What’s an OCT?

OCT was new to me.  When I read, in the MS Connection newsletter, about a test that might show some of what an MRI shows, but without having to slide into that tight tube, I had to investigate further.

OCT, or optical coherence tomography, uses light waves to take a picture of your retina.  You’ve probably had one during an eye exam. It’s that test where they put drops in your eyes, you rest your chin on a support and the doctor scans your eye without touching it. Opthamologists have used OCT for years to help them diagnose eye diseases such glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease.

Now, there’s some evidence that what an OCT can see on the optic nerve behind the eye might mirror what an MRI sees on parts of the brain.  Specifically, research is indicating that the rate of tissue thinning of the optic nerve seems to match the rate of brain deterioration shown on an MRI.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the less-uncomfortable, and much less expensive, OCT could replace the MRI to track MS progression, at least for some of us?

This study was published in the November, 2015 issue of Annals of Neurology.



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