A retinal exam, also known as ophthalmoscopy or funduscopy, is a common type of eye exam in which the doctor evaluates the back of your eye. Specifically, the eye doctor will take a look at your retina, optic disc, and the choroid or the layer of connective tissue and blood vessels located between the retina and the sclera. The exam starts with the application of eye drops to dilate the pupil, allowing the doctor to shine light into each eye and view the interior and posterior structures of the visual organs.
Traditional retinal exams utilize conventional equipment such as regular ophthalmoscopes and slit lamps to see inside the eyes. Technological innovations over the recent years have paved the way for high-resolution retinal imaging, which has since become an integral part of eye exam services provided by many local eye care centers.
At Scope Optometry, we are proud to offer ultra-widefield (UWF®) retinal imaging, also known as Optomap (stylized as optomap) using scanning technology from Optos®, a leading provider of devices catering to the optometry industry for improved patient care. Read on to learn everything about this state-of-the-art retinal scanning and imaging technology and its unique benefits.
About Ultra-Widefield Retinal Imaging
Both traditional and small-field imaging methods provide a clear view of the retina, but with varying results. In fact, they only capture between 10° to 100° of the fundus or the interior part of the eye. With the optomap technology, the Optos retinal scanner can take a 200° panoramic digital image; that’s about 80% of your eye’s fundus! It equates to a 50% increase over the next closest imaging device.
The Optos scanner has a multi-capture, montaging functionality that offers a complete and detailed view of the central, mid-peripheral and peripheral areas of the retina. Unlike conventional retinal imaging devices that utilize full-spectrum white light to see small sections of the retina, the Optos scanner uses low-powered laser wavelengths that scan simultaneously. This allows the doctor to obtain an optomap image of your retina in their laser separations—red, green, blue and infrared.
The Benefits of Ultra-Widefield Retinal Imaging
Undergoing a retinal examination using the optomap technology offers unique advantages:
More Accurate Diagnosis
Optometry professionals who use optomap retinal imaging can better evaluate and monitor the eye health of individuals over time. The light-sensitive tissue that makes up your retina is vulnerable to various diseases. With a quick retinal scan, eye doctors can detect ocular and systemic health problems early on just by looking at the blood vessels and other substructures within the eye’s interior. Apart from providing side-by-side comparisons, the optomap also enlarges and isolates certain specific areas of the retinal image so the doctors can interpret what they see and give a diagnosis.
No Need for Dilation
Your doctor may not dilate your pupils if you choose to have your retinas scanned via optomap. This will only be possible if you don’t have any symptoms or risk factors associated with retinal disease. To complete the evaluation of your retina, your doctor may prescribe both an optomap and dilation upon the doctor’s discretion based on your exam findings and eye health.
Fast, Safe and Comfortable Procedure
An optomap procedure is safe and sanitary. It only takes half a second to capture a retinal image, which is immediately available for interpretation by your eye doctor. Expect us to clean the device with alcohol after each use as well. Also, nothing will touch your eye during an optomap procedure. Pupil dilation using eye drops may lead to light sensitivity and blurry vision that may last for four to six hours.
It’s for Everyone
Optomap retinal imaging can be used on anyone—toddlers, schooling children, teenagers, adults and senior citizens. It can also be conducted on pregnant women if necessary.
Medical Conditions Diagnosed with UWF Retinal Imaging
With optomap technology provided by Optos retinal scanners, eye doctors can see changes in blood flow, tumors or indications of vision-related medical conditions. Evaluating the blood vessels in the retina using this detailed image can also reveal early signs of systemic diseases affecting a patient’s metabolism or cardiovascular health. Read on as we discuss the numerous conditions that can be detected using UWF retinal imaging.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is an eye condition that causes central vision to become blurry while peripheral vision remains the same. Aging is a known risk factor, resulting in the macula or the sensitive part of the retina to slowly degenerate and reduce central vision in people over 50 years of age. This is why AMD is among the leading causes of blindness among seniors. Early detection of AMD through UWF retinal imaging can help doctors manage the condition more effectively and prevent it from progressing further.
Glaucoma is actually a group of diseases involving optic nerve damage as a result of high intraocular pressure (IOP). It is known as the “thief of sight” because it is asymptomatic in the early stages. In the United States, an estimated 1.6 million individuals over 40 years of age have glaucoma, with half of them unaware that they have it. Early detection and treatment can help minimize the severity of vision loss.
An optomap procedure can help diagnose diabetes through a diabetic retinopathy diagnosis. In the early stages, the blood vessels around the retina weaken, resulting in blurred vision. Eventually, the blood vessels close off, with new, abnormal ones growing in their place. These result in blood clots and scar tissue that may cause the retina to detach from the back of your eye, which can then lead to blindness.
Ocular melanoma is a rare type of cancer that can be detected via optomap retinal imaging. Certain factors that may increase the risk of developing one include exposure to natural or artificial light over long periods, having blue or green eyes, and having certain inherited skin conditions or pigmentations.
As part of a comprehensive eye exam, ophthalmoscopy that utilizes optomap technology is vital in revealing the status of your retina, optic nerve and your overall eye health. Undergoing this quick procedure is critical to detecting, preventing and treating certain ocular and systemic conditions that could potentially lead to complications, including vision loss.
Scope Optometry is the leading local eye care center for your needs. Our services include comprehensive eye exams, prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses, eye health and wellness screening, and treatment for emergency eye issues. Give us a call at (949) 979-4311 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.