OCT an apt tool for glaucoma detection and management
Once detected with glaucoma, people generally tend to panic. According to the available medical history there isn’t a 100% cure for glaucoma, however with the coming up of advanced medical technology, early diagnosis and management of glaucoma is now possible. In the lines, one such new technology for detecting glaucoma, its progression and management of recent is the Optical coherence tomography (OCT). This OCT known to mankind about five years ago and which has come to India very recently, is slowly emerging as one of the most important tool for detecting and managing glaucoma progression.
When one is affected with glaucoma, they tend to lose the retinal ganglion cell which thereby causes damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma generally is a progressive disease of the optic nerve, caused when the pressure inside the eye is higher than the optic nerve can withstand. This in turn will lead to visual field loss and cause irreversible blindness. Early identification of glaucoma progression is of utmost importance because appropriate treatment can slow its progression and also preserve vision. Hence with the use of this new OCT technology the assessment of glaucoma can be done and also those cases which were previously left undiagnosed can be managed, said Dr Arun Samprathi, MD, Samprathi Eye Hospital.
In case of any damage to the retinal ganglion cells it cannot be directly detected. Clinical practice has shown that identifying glaucoma progression is often challenging as it progresses very slowly. Glaucoma has been called the “silent thief of sight” because the loss of vision often occurs gradually over a long period of time, and symptoms only occur when the disease is quite advanced. Once lost, vision cannot normally be recovered, so treatment is aimed at preventing further loss. Initially there are no symptoms of glaucoma. In few cases frequent headaches, frequent changes in spectacles power and minor loss of vision can occur. Sometimes colored halos around light may be a significant symptom. Meanwhile it is difficult to discriminate between disease-related changes in vision and age-related decreases in visual function. At this point the usage of OCT for assessing the extent of glaucoma has proved advantageous.
The OCT uses light to capture micrometer-resolution, three dimensional images from within optical scattering media. Among other the major benefit that comes up with the OCT are that it provides a live sub-surface image at near-microscopic resolution, instant, direct imaging of tissue morphology and no ionizing radiation. OCT delivers high resolution because it is based on light, rather than sound or radio frequency.