Going to the doctor can be a stressful event for the patient. To help put an ease to your worries, we are continuing our series explaining some of the things that may occur during your visit and why. During an exam there may be additional testing ordered, in addition to the physical exam performed by the doctor. This month are explaining Fundus Photography.
What is a Fundus Photo?
The fundus photo captures a picture of your retina. The retina is located in the back of your eye, and in order to get a good quality photo, your eyes often need to be dilated for this test to be performed. Fun fact: the back of your eye is also called your fundus (in case you hear the word fundus in the exam room). You will be asked by one of our photographers to place your chin in the chin rest and place your forehead on the top head rest. There are multiple types of cameras that may be used, but most of them produce a very bright flash. The bright flash and how it enters and exits the eye will affect the quality of the photo. The light that enters the eye will brighten and illuminate imaging rays of light. The fundus photo will present a clear image of your optic nerve, macula, vasculature and even the interior surface of your eye. These are just 2 types of cameras that may be used to capture a fundus photo in our offices.
When is a Fundus Photo necessary?
Fundus photography can help identify a lot of different eye pathologies. Some of these would include diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion and vitreous hemorrhages. When any of these diagnoses are suspected by the doctor, this test will likely be ordered. The image will give the doctor a detailed photo of the back of your eye and possible area of concern. This image is also a great way to give the patient a visual of what is going on in the eye and help explain the diagnosis and treatment plan. Photos also serve as documentation in the patient's health record for comparison and coordinating care.
What does a normal and abnormal Fundus Photo look like?
The image below represents a normal fundus photo of the retina. In this image you will be able to identify your optic nerve, macula and vasculature. This is what a normal fundus photo looks like…..
An abnormal fundus photo could have many presentations. This picture below represents what a vitreous hemorrhage would look like on a fundus photo. The vitreous hemorrhage in this photo is the red area to the left of the optic nerve. The blood in the back of the eye usually blocks some or all of the vision depending on where the blood is located and how severe it is.
The doctor will examine your retina by looking into your dilated eyes in the exam room, but these tests are very beneficial for the doctor to help confirm the diagnosis and monitor progress if you're undergoing treatment.
We hope this article was helpful for you to better understand fundus photography and why it may be necessary during your visit with us or your other eye doctors. Stayed tuned next month when we will explain Fluorescein Angiography.