What Is Retinal Imaging?

22 Mar.,2024


Retinal imaging takes a digital picture of the back of your eye. It shows the retina (where light and images hit), the optic disc (a spot on the retina that holds the optic nerve, which sends information to the brain), and blood vessels. This helps your optometrist or ophthalmologist find certain diseases and check the health of your eyes.

Doctors have long used a tool called an ophthalmoscope to look at the back of your eye. Retinal imaging allows doctors to get a much wider digital view of the retina. It doesn’t replace a regular eye exam or regular dilation but adds another layer of precision to it.

Your doctor may recommend it if you have any the following diseases or conditions:

Diabetes: This disease can damage the blood vessels in your retina. Over time, it causes you to lose your sight if it is not controlled.

Macular degeneration: The central part of your retina (the macula) starts to get worse with age. You may have blurry vision and find it harder to focus. If that happens, you may be considered legally blind even though you may still have peripheral vision. There are two kinds of macular degeneration: wet and dry.

Dry macular degeneration is by far the most common form of this disease (up to 90% of the cases). It happens when blood vessels under the retina become thin and brittle.

Abnormal blood vessels growing under the retina cause wet macular degeneration. Vision loss is usually fast.

Retinal imaging is very important in finding this type of macular degeneration.

Glaucoma: This disease damages your optic nerve (located in the retina) and may cause vision loss. It typically happens when fluid builds up in the front of your eye. It can cause blindness but it normally progresses slowly and can be treated with special eye drops to lower the pressure caused by the fluid.

Retinal Toxicity: The arthritis drug hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) can damage your retina.

Your doctor may also use retinal imaging if your vision is getting worse and they aren’t sure why.

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