Optical coherence tomography

Optical coherence tomography is a scanning tool used to diagnose eye conditions. Our HCA specialists offer you this test


Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a type of scanner that helps your HCA optician diagnose your eye condition. Using light waves, the OCT creates a map of your retina and highlights any damaged areas. This very simple test can identify problems such as macular holes, degeneration and glaucoma.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Your OCT test is very straightforward. The whole process should last around 45 minutes and requires no anaesthetic. Your consultant will likely follow these steps: - Give you eye drops on your arrival to dilate (enlarge) your pupils. This takes about 30 minutes to work - Once your pupils are dilated, you will be seated in front of the OCT machine. Your eyes are then scanned for the next 15 minutes It is worth noting that whilst the OCT test is completely painless, your vision may be slightly blurred from the eye drops. They can take between 6-8 hours to wear off. As a result it is wise to arrange for somebody to drive you home from the hospital.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain how the OCT test works and answer any questions you might have. It is unlikely you will need to prepare anything beforehand.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    It is possible your consultant optician may give you your results on the day of your OCT test. Otherwise you will be informed of them in a follow-up appointment. You will be able to go home shortly after your test, and carry on with your daily routine as normal.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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