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Digital Retinal Photography

What is Digital Retinal Photography?

The retina, the tissue that lines the back of the eye, is the region where many significant systemic diseases, as well as eye diseases, are manifested. Diagnosing retinal disorders as early as possible is crucial to possibly prevent significant disease progression and even loss of vision.

Digital retinal photography, also known as digital retinal imaging, is a process in which a specialized digital camera is used to take high-resolution digital photographs of the back of the eye to screen for eye abnormalities. The photograph produced shows detailed structures of the optic nerve, blood vessels, macula and the nerve fiber layer, which is the most delicate section of the retina and enables your physician to have a comprehensive and detailed evaluation of the retina and the health of your eyes.

Indications for Digital Retinal Photography

Digital retinal photography is indicated by your doctor if you have any of the following conditions or diseases, such as:

  • Retinal detachment
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Hypertensive retinopathy
  • Macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal tears, thinning, or holes

Preparation for Digital Retinal Photography

Digital retinal photography does not require any specific preparation.

Procedure for Digital Retinal Imaging

Digital retinal imaging is a painless procedure and takes about 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The test is mostly performed in your ophthalmologist’s office or in a hospital or clinic setting and involves the following steps:

  • Your ophthalmologist will use special drops to widen and dilate the pupils of your eyes.
  • You will be placed in a seated position facing the camera.
  • Your forehead and chin will rest on a support to maintain your head in a steady posture.
  • You will be asked to open your eyes wide and stare at an object while allowing a laser to scan your eyes and capture detailed images of the inside of your eyes.
  • The captured images are uploaded to a computer for review by your ophthalmologist.

Post-procedure Care and Instructions

Post procedure you may leave your doctor’s office right away. However, do not drive home yourself as your vision will be blurry for a couple of hours as a result of eye dilation during the procedure. You should arrange for a friend or family member to drive you back home. You will also notice sensitivity to sunlight for a few hours and you are advised to use sunglasses to mitigate the discomfort. The results of the imaging should be available in no time and your ophthalmologist may discuss the results with you before you leave the office.

Advantages of Digital Retinal Imaging

Some of the advantages of digital retinal imaging include:

  • Non-invasive, painless, quick, and safe
  • Extremely high-quality images
  • Use of eye-safe near-infrared light technology
  • Instant and direct imaging of structures and eye tissue
  • Detailed imaging of the retina and the layers within the eyes
  • No need for patient prep

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