Ultrasonography (ultrasound) makes it possible to visualize the structures of the eyeball, for example, when a standard ophthalmic examination is difficult or impossible to perform. It can happen in patients with very advanced cataracts or vitreous hemorrhage.
Ultrasound allows to assess the orbital muscles and fat, and helps to detect various eye diseases. It is indispensable knowledge before any ophthalmic surgery, as it helps to predict the outcome and the potential risks arising from a defective structure of the eye or its orbit.
Ocular ultrasound allows imaging of disorders in the orbit and inside the eye – in the vitreous body, retina and sclera. It is useful in the diagnosis of diseases such as:
- retinal detachment and retinoschisis,
- posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) and vitreous floaters,
- vitreous hemorrhage,
- inflammatory exudate,
- vitreomacular traction (VMT),
- choroidal melanoma and other neoplastic lesions,
- scleritis and equatorial staphyloma,
- swelling and drusen of the optic disc,
- choroidal detachment,
- changes in the lacrimal gland.
What happens during the Ocular Ultrasound
The sonographer applies contact gel to the eyelid or, if it is necessary, directly to the surface of the eye – in that case anaesthetic drops will be used first to numb the eye and minimize discomfort. Next an ultrasound transducer, which resembles a thick marker pen, is placed against the eyelid or against the surface of the eye.
The transducer generates harmless ultrasound, which, as it passes through the structures of the eye, reflects off the tissues it encounters. The result is displayed on the screen in the form of black and white images or graphs.
- Ultrasound is a contact examination, but it is completely painless.
- The entire examination takes about 30 minutes and requires no special preparation on the part of the patient.