The Heidelberg Retinal Tomogram (HRT-3) is used to perform 3-dimensional scan of your optic nerve if you have or are suspected of having glaucoma. An important finding in the early and middle stages of glaucoma, is the gradual loss of ganglion nerve cells in the retina which can be measured by a change in the 3-D contour of the optic nerve. By repeating this test approximately every 6 months, it is possible to detect progressive damage from glaucoma, oftentimes before any changes would be noticed on visual field testing or by the patient. The sophisticated software that is part of the HRT scanner, when manipulated by someone who is very comfortable with the program, can be the most sensitive test to determine if someone is beginning to develop glaucoma or, if they already have glaucoma, tell if they are getting worse and might need a change in treatment.
By having the scanner on site at the West Coast Glaucoma Centre, we can perform the test when needed and directly access the data for live analylsis when the patient is here to see Dr. Schertzer or his colleagues. This test is only part of the assessment of a patient with glaucoma and its findings must always be used in conjunction with other tests such as the visual field, and, most importantly, the clinical picture. In other words, we must consider the whole patient, not just data.
(c) 2009 Rob Schertzer
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