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Specializing in

Diseases &


of the

Retina Vitreous

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Common Diagnostic Imaging Used by Retina Specialists

Click on the image above to see a video about Fundus Photography

Click on the image above to see a video about Optical Coherence Tomography

Click on the image above to see a video about Ultrasound

Digital fundus photography is often used to photograph any abnormalities in order to carefully study any change in the appearance of a patient’s retina and macula over time. An angiogram is a type of photograph that allows a physician to visualize the blood vessels in the back of your eye as well as associated abnormalities, such as the growth of abnormal new blood vessels (neovascularization), which is the most common cause of vision loss in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). An angiogram is performed by taking photographs of the macula and retina after the injection of a food dye, called fluorescein, into a peripheral vein, generally in the patient’s arm or hand. The dye circulates through the blood vessels, including the eye, and is eliminated from the body over a few days through the urine. You should expect that your urine will appear yellow/orange over the course of several days, as the dye is eliminated. It is regarded as a safe test; however, as with the administration of any medication or drug, a small percentage of patients may have allergic symptoms, such as itching and rash. More severe allergy occurs very rarely. Indocyanine green (ICG) angiography is a less frequently used technique that may supplement standard fluorescein angiography (FA).


Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a relatively new imaging technique that was developed as a collaborative effort between Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mass. Eye and Ear, and Harvard University. It is now used by ophthalmologists throughout the world to create cross-sectional images of the front or back of a patient’s eye, similar to the images created by computed tomography (‘CAT’ or ‘CT scan’). These detailed images of ocular structures provide assist your physician in a thorough examination.

OCT imaging may be performed by your retina specialist in an office setting at the time of your visit. It is a rapid, non-invasive test, similar to the experience of having a photograph taken. OCT is invaluable in the diagnosis and monitoring of neovascular AMD over time, and your retina specialist will likely perform repeated measurements in order to follow the progress of your treatment.

Ultrasound is a non-invasive test and is not associated with pain or side effects. It is most often used to diagnose eye pathology including tumors, especially when visualization to the interior structures is poor due to media opacities. Mass. Eye and Ear/Harvard Department of Ophthalmology is equipped with state-of-the-art technology for ophthalmic ultrasound. We are among the few places in North America that haveultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM) and a dedicated, certified technician. UBM has a very high resolution (2 to 60 microns) compared to conventional ultrasound (300 to 600 microns), which allows your physician to study anterior eye structures very closely.

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