Telling the story of OCT

Optical coherence tomography's impact on eye and vision care

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a technology developed with federal research funding. Early funding came from the Department of Defense’s Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), with significant subsequent investment from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The technology has led to significant cost savings by helping to diagnose conditions that lead to vision loss among patients more efficiently, most notably:

  • $9 billion: Medicare savings from clinicians using OCT to optimize the injection schedule of anti-VEGF drugs for patients with wet-AMD
  • $2.2 billion: Wet-AMD patient savings from reduced spending on drug copays
  • $0.4 billion: Total investment over 20 years made by NIH and NSF 
  • 2,100%: Return on taxpayer investment

In 2017, ARVO shared the story of OCT in order to build support for further investment in U.S. federal research spending through videos, a press release, a white paper, an IOVS special issue and a Congressional briefing.

The eye: a window to blood and brain diseases
With OCT, devastating diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's can be detected earlier than ever before enlarging the window of opportunity for future treatments.
Bringing the eye doctor to you
New technologies like OCT could one day soon let you take an eye exam while sitting in a department store or with your smartphone.
A better view during surgery
To better guide a surgeon's eyes, technologies like OCT are being brought into the operating room to help a surgeon decide where to operate, and just as importantly, when to stop.
Staying ahead of preemie vision
Pioneering doctors and engineers are working to adapt existing medical technologies like OCT for use in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The result? An ability to see in the tiniest of eyes, monitor their fragile development and preserve vision for a long, healthy life.
Government-funded discovery
Government funding around the world exists to support the first steps of a technology's development. OCT owes its success in part to taxpayers willing to invest in biomedical research.
Detecting a stealthy disease—glaucoma
Glaucoma is a stealthy, vision-stealing disease that was very hard for doctors to detect before OCT. With this new technology, doctors can diagnose the disease and offer treatment even before a patient notices any vision loss.
Taking the guesswork out of diabetic eye disease
With OCT, doctors no longer have to guess if the vision of a person with diabetes is getting better or worse, and patients can see for themselves images that show how effective they have been in managing their disease.
Catching macular degeneration before vision loss
Thanks to the invention of OCT, doctors can catch age-related macular degeneration (AMD) before vision is lost. With the additional aid of new drugs, AMD can be stopped in its tracks.

Showcasing the ROI of anti-VEGF

White Paper
Open Access made possible by support from Research to Prevent Blindness.
Advocacy Toolkit
Make the case for eye and vision research funding.
IOVS Special Issue
25 years of optical coherence tomography