Your eyes are one of the most precious parts of your body and deserve the best possible care. It is always better to understand the various examinations and tests your eye doctor will conduct to diagnose underlying retinal conditions. During routine eye exams, your optometrist or ophthalmologist will assess the health of your eyes. If you have any conditions like diabetes or you are passing your 50s and 60s, your eye doctor will recommend a digital retinal imaging eye exam.
In a digital retinal imaging eye exam, a picture of the back of your eye is taken which helps to visualize the health of the retina, surrounding structures, and blood vessels. This exam gives a clearer and precise digital image of the retina for your physician to examine.
If you are wondering is retinal imaging necessary, here are some ways this eye exam can benefit you:
1. Only takes a few seconds
The digital retinal imaging is a quick process as the retinal imaging machine takes only a few seconds to capture images of the retina.
As the process only involves capturing a digital image of the eye, there is no pain or discomfort.
3. Digital retinal imaging vs dilation:
Dilation is a process where your eye doctor will place some eye drops to dilate your eyes so that he can visualize your retina with a magnifying glass and bright light. These drops also cause blurring of the vision for a few hours. Digital retinal imaging is superior to overdilation and examination as it does not require this step of dilation at all and saves you the extra time spent. While dilation only allows your eye doctor to see up to 15% of your eye, digital imaging increases this range to up to 80%, which also improves the diagnosis.
4. You can save the images
: Images captured by this method can be saved by your physician and you for future reference. Your physician can examine the images rather than examining you in person. Traditional methods like dilation can only be viewed by your physician, but there will not be any reference images that can be seen in future visits.
5. Detects certain eye diseases
: Digital retinal imaging is necessary to detect and follow up on certain diseases of the eye like
- Glaucoma: It a condition where the fluid slowly builds up in the front of your eyes, increasing the pressure and damaging the optic nerve, leading to vision loss.
- Macular degeneration: In this condition, your eyesight worsens with age due to degeneration of the parts of the eye, which may eventually lead to loss of vision. Retinal imaging is very important to detect this early.
- Changes to the eye due to diabetes: Diabetes may cause changes to the blood vessels in the eyes over time, which can damage vision. This is called as diabetic retinopathy.
6. No side effects
There are no digital retinal photography side effects. Unlike traditional methods, there is no temporary blurring of vision or light sensitivity. You can easily drive back yourself home after the test.
Although digital retinal imaging does not replace traditional eye exams, it improves the precision and accuracy of testing the eyes.