January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. We track all glaucoma patients and glaucoma suspects in a special registry. For more information on glaucoma, click here.

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Dr. Keg's Thoughts

The Use of the OCT Test in Glaucoma
January 21, 2015

OCT - Ophthalmic Computerized Tomography
Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer (RNFL) and Ganglion Cell Complex (GCC)   

In the last blog, I talked about how important it is for us to evaluate the optic nerve in monitoring glaucoma suspects and glaucoma patients. Any changes in the cupping or the healthy rim of the nerve could denote a worsening of its health. The optic nerve is like a large telephone cable that leads from the retina back to the brain. This  cable is fed by about one million individual wires or neurons that come from all parts of the retina. We’ve learned that before the optic nerve becomes damaged, these individual wires start to become damaged and change in thickness. If they are under stress or damaged, they become thinner. If enough of those individual wires become thinner, we actually will see a corresponding loss of health of the optic nerve in that area.

To minimize the risk of glaucoma, we need to look at the retinal nerve fiber layer and assess its health. We use an OCT test in our office -- which is a scan of the optic nerve -- to assess the health over time. Because this test has been performed thousands of times, we know what the average thickness of the nerve fiber is for any given patient. If we start to see thinning in an area, we watch this very closely or assess other methods of lowering your eye pressure to keep your optic nerve healthy.  

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Donelson EyeCare
524B Donelson Pike
Nashville, TN 37214
phone: (615) 889-0147

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