When we look at the macula area of the retina with our microscope we can see a great deal of what is going on. We are however only able to see the surface of the macula and to help decide on treatments we need to understand what is going on inside and underneath the retina.
To do this we perform an OCT scan of the retina.
An OCT scan shows us the different layers of the retina and where there might be abnormalities.
This is a painless procedure that is done in the clinic and is usually performed on both eyes. The scan is very similar to having your eyes examined by the surgeon where you place your chin on the rest and forehead on the bar in the clinic.
The Lancashire Eye Clinic has the Heidelberg Spectralis OCT scanner which is the Gold Standard for scanning the macula.
It is also particularly good at monitoring any changes in the retina, as it can compare scans from two different periods but it compares each scan in exactly the same spot. Many other OCT scanners are unable to do this accurately.
The OCT scan will help decide what treatment and how often it is required.
The OCT scan can be used to screen the retina of patients and follow any changes over time or equally reassure the patient that their retina appears normal.
This may help when there is a family history of macular degeneration.
Below are some examples of macular scans.