Hi-Resolution OCT: Is it Worth the Extra Cost?

April 22, 2009

Over the past few weeks, there have been many articles on this site alone  about the newer, hi-resolution, OCT machines that are becoming the standard of the market.  Every where you read, on your computer screen or hard paper, are stories about the new OCT, studies using the OCT to further define old and new diseases, etc.  How does this affect your practice?

I recently reviewed a video blog by Dr. David Brown.  He makes some great points which makes it easier for me to justify obtaining the newer, yet more expensive machines.  If you already own an OCT, the decision to buy a hi-res machine may remain blurry.  If you are looking to add an OCT to your office, move forward with the hi-res.

There is no question that the newer machines offer better resolution and a greater  specificity than ever.   I am not really sure if this justifies the purchase at all, even if you are a retina specialist, as I am not sure if this will dramatically change the way we treat patients.  The advantage of the new machines is the speed at which the data, or scans, is obtained. The newer machines can capture an enormous amount of data in fewer than 2 seconds!  This means a shorter “examination” time for the patient, less experience required by the operator and less stress for everyone.

The newer machines, due to the increased data, are able to give simple to understand 3D constructs of the retina which make comparison with other studies very simple and intuitive.  The learning curve to interpreting the scans is much smaller than with the older models.

In the end, I believe you will find that obtaining the OCT studies become quick and useful diagnostic tool rather than a chore, ergo, it becomes an easy,  more cost effective and efficient decision.

I have no financial interests in OCT.

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist




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