Ocular ultrasound

What is ocular ultrasound?

An ocular ultrasound is a test performed to observe the eye area, its size and structure and to rule out possible abnormalities or pathologies. There are two types of ocular ultrasound:

  • One-dimensional: the patient sits in a chair, places the chin on a support surface and looks straight ahead. A probe is placed against the front of the eye and a cup filled with fluid is placed against the eye.
  • Two-dimensional: the patient is seated and the specialist may ask the patient to look in several directions with the eyes closed. A gel is applied to the skin of the eyelids and then the two-dimensional ultrasound probe is placed gently against the eyelids.

What does it consist of?

It is a diagnostic method that is performed in the office of the specialist in Ophthalmology and in which the eye is desensitized by anesthetic drops to place the ultrasound transducer against the front surface of the eye. Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves that travel through the eye and the reflections of these waves forming an image of the ocular structure. It takes approximately 15 minutes.

Why is it performed?

Patients suffering from cataracts or other ocular pathologies may be good candidates to undergo an ocular ultrasound to evaluate the condition of the eye. A two-dimensional ultrasound measures the eye to determine the appropriate power of a lens implant prior to cataract surgery, in addition to examining the inside of the eye or the space behind the eye. The test can diagnose pathologies such as retinal detachment, tumors and other eye disorders.

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An ocular ultrasound is a diagnostic method performed to rule out eye pathologies.

Preparing for an ocular ultrasound

An ocular ultrasound is a diagnostic test that does not require prior preparation by the patient. The patient comes to the consultation and the specialist performs the examination in about 15 minutes. Subsequently, the patient can return to his or her daily activities as normal.

What does the examination feel like?

The first step before performing the ocular ultrasound is to anesthetize the eye, so the patient does not feel anything during the examination. The gel used allows the specialist to perform the test without the patient feeling any discomfort, so it is not a painful method.

Subsequently, the eye will regain its sensitivity about 15 minutes after the application of the anesthetic gel. And, likewise, the patient will not feel any discomfort, although it is important that the patient does not rub the eye to avoid scratching the cornea.

Significance of abnormal results

An ocular ultrasound may show the existence of ocular pathologies and lesions such as:

  • Bleeding in the vitreous that fills the back of the eye, a pathology known as vitreous hemorrhage.
  • Retinal cancer
  • Tissue damage or lesions in the bony cavity that surrounds and protects the eye.
  • Foreign bodies
  • Separation of the retina from the back of the eye, also known as retinal detachment.
  • Swelling or inflammation