Retina Screening Guidelines-Why Regular Exams Are Crucial for Eye Health
Small yet significant, the role of the retina is a simple one—to capture light that enters the eyes and change that light into an electrical signal that tells the brain what you see. Without a healthy and properly functioning retina, vision would be severely compromised leading to partial loss of eyesight or total blindness. Because the retina is so important to visual function, any damage or disease can distort images and change vision. Retinal disorders such as age-related macular degeneration, branch retinal vein occlusion, central retinal vein occlusion, central serous chorioretinopathy, cytomegalovirus retinitis, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, macular hole, retinal tear or retinal detachment can be diagnosed, monitored and treated with retinal examinations.
Retina screening guidelines will help you better understand why regular exams are crucial for eye health. Retinal imaging is a non-invasive, painless diagnostic test that uses a high-resolution camera to take colored pictures of the back of the eye; the retina is the light sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye. These images provide the ophthalmologist or retinal specialist with a close up look of the retina, blood vessels and optic nerve. The reality is that many symptoms of eye conditions go unnoticed until the disease progresses. Retinal imaging allows the opportunity to detect any changes or abnormalities associated with the retina before symptoms arise. Not only are eye diseases diagnosed with retinal imaging, but health conditions that affect other parts of the body can first be detected in the retina. Some of these include high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Retinal screening can be viewed as your first line of defense against health hazards that threaten your vision and overall well-being.
There are multiple options for retinal screening guidelines, but the main retinal imaging options are usually fundus photography and optical coherence tomography. Fundus photography has been the gold standard for retinal imaging since it views the retina with a camera from above the retinal surface. Optical coherence tomography estimates depth and uses near-infrared optical wavelength radiation versus acoustic waves. OCT technology is also known as an optical retinal biopsy. Many patients have both tests performed within the same eye examination to achieve highly informative and detailed pathologies at the early stages. Retinal imaging is often performed with routine, comprehensive eye exams.
If it has been a year or longer since your last eye exam or if you have had any changes to your vision, it is time to schedule an appointment to check your eye health. Be sure to request retinal screening as part of your exam when you call Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928. For an online request, click here WEBSITE.