The RTVue-OCT performs a simple yet powerful test which helps doctors identify early signs of eye problems which can lead to irreversible blindness. The test is quick, completely painless and does not touch the eye.
Diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy tend to progress without any symptoms in the early stages. Age is a major risk factor for development of many eye conditions because they typically develop over the course of one’s lifetime. That is why it is vital to be tested for these conditions early with the Rtvue-OCT. The later a disease is discovered, the more difficult it is to treat.
The Rtvue-OCT uses light to image the structures in the back of the eye to help our doctors detect changes in the retina caused by diabetes, macular degeneration and other eye diseases. The information the image provides can affect the doctor’s decision about the need for further testing or treatment. Dr. Koop and Dr. Martinek pair the OCT scanning with the optomap imaging as a part of the comprehensive eye health evaluation.
Why do I need the scans every year?
Our doctors repeat the OCT scans at each annual eye exam so that they can watch for changes over time. With the detail available in these 3D scans, our doctors can manipulate the images to be able to see almost every layer of the eye to watch for thinning of layers, changes in blood vessels, and many other changes that indicate possible ocular disease.Because each individual’s eyes are unique, the most effective way to detect signs of eye disease is to monitor these changes annually.
A fundus camera is a specialized low power microscope with an attached camera designed for fundus photography. The machine creates a photograph of the interior surface of the eye, including the retina, optic disc, macula, and posterior pole. These photos are used by our optometrists for monitoring progression of diseases, diagnosis of diseases (combined with other scans and testing) where the photos can be analyzed later. Since fundus photos are a permanent image, our doctors are able to detect small changes in the retina and optic nerve much sooner than without these photos.
AMD, or Age-related Macular Degeneration, is predominantly an inherited disease. Macula Risk is a prognostic DNA test that identifies individuals who have inherited any of the disease-causing genes. These individuals are at increased risk of vision loss as they age.Macula Risk is a laboratory developed test (LDT) to assess the risk of AMD progression from early or intermediate AMD to advanced AMD, a common eye disorder of the elderly that can lead to blindness.
Macula Risk identifies individuals (1 in every 5 patients) that are at highest risk of vision loss due to AMD. Identifying these patients early allows our doctors to implement a disease management strategy focused on sight preservation.
What is AMD?
Age-related macular degeneration, often called AMD or ARMD, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among Americans who are age 65 and older. Macular degeneration is diagnosed as either dry (non-neovascular) or wet (neovascular). Neovascular refers to growth of new blood vessels in an area, such as the macula, where they are not supposed to be. The dry form is more common than the wet form, with about 85 to 90 percent of AMD patients diagnosed with dry AMD. The wet form of the disease usually leads to more serious vision loss.
One in ten people will lose vision from AMD in their lifetime.
How is AMD treated?
While there is currently no cure for either dry or wet AMD, there are new treatments available to help control and diminish vision loss due to this disease. Our doctors may prescribe a healthy diet, lifestyle changes (such as cessation of smoking and wearing UV protecting eyewear), and supplements to help treat dry AMD.
The key to a successful treatment of wet AMD is early detection. Because most people will not notice a visual disturbance caused by wet AMD until it has progressed significantly, our doctors may recommend follow up visits every 3-6 months dependent on many factors to track any progression of AMD. Our doctors refer patients to retina specialists at the first sign of wet AMD for further treatment.
For wet AMD, treatments aimed at stopping abnormal blood vessel growth include FDA-approved drugs called Lucentis, Eylea, Macugen and Visudyne used with Photodynamic Therapy or PDT. Lucentis has been shown to improve vision in a significant number of people with macular degeneration.
Studies show that patients presenting to retinal specialists with vision loss associated with wet AMD have a poor outcome, with only 50% achieving a meaningful improvement in vision. While, those that present prior to vision loss do much better, with 80% having sustained functional vision. Because of this, it is imperative to monitor this condition closely. The new Macula Risk testing allows our doctors to monitor patients based not only on lifestyle and environmental factors, but also on genetic dispositions.