When you decide to go for an annual eye exam, you might encounter what is called a digital retinal imaging. It is a high-resolution imaging system that takes detailed photos of the inside of your eye. A retinal exam helps Arizona ophthalmologists assess your retina’s health and detect various eye health conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, macular degeneration, and more.
Finding retinal disorders before it gets too serious is crucial to prevent future complications associated with eye conditions, which includes vision loss.
Early Detection is Key
Rid yourself of worries by getting a comprehensive eye exam, which includes a retinal exam. Arizona ophthalmologists recommend this to their patients because it allows them to detect numerous eye diseases at an early stage. These conditions can affect not only your eyes and your vision, but may also affect your overall health.
With digital retinal imaging, your eye doctor can easily find signs and symptoms and pinpoint which exact disease you may have, as these telltale signs usually appear in the retina first. In most cases, patients do not experience pain or other symptoms, so an eye exam is the only way to detect an eye condition before it gets too complicated.
So what exactly can a retinal exam detect? Here are some of the eye conditions that Arizona ophthalmologists can spot thanks to digital retinal imaging systems:
- Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – A common eye condition, macular degeneration is usually caused by a leaking eye fluid or bleeding at the back of the eye. It is known to lead or cause central vision loss.
- Cancer – Even the retina is not excused from developing cancer, and a dark spot at the back of the eye may signify melanoma, which grows unnoticed within the retina.
- Diabetic Retinopathy – Diabetes can affect the blood vessels of the retina, causing swelling and leakage, or the creation of new blood vessels. If not detected in its earlier stage, this can cause blindness.
- Glaucoma – When there is pressure against the optic nerve, as well as compression of the eye’s blood vessels, it may mean glaucoma. This disease can cause permanent and irreversible vision loss.
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) – Signs of high blood pressure often appear first in the eye. Indicators can include narrowing of the blood vessels, spots on the retina, or bleeding in the back of the eye.
- Retinal Detachment – Retinas can lift or pull away from the wall of the eye. If not properly treated, this can cause permanent vision loss.
In addition to helping detect diseases early, retinal images provide a permanent and historical record of changes in your eye. Images can be compared side-by-side, year after year, to discover even subtle changes and help monitor your health.
Retinal images also make it easier for your doctor to educate you about your health and wellness. The two of you can review your images together, and your doctor can point out the various structures of the retina and explain treatment options for any conditions revealed by the pictures. The more you know about eye diseases, the more likely you will understand and follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment and prevention.