Diabetes and 3D OCT scans, by Russell Ramsden

Diabetes and 3D OCT scans, by Russell Ramsden image

It is well known that the incidence of diabetes is increasing rapidly throughout the developed world and that it has wide spread effects throughout the body. These effects can be reduced and delayed by good control of the diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol, especially when combined with weight loss and exercise, but in most people they cannot be prevented.  Smoking is also a well known increased risk factor as it affects circulation throughout the body.

As optometrists we are obviously most concerned about eye complications, though these are often related to other parts of the body.  Around 80% of patients who have had diabetes for more than 10 years show some diabetic retinopathy, around 5–10% will become sight threatening.

Diabetes is the most common cause of blind registration in working age people.

There is a good local annual screening scheme for signs of diabetic eye disease, but there is always room for improvement.  The usual method of monitoring is photography of the retina and then a trained screener examines each photograph.

The photograph gives a flat image (top picture) and misses some signs which are deeper in the retina. Less obvious signs can often be detected using Ocular Coherence Tomography, known as the OCT scan, which uses light to create a cross section of the retina and is much more accurate at monitoring changes (bottom picture).

Here at Valli Opticians we recommend the use of this modern technology for three main reasons. Firstly, to ensure the eye is as healthy as we think, from doing the traditional examination and to obtain base line information for future comparison. Secondly, to monitor any pathology or ageing changes and check for progression. Finally, to decide the most appropriate time to refer you to a specialist, should the changes progress.

The OCT is an excellent addition to an eye examination giving us a new level of accuracy when assessing the health of your eyes.


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