One-of-a-kind look inside the eye's retina

One-of-a-kind look inside the eye's retina
Published: Dec. 11, 2012 at 3:06 PM CST
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The retina is the part of the eye that controls how we see the world around us.  It also serves another role, by allowing eye doctors to look inside of it like never before, detecting underlying health problems.  We found out how the Optomap Daytona laser scan is now being used locally to see what is going on beyond the eye.

Cheree Burnette is undergoing the Daytona laser scan at Vision Source in Sulphur. Burnette is getting a panoramic view of her retina, after a bout with blurred vision.  "About six months ago, I had a problem that caused me to have distorted vision and came in pretty quickly after that and they were able to tell me exactly what I had," she said.

The diagnosis was a retinal vein occlusion or a stopped-up vein in her eye

Optometrist Robert Janot performs retinal scans on all patients, to check their general eye health, but it has the power to see much more than what is on the surface.  "The laser uses a raster that spins at 40,000 revolutions per minute that actually focuses the light from the laser into the focal point of the eye, giving us that unparalleled view of the retina," said Dr. Janot.

It only takes about a quarter of a second to get the images from the laser retinal scan. It is as simple as pressing your face against the computer and looking inside at the target.  "When the light flashed, it was so bright that you had to blink," said Dr. Janot, "as you blinked, we caught a shadow of your lashes."

The auto fluorescents penetrate deep into the retina to detect if the cells are dying. The blood vessels in the eye are the only in the body that can be seen in a living and natural state, aiding in diagnosing other diseases.  "We're really privileged to be able to find early systemic diseases through the eye, such as diabetes, high blood pressure," said Dr. Janot.

Burnette is seeing close to 20/20 again and now knows it was her heart causing the problems seen through her eye.  "I had undiagnosed pre-hypertension, which we believe was the cause," she said, "We take care of all the other body parts, but we forget about our heart, which is our most important and then our eyesight.  I think for me, I took it for granted."

There are only three Optomap Daytona lasers across Louisiana and Vision Source in Sulphur has the only in the region. All of the patient's images are stored through future visits for comparison and diagnostic purposes.

Copyright KPLC 2012.  All rights reserved.