What is an OCT scan

OCT stands for optical coherence tomography. It’s a piece of technology we use in our clinics to get a clearer, more detailed view of your eye and the structures within it. This helps us to diagnose or spot signs of specific eye conditions.

Who might need OCT?

If you’ve been referred to us to investigate a particular eye condition, we often use OCT to get a good look within the eye and check for signs of eye conditions that need further treatment. That includes conditions like glaucoma, ocular hypertension, age-related macular degeneration and other macular conditions that affect the back of the eye.

We’ll also use an OCT scan as part of a routine pre-operative test during an assessment appointment for cataract patients to make sure that the macula is healthy.

What are the benefits of an OCT scan?

OCT scans create an incredibly detailed 3D image of your eye, and it only takes a couple of seconds. So your consultant can get all the information with a quick and easy scan.

Medical retina conditions

Medical retina describes a range of conditions that affect the area at very back of your eye, where the retina, macula and optic nerve are. That includes conditions like age-related macular degeneration, macular hole and epiretinal membrane.

How does an OCT scan help spot these conditions?

The 3D image from an OCT scan shows a cross section of all the layers found at the back of the eye (picture it like a slice of cake on its side). This image allows your consultant to spot any signs that these types of conditions are present or developing in your eye.

How do I get referred?

Find out how

What happens during an OCT scan?


One of the team will ask you to sit comfortably in front of the OCT machine, resting your chin just in front of the lens.


It’s very similar to having a picture taken of your eye during an eye test, so you won’t feel a thing. You’ll just have to look ahead into the machine for a few seconds while lots of pictures are taken of the back of your eye.


All of these pictures are used to create a 3D image of your eye, showing all the layers at the back of the eye. You consultant will assess your scan and talk you through what they see, letting you know if it’s confirmed a particular eye condition and whether you might need some treatment for it.

How do I get referred?

If your optician or GP think you might have an eye condition that needs further investigation, they’ll discuss all the various options available to you and where you can choose to go to have your treatment. Then they’ll let you know the best way to get referred for further tests or treatment.

Getting referred to Newmedica

If you think you have an eye condition, you should see your optician or GP for a detailed assessment. They’ll go through all the options available and tell you where you can have your treatment.

The referral process will differ slightly depending on whether you want to be an NHS or private patient. You’ll find all the information you need on our NHS and private patient pages.

Are you a health care professional?
Find out how to refer a patient.

NHS patients

Learn more about our NHS services
and how you can be referred.

Read more

Private patients

Find details about our private
options and how to get started.

Read more

Self-referring? Call 0800 4096 792

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