Ophthalmoscopy is a visual test involving examination of the fundus. The fundus is the back part of the eye consisting of blood vessels, the optic disc and retina. This test is often a part of eye exams to test for eye diseases. It is usually conducted if the patient has a condition that affects his vascular tissues (blood vessels), such as hypertension or diabetes. Ophthalmoscopy is also called funduscopy or retinal examination.
Before the procedure, the doctor may use eye drops to dilate the your pupils. This makes them larger and easier to look through. The opthalmoscope will be used to look through the eyes.
There are three different types of examination:
- Direct examination – the patient will be seated in a chair usually in a dimly lit environment. The doctor will sit across and examine the eye with the opthalmoscope. The patient may be asked to look in different directions during the exam.
- Indirect examination – this test allows a clearer view of the structures at the back of the eye. The patient will be asked to lie or sit in a reclined position. The doctor will wear a bright light positioned on his forehead while holding a lens in front of the eye to examine it. Some pressure may be applied to the eye using a small, blunt probe.
- Slit-lamp examination –similar to the indirect examination but with a slight difference. The patient has slit-lamp placed in front of him. The lamp is designed so you can rest his chin and forehead. Then, a bright light will be pointed in front of your eye. A microscope will then be used to look at the back of your eye. Patients may be required to turn their eyes in different directions during the exam.
Conditions that can affect the blood vessels of the eye are usually monitored. Including:
- Damage to the optic nerve
- Infection of the retina
- Retinal tear or detachment
- Hypertension also known as high blood pressure
- Ophthalmoscopy helps in detection and symptom evaluation of major eye disorders such as those listed above. It can detect the early stages and effects of many serious diseases.