What is an HRTIII?

The Heidelberg Retina Tomograph (HRT) is a instrument that focusses on the Optic Nerve to diagnose and follow glaucoma. In glaucoma it is important that follow up scans are carried out to enable early detection of progression of the disease allowing early intervention and treatment. It is a confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope. A laser light scans the retina in 24 millisecond sequential scans, starting above the retinal surface, then capturing parallel images at increasing depths. The stacks of images can be combined to create a three-dimensional (3-D) topographic image of the retina.(1)

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Why do I have to have HRTIII scans?

Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible to relay the image we see to the brain. Optic nerve damage occurs over a period of time. A patient is only aware of a problem once he/she has lost over 50% of his/her peripheral vision. As the disease progresses, there is an increasing loss of peripheral vision. Unfortunately any loss of vision that occurs is irreversible. Visual field tests are used to detect peripheral (side) vision loss. Photos, scans and dilated exams allow us to see optic nerve change, which is the first thing that changes when damage occurs.

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How are Optic Nerve Scans Performed?

By having an optic nerve scan done on a regular basis, your ophthalmologist can detect early changes to a patient's optic nerve and diagnose and monitor the progression of glaucoma. It helps Dr. Piemontesi initiate appropriate therapy before noticeable symptoms appear

The appointment are approximately 15 minutes long, although the scan itself only take a few minutes and is pain free.

Sources: (1) Heidelberg Engineering