Optical Coherence Tomography:
Ultra-Modern Eye Care

Quick, safe and informative—this new retina scanner is a glimpse into the future of patient care.

OCT Instrument“Mrs. Smith, your retina biopsy is complete. After examining a slice of your inner eye under a high-powered microscope, we are able to determine your vision problem…and we never even touched your eye!”

Does this statement sound space-aged? Welcome to the new world of high-tech medicine, where breakthroughs in ophthalmic imaging make the retina's inner workings transparent to a degree unimaginable even a year ago. It’s called Optical Coherence Tomography, “OCT” for short.

In 2007, OCT was named one of the top 10 medical innovations expected to improve healthcare, by a panel of researchers and physicians from Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. OCT is a new, non-invasive technology used for imaging the retina, the multi-layered sensory tissue lining the back of the eye. OCT, the first instrument to allow doctors to see cross-sectional images of the retina, is revolutionizing the early detection and treatment of eye conditions such as macular holes, pre-retinal membranes, macular swelling and even optic nerve damage. Below are images of a normal macula and one that has macula edema.

Not long after being introduced to the ophthalmic community, the Cirrus HD-OCT was employed at Optometric Physicians Northwest by Dr. Bearden. “Having the ability to follow-up certain retinal conditions with serial OCT studies has greatly enhanced our quality of patient care,” says Dr. Bearden. Similar to CT scans of internal organs, OCT uses the optical backscattering of light to rapidly scan the eye and describe a pixel representation of the anatomic layers within the retina. Each of these ten important layers can be differentiated and their thickness can be measured.

Normal and Abnormal MaculasDr. Bearden, knowing the normal thickness of a healthy retinal layer, can then distinguish a multitude of retinal diseases and conditions. For certain conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration and cystoid macular edema, the 45 second OCT procedure is able to reduce or eliminate the need for fluorescein angiography for some patients.

Having the most modern equipment available reflects Dr. Bearden’s enormous efforts to obtain his objective of a highly efficient, ultra-modern eye clinic with advanced technology and research capacity.

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2222 James Street; Suite A
Bellingham, Washington 98225
Optometric Phys. NW Whatcom Optical
(360) 676-4030 (360) 733-2332
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