Digital Retina Exam Without Dilation

Digital Retina Exam Without Dilation

Posted under Eye Health, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

At my most recent yearly eye exam I was asked if I wanted to pay more and not have my eyes dilated for the retinal exam.  I declined, had my eyes dilated and all was well.  Next time I’m asked that question, I may give a different answer.  That’s because there’s lots more reasons to have the non-dilated eye exam than just experiencing temporary inconvenient vision problems.

A new digital retinal imaging machine called Optomap by Optos, Inc. provides a more comprehensive view of one’s retina or the back of the eye.  According to Optomap, engineer Douglas Anderson “set out to develop a patient-friendly retinal imaging product that encompassed a digital widefield image of the retina easily”  twenty years ago when his then 5 year old son had permanent vision loss from an undetected retinal detachment.

A retinal eye exam provides more information regarding the “inside” of the body than any other non-invasive exam.  This test, dilated or undilated, can detect more than just eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, it can also detect hypertension, stroke risk, heart disease, diabetes, ocular melanomas, and glaucoma.   That’s because the retinal exam allows the eye specialist to see eye blood vessels, arteries and veins as well as nerves.  The condition of the eye vessels and nerves simply reflects what is going on in other parts of the body.  The three main benefits of the Optomap are convenience,  a wider field of view and the ability to save scans for future comparison.

Convenient and Comfortable

The scan takes only a second using a low-intensity scanning laser with no detected side effects after 39 million images.  Simply look into the device, one eye at a time.  A flash of light signals that the image has been taken.  You can see the images of your retina immediately and discuss any areas of concern that may be detected.  That’s what Douglas Anderson was aiming for – a test that’s convenient, comfortable and effective.

Wide  View

The panoramic image provides a unique ultra-widefield view of the retina – in fact more than 80% of your retina can be viewed in a single image compared to only 15% in a typical dilated retinal exam.  If a closer, more magnified view is needed a dilated eye exam may still be necessary.

Saved Scan for Future Comparisons

Unlike dilated eye exams, this imaging device saves the scans for future comparisons.  The image of your retina can be compared to last year’s image for any subtle or obvious changes.

Did you know that early signs of retinal disease can be detected by your eyecare professional before you notice any changes in your vision?   The Optomap device helps your eye doctor detect those early signmore effectively than a traditional eye exam.   Find out if your eye doctor can offer this digital retinal exam by performing a location search at Optomap’s website.

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN