Technology Helps Early Detection of Eye Disease 

Early detection when examining your eyes reduces your risk for glaucoma, diabetes, tumors, or strokes. At Eye Society, we use both Retinal Imaging and Optical Coherence Tomography for early detection. These technologies are like an x-ray and MRI for the eye! Retinal imaging scans the tissue on the surface of your retina, helping us see signs of heart disease or hypertension. Optical Coherence Tomography analyzes beneath the surface, looking at structures like the optic nerve and macula. These are critical in detecting signs of glaucoma or macular degeneration.

Why must we use technology for early detection?

Your retina (located in the back of your eye) is the only place in the body where blood vessels can be seen directly. This means that in addition to eye conditions, signs of other diseases (for example, stroke, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes) can also be seen in the retina.

Early signs of these conditions can show on your retina long before you notice any changes to your vision or feel pain. While eye exams generally include a look at the front of the eye to evaluate health and prescription changes, a thorough screening of the retina is critical to verify that your eye is healthy.

How does an optomap ultra-widefield retinal image work?


Getting an optomap image is fast, painless and comfortable. Nothing touches your eye at any time. It is suitable for the whole family. To have the exam, you simply look into the device one eye at a time (like looking through a keyhole) and you will see a comfortable flash of light to let you know the image of your retina has been taken.

Under normal circumstances, dilation drops might not be necessary, but your eye care practitioner will decide if your pupils need to be dilated depending on the health of your eyes.  The image capture takes less than a half second and they are available immediately for you to see your own retina.  You see exactly what your eye care practitioner sees - even in a 3D animation.

Early signs of disease can be present in the periphery of your retina and remain undetected for a long time. By using the optomap ultra-widefield retinal image, it captures more than 80% of your retina in a single image while traditional imaging methods typically only show 15% of your retina at one time.

optomap retinal image

optomap viewing angle compared to traditional viewing angle

Frequently Asked Questions about Retinal Imaging
Why is a retinal exam so important?

Some of the first signs of diseases such as stroke, diabetes and even some cancers can be seen in your retina, often before you have other symptoms.  An optomap makes it easier to see them.

Is an optomap safe for children?

Yes.  In fact, many vision problems begin in early childhood, so it's important for children to receive quality routine eye care.

What is an optomap?

The optomap is a digital image of the retina produced by Optos scanning laser technology.  It is the only technology that can capture 82% view of your retina at one time.

Does it hurt?

No.  It is completely comfortable and the scan takes less than a second.

How will optomap benefit me?

The ultra-widefield optomap may help your eye doctor detect problems more quickly and easily.  Unlike traditional retinal exams, the optomap image can be saved for future comparisons.

How often should I have an optomap?

This is a decision that should be made by your doctor.  However, it is generally recommended that you have an optomap each time you have an eye exam.

Are there side effects?

optomap images are created by non-invasive, low-intensity scanning lasers.  No adverse health effects have been reported in over 65 million sessions.


What about more difficult to detect eye diseases?

Optical Coherence Tomography is used to analyze tissue beneath the surface, and is like an MRI for the eye. With OCT, we can detect:


Often called the “silent thief of sight,” it affects peripheral vision without warning.


Diabetic retinopathy
It is estimated that one-third of adults with diabetes are affected by this disease, which may cause blind spots and /or floaters. 


Macular degeneration
A rapidly progressing eye disease that often goes undetected, it is a leading cause of central vision loss in people over 60.

How does Optical Coherence Tomography work?

By analyzing the tissue beneath the surface , OCT is an assessment beyond conventional eye exams. Eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy are able to be detected using the technology. An OCT scan enables an in-depth assessment of the retina to detect warning signs before they affect vision. Similar to an ultrasound or MRI examination, an OCT scan is a quick, easy, and comfortable experience. Images are available for review in less than a minute. 


Structures in the back of the eye like the retina, macula, and optic nerve head play a vital role in keeping eyes healthy. An OCT scan allows your doctor to look below the surface to detect signs of potentially serious eye diseases early – and determine the best course of care for you.


caption of eye window to health

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