After a premature birth, Ruby Propst is relieved her baby daughter's health is improving. "She was just very underweight, very, very, very sick," says Ruby.
Little Lou Ann overcame big health problems, including an aggressive form of eye disease called Retinopathy of Prematurity. "Our experience tells us that this type of aggressive ROP generally leads to very bad blood vessel development," says Dr. Thomas Lee.
The vessels can grow wild inside the eye, scar the retina and pull it out of place, leading to a detachment. Detecting the problem before then can prevent vision loss. But with the standard method, using a magnifying glass, it's not easy. That's why doctors at Children's Hospital Los Angeles are pioneering newer technology.
"What the spectral domain OCT allows us to do, with the newest hand-held version, is place this machine right over the child's eye and that basically zooms everything up," says Dr. Lee. The test uses a laser to scan the retina and build a detailed copy in 3D, which allows doctors to see the finer details within the retina.
Once doctors could see Lou Ann's problem, they could treat it. And according to the scan, the treatment worked. "The OCT allowed us to see whether or not her daughter's retina was still attached. And based on the OCT that we saw, her retina looks perfect," says Dr. Lee. Ruby is relieved, and can't wait to take her home.
Unlike the traditional screening test using headgear and a magnifying glass, images from the new computerized scan can be stored and compared to check for improvement or progression of the disease.