Explaining Digital Retinal Imaging and the Reasons for the Test

Explaining Digital Retinal Imaging and the Reasons for the Test

Oct 01, 2020

Digital retinal imaging is recommended by the Optometrist in North York, ON, to take a digital image of the back of your eye. The image reveals the retina where light and pictures hit the optic disk, which is a spot on the retina holding the optic nerve sending information to the brain and blood vessels. A digital retinal imaging eye exam helps the optometrist to identify any diseases and evaluate the health of your eye.

For long, doctors are using an ophthalmoscope to view the back of the eye. However, retinal imaging allows doctors to get a significantly more comprehensive digital view of the retina. It does not replace a regular eye exam but adds an additional layer of accuracy to it.

Who Is Recommended This Exam?

Doctors recommend retinal imaging for patients affected by any of the following diseases or conditions:

  • Patients with diabetes are recommended a retinal scan because this disease can damage the blood vessels in the retina. It can cause loss of sight if it is not controlled over time.
  • People suffering from macular degeneration where the central part of the retina worsens with age are also recommended for a retinal imaging test. This is usually the case when the patient begins suffering from blurry vision. In such cases, the patient is considered legally blind even though they may still have peripheral vision.
  • Patients with glaucoma, which is a disease that damages the optic nerve to cause vision loss, are also subjected to a digital retinal imaging eye exam. Glaucoma can cause blindness, but it progresses gradually and can be treated with special eye drops to lower the pressure caused by the buildup of liquids.
  • Doctors may recommend a retina test if your vision is worsening, and they aren’t sure about the reasons why.

What Happens during Digital Retinal Imaging?

The Optometrist during digital retina imaging in North York, ON, dilates your pupils with special drops to widen them. The dilation requires 20 minutes for your eyes to be ready for the evaluation.

The Optometrist will suggest you place your chin and forehead on a support to keep your head steady. You are requested to open your eyes wide and stare straight at an object as the laser scans your eyes. The images taken by the test are uploaded to a computer for the Optometrist to look at them.

If the optometrist suspects you have macular degeneration, a fluorescein angiogram is recommended. When performing this test, the Optometrist will place an Iv needle in your arm and inject a dye. When the dye enters the eye, the blood vessels are highlighted to allow the capture of images. The fluorescein angiogram requires 30 minutes, while the regular test is completed in five minutes.

What Happens after Digital Retinal Imaging?

Your eyes will be blurry for four hours if they have been dilated. You will also experience sensitivity to sunlight. You must wear sunglasses and have someone to drive you home. If you undergo the fluorescein angiogram, you must refrain from putting on contact lenses for at least four hours to ensure they do not get stained by the dye.

The images from the retinal test will be ready immediately, and your Optometrist will discuss the results with you before you leave.

What Are the Benefits and Downsides of This Test?

Digital retinal imaging allows optometrists to detect signs of eye diseases that they were unable to see before. The test is straightforward and painless, and the results are convenient for the optometrists to interpret. Optometrists near you, can also store the images on a computer to compare them with other scans.

Retinal imaging has a set of limitations because it cannot detect eye diseases that are causing bleeding in the retina. Retinal imaging may not notice problems on the outer edges of the retina.

Your medical insurance policy may offer reimbursement for the costs of retinal imaging. You may not receive similar support from Medicare. The terms of your policy and the reasons why you are undergoing digital retinal imaging will determine whether you receive any reimbursement for the tests or not. However, retinal imaging is a fantastic way for optometrists to detect issues with your eyes that could be bothering you.

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