In most cases the retina can be visualized during a complete ophthalmic examination. In patients in which this is not possible, our ophthalmologists can obtain a detailed picture of the retina using ocular ultrasonography.
Ocular ultrasound is not painful and most patients do not require a sedative. Topical anesthetic is applied to the surface of the eye, and ultrasound gel is then applied to the eyelids. The ultrasound probe is then placed on the outside of the eyelids and a detailed picture of the interior of the eye is obtained.
The most important purpose of ocular ultrasound is to detect a retinal detachment. This is critical prior to cataract surgery, since patients with retinal detachments are not good candidates for this procedure. There are conditions besides cataracts in which the retina cannot be visualized, and in these cases, ocular ultrasound can be a valuable tool in determining whether or not a retinal detachment is present. This is crucial in determining treatment and prognosis.