Retinal Evaluation and Treatment

What is the purpose of your retina?

The retina is like the film of a camera, a thin but complex layer in the back of the eye that receives the focused images from the lenses in front. Eye diseases that cause changes, defects or complications with your retina can include age-related macular degeneration, torn or detached retinas and glaucoma. Typically unless a patient is showing symptoms, most patients are screened for retinal eye diseases at the age of 40.

When a retina exam is done, the ophthalmologist will focus mainly on the back portion of the eye. The doctor will look through your pupil to see inside the back of your eye. During a retina exam, patients will more than likely have their eyes dilated so the doctor can get a clear view of the retina, and other structures relating to it.

There are several tests the doctor may perform to evaluate your retina eye health:

  1. The first thing that the doctor will do is use a specialized microscope called the ophthalmoscope to look at the vitreous, retina and other internal structures in the eye. The instrument will create a mirrored image of various portions of your eye to provide an overview of the situation.
  2. Another test that the doctor will use to evaluate your retina is a visual field or perimetry test. This test measures the ability of your eye to see straight ahead and to the side (which is your peripheral vision). During the test, one eye will be covered to prevent movement and you will be asked to look straight ahead at a fixed space. There are 2 tests that will be performed; a fixed target test and a moving target test. In the fixed test, you will face a bowl-shaped instrument or a computer screen and there will be small dots of light that will appear dim or bright but will not move. During the moving test, the targets start out in a position where they are not visible and gradually move to the central part of your vision where they will eventually become visible. The purpose of this test is to determine if there are any areas of your peripheral vision that are developing blind spots.
  3. Fluorescein angiography is a third test that can be performed for evaluation of your retina. This test allows the doctor to look at your blood vessels in the retina. They will inject a vegetable-based dye into your blood stream. As your blood circulates in the retina, our clinical staff will take a series of quick, sequential photographs of your eye. These photographs will provide useful information about the retina for the doctor to review. The fluorescein angiography test is one of the most important tests performed to help determine the diagnosis and treatment of retinal disorders.
  4. B-scan ultrasound test is an alternative method that uses high frequency sound waves to view the back portions of your eye. This technology provides a full surface view of the eye with information that may not otherwise be possible to see.
  5. Fundus photography is not as common of a test performed unless there are possible abnormalities in the retina. This test utilizes special cameras and film to document and track the progress of certain retinal diseases as well as monitor treatment.

After retina evaluations and testing are completed, the ophthalmologist will review any findings and discuss with you the best treatment for your condition(s). Although retinal disorders are often complex, modern medicine has made significant treatment progress in recent years. If you have any concerns or questions regarding your eye health, please contact our office or an eye care professional.