Michael Cole, OD, Child and Family Eye Care Center
One of the most important reasons for annual eye examinations is the assessment of eye health. Because our vision is so precious, it is imperative that we ensure the normal working condition of our eyes. Many ocular health conditions have no immediate symptoms or blurry vision, and may progress to advanced stages before we are aware without normal monitoring. Most sight-threatening conditions occur inside the eye and are therefore not visible. As such, a thorough and comprehensive examination that includes an internal eye health evaluation is essential.
As we assess the internal portions of the eye, we are very limited by the pupil restricting our view of internal structures. In our office we have previously employed retinal cameras to capture narrow images of the optic nerve and macula, but still needed to dilate in order to view peripheral portions of the retina.
We have recently added Optos imaging to our practice, which is the first of its kind in Cache Valley. Rather than using traditional camera optics that are limited in field of view, the Optos uses mirrors and lasers to increase field of view. Optos imaging allows us to capture nearly the entire retina in a single snapshot. In many cases with this new technology, the Optos can be used in place of dilation during annual examinations. This option has several advantages.
First, Optos imaging creates a record that we can reference in the future. Often when adverse health findings are found, it is difficult to determine the stage or course of the problem with no prior documentation. Was the diagnosis present previously? Was it potentially missed in the past? Did the finding simply not make it into the chart for some reason? Has it changed recently? It is very reassuring to have images to quickly reference in these cases. It allows us to superimpose sequential images to better identify changes or progression in disease states, and track those over time. Due to the limited field of view with traditional retinal cameras, some internal eye health situations are only able to be imaged and properly documented with the Optos.
Another advantage of Optos imaging is the ability to be very thorough with our examinations of eye health. With traditional dilations we can view the entire retina, but only small pieces at a time. Our field of view with traditional instrumentation is very small and the examination must be done in piecemeal fashion, with the patient looking in different directions to view each individual portion of the internal eye. While this method has some advantages, it sometimes leads to inaccuracies or incomplete examinations. Wide field imaging allows us to be confident that no areas are missed, and enables the examiner to view everything at once, minimizing errors or omissions.
It is hard to ignore the convenience factor of Optos imaging as well. Dilation is an essential tool but is not without side effects. After dilation, the eyes are extremely light sensitive, and in most cases blurry, especially up close. The effects of dilating drops last for hours after their usefulness has concluded. While these effects are temporary, the hassle of dilation deters many from receiving the level of care that they need and deserve. The Optos provides a fast alternative that allows the prompt return to normal activities without sacrificing quality of care.
For those who are eligible, we are pleased to offer Optos imaging to improve our quality of care and increase convenience for our patients.
For questions regarding our practice, or to schedule an appointment please give us a call at 435-363-2980.