Structures that are located on the surface or in the interior of the eye are examined using a precise technique known as ophthalmic imaging. Our doctors can accurately document the anatomy of various eye structures through digital ocular photography and ocular coherence tomography.

Digital Ocular Photography

Digital ocular photography can photograph any area of interest in the eye. One common application of this technology involves the management of glaucoma. By using digital ocular photography, it is possible to record the stereo or three dimensional anatomy of the optic nerve. Our doctors can use this information to correctly assess whether changes are occurring to the optic nerve. While managing glaucoma, this information is critical in making the appropriate clinical decisions.

This technology is also used to photograph nevi (or freckles) located inside the eye. By documenting the size, shape, and color of these nevi, definitive assessments can be made regarding any changes that are significant.

Digital ocular photography can also be useful in monitoring retinal conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. This equipment allows our doctors to be accurate in eye exams and it also documents the appearance of important ocular structures. By establishing a photographic baseline, future comparisons can be documented.

Optical Coherence Tomography

Ocular Coherence Tomography, or Cirrus Photo OCT , is a computer assisted precision optical instrument that generates cross sectional images (tomagrams) of the retina. It works by using an optical measurement technique known as low-coherence inferometry. This is much like an ultrasound, except it uses light instead of sound. The principle difference is that the speed of light is nearly a million times faster than the speed of sound allowing measurements on a much finer scale than with ultrasound. Another difference is that this test does not require contact with the tissue being examined as ultrasound does. This measurement is in such fine detail that it is almost at the level of being able to examine the cellular structure of the eye and has been compared to doing a biopsy without surgery.

This detailing has proven extremely valuable in diagnosing and treating many eye diseases and conditions which can be vision threatening. Some of these include glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cystoid macular edema, retinal vein occlusions, and other vitreoretinal diseases. In addition to its value as a tool in diagnosing and managing these conditions, Cirrus Photo OCT can be focused on the most sensitive area of the retina known as the macula. With high resolution, this device can detect areas of swelling in the retina that are not able to be seen by microscopes used by standard exam techniques. Clinically, this is helpful in patients with diabetes, macular degeneration, and inflammatory conditions of the eye.

Some patients will require pupil dilation prior to the test depending on how large the pupils naturally become when in dim light. If your pupils do not enlarge enough without having dilating drops applied, you can expect the test to take 30 minutes or longer.