optomap Screening Reveals Cataract in Unsuspecting Doctor

While the exact causes of cataracts are still not entirely understood, annual eye exams are still important for the diagnoses and treatment of their formation.  Even with precautions and regular exams, by the year 2020, more than 30 million Americans are expected to develop cataracts.

Most cataracts occur gradually as we age and don’t become bothersome until after age 55. However, cataracts can also be present at birth (congenital cataracts) or occur at any age as the result of an injury to the eye (traumatic cataracts). Cataracts can also be caused by diseases such as diabetes or can occur as the result of long-term use of certain medications.  While typically forming in both eyes, cataracts may not grow at the same rate. They can develop slowly or quickly, or progress to a certain point, then not get any worse. As a result, one may not notice substantial changes in their sight. Sometimes they can significantly precede symptoms and can be so subtle as to go unnoticed without a comprehensive eye exam.

Read Dr. Young’s full testimonial by clicking on the image above.

When Vince Young, OD introduced Daytona, into his practice, he volunteered to be the imaging guinea pig while his staff trained on the device.  He was unnerved when he reviewed his images and somewhat uncertain about what he was seeing.  He knew what a posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC) looked like through the slit lamp but was surprised by what the optomap image revealed. Concerned, Young sent the image to his wife, Lindsey Brewer Young, OD. When she reviewed the image on her phone she immediately responded, questioning whose eye she was reviewing.  Learning it was her husband’s image she returned to the clinic, conducted a dilated exam, and confirmed that it was indeed a PSC that had been revealed in the optomap image.

At 40 years old, Dr. Young had no reason to suspect he would have cataracts as they are more typically associated with the elderly population. He also exhibited no symptoms or clouded vision.  A subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens and can be caused by a variety of circumstances such as systemic issues and some forms of medication. PSCs are also more difficult to remove due to adhesion of the cataract to the lens capsule as well as an increased risk of capsule rupture during removal. However, Young’s cataract surgery on both eyes was successful and today his vision is fine.

Young reports that while this initial training episode was distressing, the image itself has become an excellent tool in communicating the importance of optomap and comprehensive exams to his patients.  The image hangs in the exam room and Young and his staff frequently share the story. “If the doctor didn’t know he had a cataract, how would anyone else know?” they say, underscoring the value of retinal screening. The unusual story has assisted with the elevated level of acceptance the optomap imaging has had in Young’s office.

Young stresses that the exam experience has changed with optomap in an extremely valuable way when it comes to patient education. optomap enables him to help his patients understand exactly what is occurring in their eye, or even just to provide reassurance that all is well. “Even if there is no pathology, patients want me to take the images every year. They want to see what I see.”

Dr. Young’s story demonstrates that it is not only possible for practitioners to image themselves and discover retinal pathology but also discover if significant opacities reside in the media as well.  The importance of regular, annual comprehensive eye exams cannot be expressed enough in the discussion of eye and systemic health. Visit our website to learn more about the benefits of optomap in protecting your eye health and to find an eyecare provider who used optomap technology in their practice.

 

UWF Imaging Assists in Discovery and Follow-Up Care of Blunt Eye Trauma

When 29-year-old Emmy came to see Uwe Canting, OD at Canting Optometry in Cary, NC, she was relatively certain that her eye was fine, but wanted to seek reassurance from her optometrist.  Emmy had received a high-impact, full-blown soccer ball to the eye during a soccer match the preceding day and while having no symptoms other than slight discomfort from the bruising, she realized that the impact was severe enough that something unseen may have occurred.

Canting notes that Emmy presented with a black eye OD, while her visual acuity was 20/20.  “The eye itself looked fine. Other than the ecchymosis, there were no immediate concerns. There was no apparent subconjunctival hemorrhage and no recession of the iris.  But, while dilated, I could see instantly that it was not normal and decided to capture an optomap image.  Sure enough, the image clearly showed the whitish sheen of Commotio retinae superiorly temporal.”  Canting recalls, “The beauty of this situation was that I had her optomap image from her last visit and I could show her, clearly and tangibly, what had occurred in her eye.”

He adds that optomap has proved to be extremely valuable for patient education in a variety of scenarios because his patients love to be able to see what he sees and better understand their ocular health. “There is a wonderful opportunity to educate my patients when I use optomap to help explain the anatomy of their eye. If the patient is anxious, we may review the image right away. Otherwise I save it for the end of the exam. If there is an issue I can easily show them, better than it could be explained. Otherwise, it simply puts their mind at ease.” In Emmy’s case Canting could show her the pathology and stress why she should have further examination. Canting referred her immediately to the retinal specialist who reported later that he would be following Emmy’s condition to ensure that no subsequent issues developed.

 

optomap image of Emmy’s right eye, post trauma showing evidence of Commotio retinae

Commotio retinae is a term that describes the damage that occurs to the outer retinal layers, caused by shock waves that surge through the eye from the impact site of a blunt trauma, such as Emmy’s soccer ball incident.  Often the damage is recognized in the posterior pole but can also manifest, as it did for Emmy, in the periphery where it may be overlooked on a standard central pole retinal view.   While most cases of the condition resolve spontaneously within a month to six weeks, more severe cases can cause temporary or permanent vision loss.  Secondary issues can include choroidal neovascularization, retinal tears, detachment, zonular dehiscence, angle closure glaucoma and lens dislocation.

Rather than shrug off the soccer ball impact injury, Emmy was wise to seek a medical opinion and was fortunate that the injury was not more severe. Canting describes how optomap was a valuable tool in the discovery of the damage and the critical follow-up care that would give Emmy peace of mind.  “She called me later, to tell me how grateful she was that I had seen the issue and had referred her to the specialist for further evaluation.”

As May is Healthy Vision Month, let’s all use  Emmy’s story as a reminder to the importance of the often-overlooked recommendation encouraging protective eyewear for all ages in sports that could involve impact to the eye.

AAO recommends the following Daily Practices for eye health:

  • Regular eye exams to detect subtle changes in the eye
  • Wearing UV protection sunglasses
  • Wearing safety glasses while playing impact sports or doing work about the yard/house that may present hazards to the eye
  • Proper contact lens care
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • Cessation of smoking

Protect your vision – and visit an eyecare professional who uses optomap ultra-widefield retinal imaging in their practice!