Visualization of the retina can provide lots of information about a medical diagnosis. These diagnoses include high blood pressure, diabetes, increased pressure in the brain and infections like endocarditis.
In addition to helping the physicians at Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center detect diseases early, retinal images provide a permanent and historical record of changes in your eye. Images can be compared side-by-side, year after year, too discover even subtle changes and help monitor your health. Retinal images also make it easier for your doctor to educate you about your health and wellness.
The two of you can review your images together, and your doctor can point out the various structures of the retina and explain treatment options for any conditions revealed by the pictures.
Here are just some of the diseases retinal imaging can help your doctor notice or see more closely:
• Age-related Macular Degeneration: Macular degeneration is usually signified by leaking of fluid or bleeding in the back of the eye. This causes central vision loss.
• Cancer: A dark spot at the back of the eye may signal a melanoma, which can grow unnoticed within the retina. If caught early, melanomas can be treated before they cause serious damage and travel to other areas of the body through the bloodstream.
• Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetes can cause changes in the blood vessels of the retina, like swelling and leakage or the creation of new blood vessels. Blindness can result without early detection.
• Glaucoma: Pressure against the optic nerve and compression of the eye’s blood vessels may indicate glaucoma. This disease causes permanent and irreversible vision loss.
• Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): Signs of high blood pressure often appear first in the eye. Indicators can include narrowing of the blood vessels, spots on the retina, or bleeding in the back of the eye.
• Retinal Detachment: Retinas can lift or pull away from the wall of the eye. If not properly treated, this can cause permanent vision loss.
• Multiple Sclerosis: This autoimmune disease causes inflammation of the optic nerve, known as optic neuritis. This disease can permanently affect eyesight.
We typically perform this test after drops have been administered to dilate the pupils, but it can be done without dilation, as well. The test takes just a few minutes. But if we are dilating your eyes, the drops need about 15 minutes to fully dilate the pupil.
Since you may have trouble focusing your eyes for several hours after your test, you may want to have someone drive you home. If you have dilated pupils, you’ll need to wear sunglasses when outside or in a brightly lit room.
If you didn’t have dilation, the bright light used in the test may cause some temporary after-images to show in your vision. These pass quickly.
A visualization of the retina can provide lots of information about a medical diagnosis. These diagnoses include high blood pressure, diabetes, increased pressure in the brain and infections like endocarditis.
The more you know about eye diseases, the more likely you will understand and follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment and prevention.