How Healthy are Your Eyes? An OCT Scan is Here to Tell You

Here at YCB magazine, we know how important it is to take good care of your peepers, after all, you only get one pair and they’re pretty damn important. When your job is very much screen-based, your eyes can soon feel the side effects. Headaches, sore eyes, blurred vision, inability to focus, sound familiar? Your eye health should never be underestimated. Whilst you might just put your blurred vision down to tiredness, it’s always best to be safe rather than sorry. Imagine a world where you couldn’t gaze upon a bouquet of autumnal blooms, cute puppies and photos of Zac Efron. It’s almost unthinkable. 

Not only do eye exams determine whether you’re in need of a prescription and a pair of glasses, they can also pick up on any more sinister issues that could be developing. We recommend that you book yourself in for an OCT scan, if you’re not familiar, read on to find out more! 

OCT? That sounds complicated…?

An Optical Coherence Tomography scan, or an OCT for short – is an important part of a thorough eye examination, and, while it sounds a little scary, the good news is it’s actually quick, painless and non-intrusive. Unfortunately, though, many people don’t have this as part of their regular eye test, consequently missing out on a higher standard of eye care.

In a regular eye test, you will have experienced your optometrist shining a light into your eye, and looking very closely at it. This is to examine the surface of the retina, however, it’s like looking into a house through a post box – the view is very limited!

So, what can you do?

Well the good news is, the OCT takes a much broader view of the back of the eye, showing far more detail (and is a little less up close and personal!). The scanner reflects a light into the retina, building 2D and 3D images for your optometrist to assess. These images are very high resolution, with the machine taking between 26000-40000 retinal scans per second, providing a more complete picture of your overall eye health. Winning!

Do I really need an OCT?

The short answer is yes, if you’re looking to protect and care for those precious eyeballs. An OCT scan is undoubtedly the best method of picking up sight-threatening conditions as early as possible, because early detection means better prevention!

Two of the most common eye conditions OCT can detect are glaucoma, and AMD (age-related macular degeneration). Giving a broader and more detailed view of your retina, in three dimensions, can help an optometrist spot the signs of these and other potential health problems sooner – the eyes can show warning signs for a broad range of health issues.

Glaucoma – catch it quickly!

You might think glaucoma is strictly an old person’s problem but it can actually affect us all! Glaucoma is a condition affecting the nerve within the retina, and can often give your vision a blurred border effect, as it primarily affects your peripheral vision. Sometimes it can happen at such a gradual pace that people don’t realise they have glaucoma until a large proportion of their vision has deteriorated. Unfortunately, by then it can be too late, glaucoma can’t be cured but in many cases with early diagnosis and correct treatment its effects can be reduced.

Studies have actually proven that OCT scans can detect signs of glaucoma up to 5 years earlier than traditional testing methods, helping to minimise any further loss of vision.

Decreasing the risk of AMD

So, what’s this about AMD? Well, Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is currently affecting approx. 600,000 people in the UK. This is expected to increase to 700,000 within the next 3 years, making AMD the most common cause of vision loss. The macula is a very small area of your retina, and is responsible for your central vision. AMD blurs your central vision, impacting everyday activities such as reading, watching television or even recognising faces. Is that Zac Efron or Alec Baldwin? We just can’t tell… 

An OCT scan can identify AMD, and what type of AMD you have (there are two types FYI; wet and dry AMD). Some AMD can be treated, and the development of some other forms can be slowed with some simple lifestyle changes. Although AMD is often linked to genetics, you can help prevent it by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, not smoking and keeping any other health issues in check. Time to get eating those salads and renewing that gym membership again!

The Leightons Difference

Looking for a reliable optician to book an OCT scan? At YCB we recommend Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care, a family-owned and family-run independent optician with 34 branches in the South of England, providing specialist care since 1928. They pride themselves on offering a quality eye care service as well as assessing your sight, because eye tests aren’t just about how well you can see. 

The Leightons Ultimate Eye Exam offers an examination unlike any other. Using the most modern technology, it gives a clear assessment of your overall eye health. Included in this examination is an Optical Coherence Tomography scan – an OCT for short! They recommend the Ultimate Eye Examination to all of their patients to provide the best possible eye care, helping to detect sight-threatening conditions well in advance.

To find out more, or to book your Ultimate Eye Examination, you can contact your local Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care on 0800 40 20 20. Alternatively, you can book an appointment online.

Tilly-Jayne Kidman

Tilly is a graduate in fashion marketing and currently works in social media. She writes for various publications including the Huffington Post as well as her own fashion and lifestyle blog In her spare time she's usually wandering around her home city of Cambridge, making travel plans or finding a new restaurant to try out.

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