What to expect with a retinal exam
A retinal exam is not much different than any other eye exam. A retinal eye exam usually involves these steps:
- First, you’ll be asked about your medical history and any vision problems or symptoms you might be experiencing and what brought you here.
- Next, how clearly you can see (visual acuity) is measured. Your eye pressure is measured, during which you may receive drops that enlarge your pupils.
- Your doctor checks the health of your eyes and retinas, using several lights and performing different types of tests.
A retinal examination — sometimes called ophthalmoscopy or funduscopy — allows your doctor to evaluate the back of your eye, including your retina, optic disk and the underlying layer of blood vessels that nourish the retina (choroid). Usually before your doctor can see these structures, your pupils must be dilated with eye drops that keep the pupil from getting smaller when your doctor shines light into the eye.
After administering eye drops and giving them time to work, which on rare occasion may burn a bit, your eye doctor may use one or more of these techniques to view the back of your eye:
- Direct examination. Your eye doctor uses an ophthalmoscope to shine a beam of light through your pupil to see the back of your eye.
- Indirect examination (indirect ophthalmoscopy). Your eye doctor examines the inside of the eye with the aid of a condensing lens and a bright light mounted on his or her forehead. This exam lets your eye doctor see the retina and other structures inside your eye in great detail and in three dimensions.
- Slit-lamp exam. In this exam your doctor shines the beam of a slit lamp through a special lens into your eyes. The slit lamp reveals a more-detailed view of the back of your eye.
The retinal examination usually takes less than 10 minutes. Your doctor will discuss the results with you following the exam.
Contact Associated Retina Consultants in Phoenix today to learn more about the exam or to schedule one today.