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Do I Need a Retinal Exam?

Annual eye exams are just one part of maintaining your vision. In addition to checking visual acuity, eye exams can also diagnose diseases of the eye, allowing your ophthalmologist to take the right steps. Retinal scans are one way to keep track of any changes in your vision or anatomy, so here’s what to know about them and how they can help.

What are retinal scans?

A retinal scan is a special type of eye imaging that focuses solely on the retina. It uses a laser tool to capture images of the back of your eye, which gives your ophthalmologist a much wider view of your retina and optic disk. This allows for better visualization of the retina so they can assess any concerns with it.

One misconception about retinal scans is that they are only an advanced type of eye exam. This isn’t the case. Retinal scans can be performed at the same time as a traditional eye exam at the recommendation of your ophthalmologist.

Who is a candidate for retinal scans?

Most eye issues don’t usually stem from the retina. That’s why retinal scans aren’t typically used. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not necessary. There are specific types of patients who do require retinal scans. That being said, you are considered a suitable candidate for a retinal scan if you have:

– Diabetes
– Macular degeneration
– Retinal toxicity
– Glaucoma

In some cases, an optometrist may resort to a retinal scan if they’re unable to diagnose why your vision is worsening.

Is a retinal scan really necessary?

Whether or not a retinal scan is necessary depends on the problem that’s being addressed. Retinal scans can be considered a niche, due to how specific an eye issue has to be.

Medical conditions like glaucoma, which is a series of issues within the optic nerve, is a problem that requires a retinal scan. One thing that’s worth mentioning is that retinal scans do have their limitations. They can’t pick up problems that are on the outer portions of the retina.

Visual disturbances, like cataracts or strabismus do not warrant a retinal scan. Retinal scans are performed based on your symptoms. In the worst case scenario, a retinal scan might be used to determine if you have retinoblastoma, which is a cancer commonly found in children.

Schedule an Appointment

Although retinal scans aren’t as common as traditional eye exams, that doesn’t mean they’re not useful.  If you’re in need of expert eye care, we invite you to contact our Hamilton office by calling or filling out our online form.

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