What the future holds

Gregory Hoffmeyer used one of the first OCT devices at Duke University in 1997. He talks with OT  about the device’s rise and its exciting trajectory


Zeiss senior clinical relations manager, Gregory Hoffmeyer, first used an optical coherence tomography (OCT) device in 1997 while working as the head of imaging at Duke University’s ophthalmology department.

“It was serial number five or six of Zeiss model OCT 1. I was lucky enough to be travelling the world talking about OCT long before it was mainstream. Now, finally the word is out, OCT is here to stay and it has been a satisfying experience to witness the evolution from novelty to gold standard,” he shared with OT.

“It has indeed been fun to watch the proliferation of this technology,” he added.

In 20-years working with OCT, Mr Hoffmeyer emphasises that clinicians have embraced the technology in practice.

“We almost never hear an eye care provider lament the purchase of an OCT,” he highlighted.

Mr Hoffmeyer shared his belief that in the future OCTs will be smarter, smaller and faster. He hopes that the technology will become an integral part of every eye clinic and eye exam, and not necessarily restricted to just eye care facilities.

While OCT scans are already “spectacularly sharp,” Mr Hoffmeyer predicts that scan resolution will increase alongside scanning speeds, density and scanning area.

Well-engineered algorithms and software to make sense of the increased data sets could potentially be the most pressing need, he emphasised.

"When an optometrist buys an OCT for the first time, they are not only making a financial investment but also an investment in their clinical capabilities"

However, Mr Hoffmeyer explained that at this point it is unclear when the influence of artificial technology will begin to be felt and how significant its impact will be.

The development of OCT-Angiography holds exciting potential for spotting conditions before they can be observed clinically by showing the function or dysfunction of the retinal microvasculature, Mr Hoffmeyer outlined to OT.

“Anterior segment imaging has also made great strides in the past few years and now has a key role in the fitting of scleral lenses among other applications,” Mr Hoffmeyer explained.

As technological advancements are made, Mr Hoffmeyer emphasised the importance of clinicians taking up training opportunities to ensure that they are making the best use of their OCT device.

“When an optometrist buys an OCT for the first time, they are not only making a financial investment but also an investment in their clinical capabilities. They now have an enormously powerful tool and by taking advantage of training opportunities they can harness the clinical value of OCT to maximum potential.”

“Education really is key,” Mr Hoffmeyer concluded.

Image credit: Peter Crowther