Maybe You see a blurry floater? Maybe You don’t.

The Importance of Optos Widefield Imaging.

Lately we have had a few patients come to the clinic and our Optos Widefield Image Scanner made it possible to diagnose a sight or life-threatening condition at first glance. 

Immediately, I flashback to fall of 2021– 

A young lady came in for blurry vision, wanting new glasses. Thankfully, our highly skilled medical technician Alyssa C is a big believer in Optos imaging for all patients, so even before I saw her, this patient had a non-dilated image taken on her eyes. Alyssa put the images on the video screen in the exam room alongside her new glasses measurements I was going to work on.

As I walked into her exam, I looked at the internal nerve and retina pictures and immediately saw a problem. Her blurry vision wasn’t from just bad glasses, but a swollen Optic Nerve (papilledema), which indicated a need for referral for an immediate MRI of her brain to see where the pressure behind her eye was coming from. She was diagnosed that evening with a benign large brain tumor and moved into neurology care. Following up by phone, she is happy and healthy now after her brain surgery.  Her vision returned to normal. Our whole clinic staff rejoiced at her good news! 

That case stands out to me because a life was at stake—but every few months we have patients with holes and tears in their retina and the Optos widefield image catches it nearly every time.  The 200° view of the scanner finds tears of the retina that we sometimes do not even have any symptoms for. 

Common symptoms of retina tears are sudden flashes of light, an increase in floaters or sudden cloudiness in the vision of one eye, and more seriously, a loss of a portion of the visual field of one eye. But some tears/holes don’t have all these noticeable signs—they just allow the retina to slowly tear, separate, then detach, which causes a more permanent loss of vision of that eye. 

Just this past week, I had an immediate referral to the retina surgeon as our patient’s sudden retinal tear caused him to come see us, thinking he had an eye infection making his vision blurry. Instead, we saw on the Optos image a large tear which was increasing in size to alter his vision. Immediate surgery fixed it and saved his sight. 

Another patient this same week came in for routine care wanting new glasses. No other odd symptoms lately, but we saw a larger hole/tear in a less noticeable place inside the eye. After laser treatment to that area, he will be fine. 

(photo: a healthy eye image)

We are so thankful for help from the Optos Retinal Widefield Images to find, diagnose, and refer to the surgeons for treatment. Our patients count on us and earning their trust and living up to all our medical responsibilities is our highest priority.