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What is a Retinal Scan?

A retinal scan is a procedure performed by an optometrist to provide insight into the health of the eye and help diagnose retinal diseases. It is done using a digital retinal camera* to take high-resolution images of the fundus (also called retina) inside the eye.

A retinal scan also functions as a visual tool for our optometrists to explain certain ocular conditions to their patients, and as a way of monitoring changes more efficiently to provide an easy comparison between visits.

Who Needs a Retinal Scan?

Everyone can benefit from a retinal scan as it helps establish a baseline for optometrists to refer back to on subsequent visits. It helps greatly with people who are suffering from the following diseases and conditions.

Diabetes - If not controlled, this disease can cause vision issues due to damage to the blood vessels in the retina. A fundus photo allows the optometrist to visualise the extent of the damage more readily as well as grade the severity of the diabetic retinopathy.

Macular degeneration - The macula is part of your retina, located at the back of your eye and worsen as you age leading to blurry vision. There are two types of macular degeneration, wet and dry. Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and end up leaking fluid and blood into the macula causing damage. Dry macular degeneration is much more common and in the latter stages it causes the decay of the cells in the macula causing vision loss.

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What Can a Retinal Scan Detect?

A retinal scan is an important aspect in the treatment and prevention of many eye conditions as it can catch issues early. Early detection in eye health is crucial and can help save someone's vision.

More specifically, a retinal scan can help aid in detecting retinal imperfections, degeneration and damage and many vision threatening conditions. Some of these include:

  • Macular health (including Macular Degeneration)
  • Optic nerve health (including signs of optic neuritis and atrophy)
  • Blood vessel health (including hypertension, blockages & leakages)
  • Diabetic retinopathy (a complication from diabetes that causes vision loss due to damaged blood vessels in the eye)
  • Retinal tear and retinal detachment (often indicates an eye injury)

How is a Retinal Scan Done?

This is what you can expect when you have a retinal scan at Oscar Wylee.

  • A retinal camera takes a high-resolution image of the back of the eye and provides information on the health of your eyes.
  • As this is a camera, you will experience a bright flash while a photo is being taken of the back of your eyes. This is done one eye at a time.
  • The entire process should not take longer than a couple of minutes. You may find your technician deciding to take multiple photos of your retinas as sometimes the image quality can be poor e.g. if you've blinked as soon as the image is taken.
  • After the image is taken, you might experience an after-image of the bright flash that may last a couple of seconds. This is not harmful to your eyes and your eyes only need a short while to re-adjust to the light changes. Your technician may ask you to close your eyes to aid with the adjustment.
  • Once the imaging is complete, your optometrist will analyse your retinal photos and discuss any issues that may arise.

Does a Retinal Scan Require Dilation?

No. In most cases, an optometrist will be able to achieve a good quality scan undilated. However, your optometrist may recommend you return for a dilated fundus examination if they need to investigate the retina further at which they would redo a retinal scan after dilation for a better quality image.

Is a Retinal Test Painful or Harmful?

A retinal scan is a non-invasive procedure that is completely painless. Just think of it as getting your picture taken.

The process is not harmful to your eyes in any way and is an important part of your eye health care.

When is a Retinal Scan Necessary?

We recommend that everyone should have an eye test with an optometrist at least once every 2 years. Retinal scans are an important part of eye care as they can catch eye conditions and diseases early.

Check with a store near you.

Contact a store near you to find out whether they have Retinal Scan testing available.

All major health funds accepted in store.

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retinal scan

Free Retinal Scans with Oscar Wylee*

Oscar Wylee offers bulk billed eye tests, so there are no out-of-pocket expenses for eligible Medicare card holders.

*Not available at all stores. Usage criteria is at the discretion of the optometrist.