Using Cutting Edge Eyecare Technology: Dr. James Williams of Williams Eye Care, Plano, Fairview and Frisco, Texas tells us about Optos Optomap technology
Optomap use, dilation and technology
Q. Please describe what the Optomap is used for and give a basic sense of how it works.
A. The optomap is a laser that takes a digital image of the inside of the patient’s eye. When you look at a person’s pupil normally you only see about 10% of the eye. Eye doctors have two choices to get an adequate view of the inside of the eye. One way is to dilate the eye, and the other way is to use the Optomap. Using either dilation or the Optomap, an eye doctor can see about 80% of the eye. Normally people don’t want to have their eyes dilated because it is uncomfortable and inconvenient. .When we use the optomap, the patient doesn’t have to be dilated. It’s a very simple procedure with no discomfort whatsoever. The Optomap gives me a great view inside the eye, without any drops or temporary vision impairment. It’s a great tool for imaging the eye.
Q. What components, or how much, of the retina does this look at and give imaging for?
A. In the case that the eye is not dilated or scanned, I can only see about 10%. You can’t tell if the eye is healthy if you can’t see it. I use the analogy of a visit to the dentist with my patients. When you go to the dentist you don’t have to have an x-ray of your teeth, but you get a much more comprehensive view of what’s going on with your teeth when you do. With the optomap you get a much wider field of view of the retina. So when you look inside the eye you can see if there is something out of the ordinary.
Eye Diseases and Disorders
Q. What types of eye diseases and disorders can be discovered?
A. The most common things are signs of diabetes, a retinal hole, a tear, or a growth. We can also see signs of hypertension and anything in the vasculature that is out of order in the eye.
Patient Experience Using the Optomap Technology
Q. Can you describe what your patients experience in your offices in Plano, Fairview and Frisco when using the Optomap?
A. The Optomap experience is fairly seamless. We place the patients head against a machine that has a little opening in it. The patient fixates on a fixed target, and we align the eye. Once the eye is aligned there’s a flash of light and the optomap takes a laser image. We do one eye at a time.There’s no pain or discomfort involved in the procedure. I haven’t had anyone tell me the experience was uncomfortable during their examination in my Plano, Fairview or Frisco offices.
Q. To what patients do you recommend using the Optomap?
A. The Optomap can be used for anyone. In order for me to do a proper examination, I have to be able to see the eye. So I strongly recommend to all of my patients to either dilate or scan their eyes. A lot of people don’t like the process of being dilated. I see this in all three of my offices, in Plano, Frisco and Fairview. Having your eyes dilated involves drops in the eye, a half hour wait, and then you can’t do close work for 3-4 hours. The Optomap eliminates all of that discomfort and inconvenience. With the optomap after a few moments of a painless and easy procedure you get a good image of the eye. The optomap is a great screening device that allows me to see the eye without dilation, and it’s very useful and important for my patients who won’t have their eyes dilated.
Q. Do the patients that walk through your doors day in and day out, appreciate the upgrade in
A. My patients love to have it done, they definitely appreciate it. Many people refuse to be dilated. Also with the Optomap, I can sit with my patients in one of my offices in Plano, Fairview or Frisco and we can look at the image of their eyes together.
Q. How does this technology improve comprehensive eye exams compared to the days when we did not have Optomap Retinal Imaging?
A. It’s important to understand that the Optomap is an alternative procedure to dilation, it’s not better. Sometimes you still need to dilate the eye to see a different view that you can’t get with the optomap. One good thing about the optomap is that you can save the image of the eye, and you can email it to the patient’s doctor. Also we can keep it and use it to compare. For example, if we are watching something to make sure it doesn’t change, like a growth, we can compare all the images from all the visits side by side. This ability is a big advantage for the Optomap. With dilation you are relying on the person who is looking, not on an objective photo.
Diagnosis made using the Optomap
Q. Can you share a particular story in which, by using the Optomap, you were able to detect and treat a disease that would have otherwise gone undetected?
A. Once, in my Plano office, when using the Optomap I found a retinal detachment, and once in my Fairview office I found a malignant melanoma, which is life threatening, and it was a good thing I found it. I would have made these diagnoses using dilation, but there are many people who don’t want their eyes to be dilated. For those patients, these types of diseases would go undiagnosed.