Your First Retinal Exam
If you or your loved one are a new patient, you will need to fill out some paperwork to establish your chart. If you would like to do this in advance, the packet can be downloaded here. Please plan for a lengthy exam. Since many of our retinal patients are elderly, Eye Care Specialists attempts to perform all diagnostic tests and in-office treatment procedures on the day of an appointment in order to avoid the need for multiple visits. As a result, retinal subspecialty visits may take two to three hours. If you or the patient is diabetic, it may be necessary to bring a snack to the appointment.
Your eyes will be dilated at each visit so Dr. Westrich and Dr. Metelitsina can examine the retina. Since dilation makes your eyes sensitive to light you will need sunglasses and a driver. Please read below regarding further testing we may perform.
At each retinal exam, the eyes will be dilated. Dilating drops enlarge the pupil so Dr. Westrich or Dr. Metelitsina can use special instruments to see the inside of the eye including the retina and optic nerve. It usually takes 20 to 30 minutes for the pupil to enlarge from the eyedrops. When your eyes are dilated, they are sensitive to light and near vision can be fuzzy. Depending on the strength of dilating drops used, these effects can last for up to several hours. For these reasons, Eye Care Specialists recommends sunglasses and a driver for this exam.
As an ultrasound uses sound waves to capture images of the tissue, optical coherence tomography (OCT) uses light waves to take very high resolution images of the retina. While your eyes are dilated, you’ll place your head on a chin rest while a light beam obtains the images. This diagnostic test allows Dr. Westrich or Dr. Metelitsina to determine the thickness of the macula and the presence of such things as macular edema, cystic changes, and hemorrhage or fluid leakage.
During this test, fluorescein sodium dye is injected into a vein in your arm. A camera, equipped with special filters that highlight the dye, takes rapid sequence photographs of the fluorescein as it circulates through the blood vessels of the retina. The dye will leak into or stain abnormal blood vessels. If there is damage to the lining underneath the retina, or the appearance of abnormal new blood vessels growing beneath the retina, their precise location can be seen. The test confirms a diagnosis and helps determine the best treatment options. Post-treatment angiograms help to determine the effectiveness of treatment.