In 2002 Regional Eyecare Center became the first office in southeast Missouri to offer the Optomap. In fact, at that time our office was one of less than 200 sites in the world where patients had the opportunity to experience wide field retinal imaging without the use of dilation. Over the last 9 years this technology has assisted our doctors in detecting problems such as retinal detachments, diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Earlier this month we installed the high definition version of the Optomap to increase our ability to care for our patients.
Dilation has traditionally been a dreaded part of the eye examination process. It causes light sensitivity and a temporary decrease in the ability to see things clearly especially at near. For most these symptoms are worst in the first couple of hours and the effects fade over the next six hours. Most patients are back to their normal activities the following day but occasionally some will complain of mild symptoms for up to 24 hours. The dilated examination lasts only a few minutes but does involve uncomfortably bright light that allows your doctor to view the entire retina.
The Optomap examination has some distinct advantages. It is very fast – each image is obtained by two lasers that safely and simultaneously scan up to 80% of the retina in less than a second. Your doctor can compare these images with previous or future retinal images to detect changes in appearance over time. There are no lasting side effects of the Optomap examination either. There is a brief afterimage that is similar to what one would experience having a snapshot taken. There is no significant recovery time and patients are free to return to work or outdoor activities immediately. Even though dilation allows the entire retina to be visualized it only allows about 10-12% of the retina to be seen with any particular view.
The HD Optomap experience is very similar for our patients as the original Optomap but with greatly increased resolution. The scanner itself looks a bit different and the positioning is slightly altered but it still remains a quick and comfortable procedure. The HD Optomap was featured recently on the Dr. Oz show. Ask if the high definition Optomap can be used during your next examination at our office.
Scott McDougal, O.D.