At our Optometry practice, we are always looking to incorporate new technology into our treatment methods. As a result, our office has some of the newest and most advanced technology for eye care in Los Angeles. And we not only acquire and master the use of these instruments, but in some cases we are asked by the manufacturers to train other doctors to use them most effectively. One of the most important pieces of high tech eye care is the Optos Ultra-Widefield Retinal Imaging system.
Retinal Eye Exams Keep Getting Better
Every good eye exam includes an in-depth look at the back of the eye, called the Retina. This is the surface onto which the light projects after passing through your cornea and lens. Many eye diseases and other more systemic general health conditions can be seen on your retina, which makes a retinal exam so important.
You might be familiar with going to the eye doctor and having your pupils dilated. The dilation is so your Optometrist can have a larger opening through which he can see your retina. The doctor would hold a “Direct Ophthalmoscope” close to his or her eye and use it to peer into your eye, usually putting your faces just two inches apart. Not only is that an intimidating position to be in, it doesn’t make for very Covid-Safe eye exams. This instrument was invented in 1851 and has been in use since them. The main drawback of the Ophthalmoscope is that it allows your doctor to see a very limited part of your retina, just a 15 degree arc of your retina at a time.
You will also find the Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscope (BIO) in many Optometrists’ office that accomplishes the same task. This device looks like a “Miner’s Helmet,” allows the doctor to see more of your retina at one time, but still requires that the doctor’s face and yours need to be about 12 inches apart. In these days of Covid-19, that’s still unacceptably close.
The Fundus Retinal Camera allows your doctor to see 30 Degrees of your retina at a time. Images are natural color and this device, like the others, is still in use today. But none of them give your eye doctor the ability to see what the Optos Ultrawide Field Imaging system does.
The Optos Ultrawide Field Imaging System
With the Optos, your Optometrist or technician can sit at a comfortable distance from you with a plexiglass shield between the two of you. The image that the Optos creates has a full 300 degree view of your retina, which is almost your entire retina. It’s the only real way to see the eye now. And with the Optos, we can rotate, magnify and examine any part of the eye in search of systemic conditions or impending vision problems.
Also, because the Optos is digital technology, we can save your retinal images and compare them year over year. That allows us to detect progressive eye diseases and systemic conditions that are nearly impossible to notice with purely analog devices.
And because you are sitting so much further from your optometrist, exams with the Optos are much more Covid-safe than the alternatives.
Eye Conditions Found by the Optos
One of the greatest benefits of the Optos is that it is so effective at helping us diagnose some serious and progressive eye diseases.
Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that causes increased pressure in the eye. The Optos helps us see changes in the optic nerve head, which may indicate the presence of Glaucoma early on.
Macular Degeneration, which is considered an incurable eye disease, is one of the leading causes of blindness affecting as many as 10 million people in the USA. The disease is caused by the deterioration of the back, central part of the retina, called the Macula. With the Optos, we can see changes in color and mottling that are early indicators of this disease, giving us an opportunity to treat it early.
Retinal Tears or Breaks
If we see red-colored lesions on your retina, it may be an indicator of Retinal Tears or Breaks. There are many varieties of tears and breaks, but we can see them all with the Optos and prescribe proper treatment accordingly.
Cancer can strike the eye just as it can strike almost any other part of the body. According to the Ocular Melanoma Foundation, about 2500 people every year are diagnosed with this disease. It occurs most often in lightly pigmented people with a median age of 55 years. If undiagnosed, Ocular Melanoma can metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body and can be fatal, making early diagnosis by the Optos so important.
Retinal Artery & Vein Occlusions
Strokes are most common in the brain but can also occur in the eye when blood vessels in the eye are blocked. Vision loss can occur if the nerves in the retina stop receiving Oxygen and other nutrients. The Optos can help us diagnose a current or imminent occlusion (blockage), and help to preserve your eyesight.
Systemic Issues Found in the Retina by the Optos
Many systemic conditions are most often found during eye exams than any other kind of exam, making a visit to your Optometrist much more important to your whole body health than you might think. Among the conditions that are most often found by retinal exams with devices like the Optos Ultrawide Field Imaging System are…
Diabetes, which can appear as hemorrhages in the retina and tissue breakdown. Early detection is important, especially for the Latino community, which has a higher incidence of diabetes than many other groups.
High Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can be found in the retina and are evidenced by hemorrhages and blood vessels that change shape.
High Cholesterol shows up as plaque in the vessels, easily seen through the Optos.
Brain pressure and tumors can appear in the retina as Papilledema, changes in the optic nerve head that connects the brain to the eye.
The Optos Will See You Now
The Optos Ultra-Widefield Retinal Imaging system changes almost everything about how we conduct eye exams, and how we treat our patients year over year. The ability to track tiny changes in the eye over time gives us the ability to catch both eye diseases and systemic diseases early, to not only protect your vision but your life. Make your next Covid-Safe eye exam appointment today, either by calling our office at 818-891-6711 or using our online appointment system.