Why Should I get the Extra Testing?
When you go for your annual eye exam you may find your doctor asking to take scans and photo’s of your eyes,these scans allow them to take an in depth look into the health of your eyes. They are looking for various medical complications that may not be causing issues currently but in the long run could make life very complicated. The goal when looking at your eyes is to make sure that not only is your prescription correct but that the overall health of your eyes is taken care of as well, almost like a yearly physical just for your eyes.
The Optical coherence tomography or OCT machine, allows us to take a scan of your eye and let us look at not just the surface layer but all the layers as well. When the doctors look at these scans they are looking to see if you are at risk for things such as glaucoma, which anyone can develop from young babies to grown adults, there are people that are at greater risk for developing it. Such as people with family history, African Americans over 40 and Hispanic Americans over 60. Glaucoma isn’t something we can cure, however we can help lessen the long term risk for vision loss.
Another disease that we are looking for is Macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss in the US with more than 10 million people being affected every year.
The early stages of Macular degeneration do not cause vision loss, which is why yearly eye exams are important. when we take scans and photos of your eyes we are looking for signs of fatty deposit (Drusen) around the Macula itself. This is a precursor to Macular degeneration and at this stage we start using things like supplements to help slow the progress of the disease. Once you start having vision loss you are in late stages of Macular Degeneration and at this point we continue with the supplements and changes to diet and if possible changes to the environment as well.
Over all the goals of the doctor when using the OCT machine are to check the health of your eyes and to make sure that if you are going to develop any of these things that we can catch them before they cause irreversible damage.