Has your ophthalmologist recommended an ocular ultrasound? Ultrasounds use high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the body. Usually, eye doctors will order an eye ultrasound when they want to take a more detailed look inside the eye or diagnose a specific eye disorder.
To help you understand what you can learn from this test, let’s discuss why eye ultrasounds are ordered and what the process is like.
Why Eye Ultrasounds are Needed
An ophthalmologist can see a lot during a routine eye exam, but they can’t see everything. If you are having unexplained problems with your eyes, or if you recently sustained some type of trauma or injury to your eye, an ultrasound can give the doctor a deeper look. Moreover, some eye diseases can be diagnosed through an eye and orbit ultrasound.
The most common issues that an ultrasound can detect are:
-Foreign substances in the eye
-Tumors or neoplasms
-Cataracts or glaucoma
-Damaged tissue in the socket
-Swelling or cysts
-Problems with lens implants
What the Process is Like
There are two parts to ocular imaging. The A-scan takes measurements of your eye. The B-scan takes pictures of the back of the eye. Having both A and B scans takes about 15 to 30 minutes and gives your eye physician a complete look inside the eyes.
Eye and orbit ultrasounds are typically done in an office or outpatient imaging center and cause no pain. The test is quick and easy, though anesthetic drops are often use to improve comfort. The doctor will want the anesthetic worn off before you go home so that you don’t scratch your cornea.
Even though your eyes won’t be dilated for the ultrasound, your eyesight will be blurry, so come with a trusted person to drive you home. If you don’t have someone to bring with you, expect to wait around 30 minutes after the procedure to drive.
Discussing the Results with Your Doctor
It doesn’t take long to get the results from your scan. With the A-scan, your doctor will look for abnormal measurements that could indicate the presence of a tumor or foreign body. The B-scan shows structural abnormalities, though the doctor may have to run more tests to determine the cause. Your eye doctor will go over the results with you and discuss the best course of treatment, if there is one.
If you have been encouraged to get an ocular ultrasound, rest assured that it’s a quick and painless test that provides a clearer picture of what’s going on with your eyes. Hopefully, it will put you one step closer to getting a diagnosis.