How Retinal Imaging Works and Why It’s Important

22 Mar.,2024


The next time you go for your annual eye checkup, chances are your eye doctor will recommend retinal imaging. This is an additional eye exam that many ophthalmologists are now carrying out. This helps improve the detailed eye exam.

Adding retinal imaging to your eye test may be necessary if you have some conditions. These conditions include diabetes, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration. But even if you do not have these eye conditions, retinal imaging can detect severe eye illnesses early and help you protect your vision.

what is retinal imaging?

Retinal imaging or a retinal photograph is a surgery-free and totally safe technique of taking pictures of the back of your eye or retina. The technique allows your eye doctor to have a closer look at your retina, blood vessels, and optic nerve.

There are a few different types of retinal imaging that your eye doctor can use to examine your eye. They include optical coherence tomography (OCT), angiography, and fundus photography. Each of these methods has precise benefits to detecting certain problems in your eye. Your eye doctor will determine the best technique for your specific condition.

How Does Retinal Imaging Work?

Retinal imaging uses low-power lasers to take digital pictures of your retina. The light produced by the lasers goes onto your eye through the pupil. As the light passes through to the retina, it leaves images that are collected by a machine, creating a detailed picture of the retina.

Your eye doctor then looks at these pictures to check what information your retina is revealing about the health of your eye, body, and brain.

Why Is It Important?

Clearer images of the retina make it easier for your ophthalmologist to teach you about your eye health and wellness. You can look at the retinal pictures together and your doctor can identify the different parts of the retina. Then he or she will explain the eye conditions that the pictures reveal and suggest suitable treatment options.

Retinal imaging can reveal the following eye conditions.

  • Diabetic retinopathy – Diabetes can hurt the blood vessels in your retina and cause vision loss if not treated.

  • Glaucoma – This condition causes a buildup of fluid that can damage your optic nerve and cause irreversible vision loss.

  • Age-macular degeneration – This illness that comes with age can cause blood or fluid to leak into your retina and make your vision blurry.

  • Cancer – A dark spot in your retina may indicate a melanoma. Melanoma can grow inside your retina without being detected. If detected early, the melanoma can be treated before it causes severe damage and spread to other parts of the body. 

  • Retinal detachment – Retinas can withdraw from the wall of your eye and cause permanent loss of vision if not treated properly.

  • High blood pressure – Symptoms of high blood pressure usually appear first in the retina. Signs can include thinning of the retinal blood vessels, spots, or bleeding in the retina.

For more on how retinal imaging works and why it is important, visit Brandon Eyes at our offices in Middleton or Madison, Wisconsin. You can call (608) 833-7256 or tel:6088330301(608) 833-0301 today to book an appointment.