Principle Optometrist, Optometry, Flinders Vision Optometry Clinic
Many optometrists will agree that the paradigm is shifting with respect to the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT). This instrument quickly filled a niche for confirmation of diagnosis and is now morphing into a screening tool, indicative of a shift in changing expectations of consumers as well as the practice of clinicians.
Originally, optometry’s use of OCTs was based on a high suspicion of pathology, a drop in visual acuity and other obvious changes in signs or symptoms. We then saw use of the OCT evolve to the testing of groups at risk, including those presenting with diabetes mellitus, a family history of glaucoma or AMD.
The real strength of this technology is its value as a screening tool—and I think that is where we are headed next. Some are already there.
The advantages of screening are two-fold, to detect the ‘sub-clinical’ condition in an asymptomatic patient and for use as a baseline measurement tool. The former is immediate and does not require data longevity, but it is also the infrequent outcome.
Based on our use of the Cirrus HD-OCT 5000 here at Flinders Vision, I find this equipment performs well across original and evolving OCT roles. If we look at where I think we’re heading in relation to screening, the significant advantages of the Cirrus HD-OCT 5000 includes the longevity of data it is able to capture as well as its ease of use.
The historical commitment Zeiss has made to file protocol has ensured that results from five years ago are still usable on the Cirrus HD-OCT 5000 and I am led to believe the maintenance of the same file protocol will continue for the foreseeable future. Essentially, this is a guarantee that baseline measurement will be usable as a comparison on future visits.
I find the Cirrus HD-OCT 5000 user interface intuitive and very easy to navigate. I have noticed from watching and instructing inexperienced practitioners that most come to terms with the system quickly.
The ‘FastTrac’ retinal tracking system greatly increases the quality and speed of the initial scans, while the ability to position raster scans in exactly the same spot as at the patient’s prior visit aids the scan set-up and speed at which scans are completed.