerve just as in glaucoma.  This is the group of nerves which communicates information between the eye and brain.

If this layer becomes thinner it can represent a loss of the nerve tissues (think of them as wires) so less information is sent to the brain. We can  also detect thickening of this layer which results from swelling of the optic nerve or possibly from disease of the brain.

Moreover, system diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis can now be detected and monitored.  These two disease affect the central nervous system, which includes the optic nerve. We are starting to track loss of the these nerves and can help show if the diseases are stable or progressing. In multiple sclerosis there are even studies showing that OCT can be used to track disease progression similar to a  MRI.

OCT is a great tool to have in our arsenal of test to watch microscopic structures of the eyes. We can detect changes much earlier then previous. If you or a loved one is affected with a disease that affects the optic nerve or central nervous system, come see one or neuro-ophthalmologist to determine if OCT could help track your disease. Call 941-921-5335  to schedule your appointment.

 

 

Comments

  1. Daniel Stone says:

    Dr Abrams

    I have Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), and it a neurological disease that also impacts the central nervous system. I have an appointment scheduled with you on 2/19 and I want to be checked out using OCT if we have not done that in the past.

    Dan

  2. Daniel Stone says:

    Dr Abrams

    I have Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), and it a neurological disease that also impacts the central nervous system. I have an appointment scheduled with you on 2/19 and I want to be checked out using OCT if we have not done that in the past.

    Dan

    • Jody Abrams, M.D. says:

      Dan I bleieve we have performed an OCT on you, but if not I will be sure to make sure it is done when you come back in. There is no direct evidence of it’s use in MSA but with such a rare disease that is understandable. I think it would be a great idea to get baseline testing on you of the oct to see if we can show any change over time (or more hopefully stability).

      Jody Abrams MD

  3. Jean Bridcut says:

    I need a retina specialist in Charlotte, NC. I am moving to Charlotte February 26, 2014. I looked online and see where Retina Institute of the Carolinas, among others, uses LASER TREATMENT for wet macular degeneration. I am currently scheduled for my second Lucentis injection on Feb 19 with Dr Menezes.

    I must make an appt in North Carolina now, in order to stay on schedule with my injections. Please help in answering my questions as to viability of Laser Treatment as opposed to Lucentis injection.

    Thank you,

    • Jody Abrams, M.D. says:

      Jean,
      I just spoke with a ophthalmologist there I trust and she recommended any of the retina doctors at Horizon Eye Care. Most treatment today is with the injections into the eye for macular degeneration. There are some cases where laser can help or even be superior to the injections. That would have the be decided based on the type of lesion you have.
      Good luck with your move and new doctors.

      Jody Abrams, MD

  4. Jean Bridcut says:

    Also, I would like to know how I can choose a qualified Ophalmalogist to inject or laser my retina.
    Thank you,

  5. Ryan Everson says:

    I had a car accident and I had optic nerve damage and have a blind spot in my peripheral in my left eye I didn’t know if there is a surgery to fix it

    • Jody Abrams, M.D. says:

      Unfortunately if there is optic nerve damage there is no current treatment for this blind spot. We can do surgery on nerves to remove pressure from tumors or pseudo-tumor, but there is no surgery for repairing damaged nerve. My suggestion is to be very careful with that nerve since it could have more damage from even minor trauma. The future for your condition is probably going to be stem cells, and while we are not there yet I think it will be coming in the next few years.

      Jody Abrams, MD

  6. herbert williams says:

    Dr Abrams,
    would OCT be helpful with ION,,,I was diagnosed in 06 and saw you in Chattanooga a few years later,,,willing to do anything you suggest
    Thank you,
    Herbert Williams

    • Jody Abrams, M.D. says:

      OCt is a good way to track any changes prior to visual field changes. I would look at doing it at least once a year.

  7. what about stem cells

    • Jody Abrams, M.D. says:

      Stem cells are a big part of the future of medicine I believe. There are numerous studies going on looking at them. Some are even going to early clinical trial. I hope in the future to announce on this site that we have a treatment for previously untreatable disease thanks to stem cells.

      Jody Abrams, MD

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