Often times, it can be difficult for patients to understand what the optometrist is talking about because they cannot see what she sees when looking inside the eye. With a retinal camera, photos are taken of the back of the eye so that patients can see what doctor sees. This brings a greater understanding to patients, and it also provides a baseline photo. If things start to change, doctor has a photo to which she can refer. Even microscopic changes can be noted and documented.
Above is an example photo of Jamie Brandon's retinas. The dark red point is called the macula. This is the dead-center back of the eye where the highest concentration of cones and rods lie. In conditions like macular degeneration, we begin to see whitish flecks called drusen that cover the macula and disturb vision. The yellow orb is the optic nerve. This transmits all the signals taken in by the retina to the brain. We can look here for early detection of diseases like glaucoma. The blood vessels stem from the optic nerve and supply nutrients to the cells in the retina. Diseases like diabetes can cause hemorrhaging of these blood vessels. It is extremely important to keep a diabetic's blood sugar under control to protect his or her sight. These retinal photos help us diagnose and prevent the progression of many diseases that can cause blindness.
Unless there is a pre-existing condition, insurance tends to let the patient cover the cost of the retinal photo. There is a $20.00 fee for a screening photo. Medical photos cost more because they are a higher definition with extra layers to the photo. Insurance covers these so long as the patient has already met his or her deductible.
We can take retinal photos on the day of your exam or at any time. Feel free to pop in, and the staff would love to take your photos. Doctor will look at them to ensure all is healthy. If you have any questions, please give us a call.