Maria Znamenska

Ph.D. Ophthalmology

Reading time

5 min. read

OCT imaging system is a highly informative non-invasive method of retinal examination, and because of its resolution, it is called histology or microscopy. Usually, thinking of the benefits of OCT eye examination and OCT interpretation, eye care specialists talk about three key points: high scanning speed, non-invasiveness, and the absence of contact.

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How do eye care specialists learn the interpretation of OCT?

However, learning OCT interpretation is challenging. It takes time and money to master OCT interpretation skills and become a professional.  Most often, ophthalmologists and optometrists choose one of the following methods of education when it comes to OCT scan interpretation, according to our survey.

  • Webinars. They have become popular with the Covid epidemic. Now there are plenty of various educational webinars where less experienced eye care specialists can obtain useful knowledge.
  • Conferences. Unfortunately, travel restrictions made it impossible to travel much, but before the pandemic, eye care specialists could learn by visiting various conferences.
  • Atlases are still quite popular, but unfortunately, it is impossible to update information in them often.
  • Mobile apps are a new educational tool that is gaining popularity among eye care specialists.

OCT interpretation

Because OCT interpretation education requires a lot of resources from eye care specialists, ophthalmologists and optometrists may lack the experience that they need so much to feel 100% confident with OCT eye examination.

Poor knowledge of OCT interpretation results in problems

At Altris Education OCT, we decided to talk to optometrists and ophthalmologists who use our application about the most common problems with OCT eye examinations.  That is what we’ve learned, receiving 1034 answers from eye care specialists from all over the world. There are 4 main problems connected with OCT:

  • No interpretation of OCT

This problem with OCT interpretation can be hidden, but it turns out that  16, 3 % of eye care specialists avoid offering OCT eye examinations to their clients because they are not sure about their interpretation skills. 

  • Slow OCT

OCT eye examination takes time and practice to master before an eye care specialist will be able to perform a high-quality OCT examination fast. Some eye care specialists can spend up to 40 minutes on OCT, which will result negatively on the quality of the service of the clinic or individual optometry. On average, eye care specialists spend 10 minutes on 1 OCT eye examination. 

OCT interpretation

  • Minor, early, rare pathologies missed.

Another common problem in OCT scan interpretation is missing minor, early, rare pathologies on OCT scans. It turns out that 20,2% of eye care specialists miss them 1-3 times a week, while 4,4% miss them even more frequently: 3-5 times a week. What is most surprising is how often eye care specialists are not aware of their ignorance at all. 30,5% of ophthalmologists and optometrists admit that they have no idea if they miss any minor, early or rare pathologies at all. 

If an eye care specialist misses early signs of glaucoma, it can lead to irreversible blindness.

Why is that so important? Missing pathologies at their early stage can have serious negative consequences for patients. For instance, missing glaucoma, which is irreversible, can lead to blindness. Missing rare and minor pathologies can result in inadequate follow-up and treatment of a patient, which can make the situation worse. Accurate interpretation of OCT scans and diagnosis is the main condition of positive patient outcomes.

  • Controversial Scans 

It turned out that a majority of eye care specialists come across controversial scans they don’t know how to interpret. It is difficult to determine the right diagnosis on such scans and additional time is needed to interpret them.

In the majority of cases ( 99% to be precise) eye care specialists consult their colleagues when they come across a scan they do not know how to interpret. They can ask their colleagues personally, in groups on Social Media or create special chats in messengers.

How Altris AI solves most problems of OCT interpretation

With Altris AI, a standalone SaaS for the decision-making support of ophthalmologists and optometrists, all these problems will be solved. Altris AI provides:

  • Fast differentiation between pathological and non-pathological scans
  • Identification of minor, early, and rare pathologies
  • Second opinion when working with the interpretation of OCT scans
  • Confidence when coming across controversial OCT scans

Our web platform is capable of accurate b-scans severity differentiation. After OCT scans are uploaded inside the system, the AI model assesses them ( up to 512 b-scans) and differentiates between normal scans and scans with moderate and severe pathology.

The most helpful module of our platform is called Classification/Segmentation. Inside this module, an eye care specialist can analyze any OCT scan on the absence/presence of more than 70 retina pathologies and pathological signs. It excludes the possibility of missing some rare pathologies.

The system is already available for a free trial to anyone who wants to try to solve the main OCT scan interpretation pain points.