Advanced Technology in Eye Examinations
Rapid advancements in technology have provided new innovative solutions to the eye exam delivery. There are innovations and tools which enhance the way optometrists diagnose, treat and control eye-related complications. The new methods are replacing some of the old methods due to their high efficiency and efficacy. Today, optometrists are able to get a more detailed, more profound and accurate view of eye’s internal structures than ever before. The new technology era brings in a brilliant, meaningful solution which enhances the precision in ocular and vision care. Here are some of the new tools that have become an integral part of our diagnostic arsenal in the eye care field :
Photokeratoscopy or videokeratography is an Eye Exam technique which looks at the way the surface of the cornea seems to appear. The cornea contributes to nearly 70% of the overall refractive capability of the eye. Examining the welfare of this part is critical to the health of the eye. The quality of vision depends on some of these factors. Corneal topography provides some of the latest technology for eye doctors and other eye research purposes.
Corneal topography offers a 3-dimensional map of viewing the cornea. An optometrist is able to diagnose many conditions of sight and eye health associated with an irregular cornea. This technology can help facilitate many treatments and procedures on the cornea. For instance, refractive surgery patients such as LASIK patients are required to undergo a topography exam before confirming their candidacy for the procedure. For most topographers, it is possible to get a color-optimized view of the corneal topography right from the control panel. These data points are essential and can enable the doctor to diagnose and perform many operations on the eye. Some topographers are also equipped with the ability to assess the Meibomian glands. Assessment of those glands is an integral part of the dry eye evaluation and thus helps the examining doctor by providing more data to a make a more precise diagnosis.
Digital retinal imaging
Digital retinal imaging involves scanning the poster pole of the eye allowing the doctor to examine the macula, optic nerve, blood vessels and other associated structures in the back of the eye. Aside from providing an assessment for early diagnosis, this retinal photography provides baseline documentations for further comparison and analysis. In cases like diabetic retinopathy, a series of retinal imaging over time could be quite useful in providing insights into the progression or regression of the disease.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
Optical Coherence Tomography provides a clear picture of the cross sectional view of the Retina, Vitreous body and the Choroid. The OCT test is to find ocular problems associated with the macula and the optic nerve head. It can often be referred to as a detailed MRI or X-Ray of the eye . With an OCT test it helps the doctor to make decisions based on the macula status without referring the patient to another doctor. The OCT test has been proven to be reliable as it provides detailed appearance of ONH’s as well as the nerve fiber layer. With the further advancement of this technology, it allows the doctor to also detect various ocular conditions sooner. With OCT testing the practitioner is also able to see the layers of the retina in depth. With these measures they are able to catch the early onset of occurring retinal diseases.
In addition to viewing the layers of the retina, OCT is also used to view conditions that may be associated with the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting signals from the human brain to the retina. Having a regular OCT scan can help to further monitor changes in the optic nerve fibers which could later on lead to glaucoma
The process of the OCT is fairly quick and painless for the patient. First, the patient is seated in front of the machine and then asked to place their forehead against the head rest on the machine. The duration of the test is usually between 5- 10 minutes a very quick and painless procedure. In addition to scanning the layers of the Retina to help find diseases such as a macular hole, macular pucker, macular edema, age related macular degeneration, glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy. For best image results, patients should have a pupil diameter of at least 4mm or else dilation drops are usually required.
The OCT is a great tool for detecting early onset conditions and now it’s more popular than ever in primary eye care.