Common Tests for Retinal Conditions

Submitted by Elman Retina Group on November 14, 2020

Common Tests for Retinal Conditions in BaltimoreAt Elman Retina Group, our retinal experts use state-of-the-art, non-invasive diagnostic testing to confirm or rule out problems affecting your retina. The information we gather during diagnostic testing can also help guide us as we manage pre-existing conditions impacting your retina and macula. Take a moment to learn about three common tests we use to diagnose retinal conditions.

Fluorescein Angiography

Fluorescein angiography provides a good look at the blood vessels and other structures in the back of your eye, and helps us evaluate the circulation in your retina. It is useful in diagnosing diseases like diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, macular edema, retinal vein occlusion and macular pucker. Fluorescein angiography also helps us monitor eye disease over time and track any changes.

During the test, your eyes are dilated and a colored dye is injected into a vein in your arm. The dye circulates throughout your body, eventually reaching your eyes. This is completely painless and only takes a few minutes. As the dye travels through the blood vessels of your retina, the blood vessels fluoresce, or shine brightly. When this occurs, we take special photographs to analyze for signs of leakage or the presence of new, abnormal blood vessels. Our findings help clarify the best course of action, whether it’s a “watch and wait” approach, injections or laser treatment.

Optical Coherence Tomography & Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) uses light waves to capture images of your retina. OCT helps us diagnose macular swelling, macular holes and epiretinal membranes. It also helps us determine the severity of diseases like age-related macular degeneration and monitor how eyes respond to any ongoing treatment.

OCT is completely non-invasive; your eyes may be dilated to make it easier to look at your retina. During the test, you simply sit in front of the OCT machine while the equipment scans your eye for about five to 10 minutes. The machine produces ultra-precise images that allow us to evaluate each layer of your retina.

At each Elman Retina Group office, we also have the newest, state-of-the-art OCT machines that have the capability to do the latest advancement in retinal imaging: optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA). Using OCT light waves, OCTA can evaluate the blood vessels in the retina without requiring the use of an injection of dye (such as with fluorescein angiography). There are not many machines like this yet, and more research still needs to be done to really understand the uses and advantages of OCTA. However, for macular degeneration and other macular diseases, OCTA is already proving itself extremely useful.

Amsler Grid Test

The Amsler grid test assists us in evaluating the clarity of your central vision and detecting diseases affecting your macula. We will ask you to look at the grid at a normal reading distance with one eye covered; then, we will have you repeat the process with the other eye. As you look at the grid, you will note whether any lines are blurry, wavy, distorted or missing. These abnormalities suggest problems with your macular function.

If you are experiencing visual symptoms that could indicate a retinal problem, Elman Retina Group is here for you. Call or email us to request a consultation with our retinal specialists.