Louisiana Retina Center | Macular Degeneration Center of Acadiana
LA Retina Center

Retinal Exam Basics

A retinal examination — sometimes called ophthalmoscopy or funduscopy — allows your doctor to evaluate the back of your eye, including the retina, the optic disk and the underlying layer of blood vessels that nourish the retina (choroid). Usually before your doctor can see these structures, your pupils must be dilated with eyedrops that keep the pupil from getting smaller when your doctor shines light into the eye.

After administering eyedrops and giving them time to work, your eye doctor may use one or more of these techniques to view the back of your eye:

  • Direct exam. Your eye doctor uses an ophthalmoscope to shine a beam of light through your pupil to see the back of the eye. Sometimes eyedrops aren't necessary to dilate your eyes before this exam.
  • Indirect exam. During this exam, you might lie down, recline in a chair or sit up. Your eye doctor examines the inside of the eye with the aid of a condensing lens and a bright light mounted on his or her forehead. This exam lets your doctor see the retina and other structures inside your eye in great detail and in three dimensions.
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