Information About Ophthalmoscopy | Ophthalmology


What is ophthalmoscopy?

Ophthalmoscopy (also known as fundoscopy) is a test that allows the doctor to see the back of the eye, called the fundus. The doctor can also look at other structures in the eye. He or she uses an ophthalmoscope and a magnifying glass called a light source to see inside the eye. This test is done as part of an eye exam. This can also be done as part of a routine physical exam

The fundus contains a lining of nerve cells called the retina. The retina finds images visible through the transparent outer covering of the eye called the cornea. The fundus also includes blood vessels and optic nerves.

Purpose of ophthalmoscopy

Ophthalmoscopy is done as part of a routine physical exam or a comprehensive eye exam. It is used to diagnose and evaluate the symptoms of eye diseases such as retinal detachment or glaucoma.

Ophthalmoscopy may also be done if you have signs or symptoms of high blood pressure, diabetes, or other conditions that affect your blood vessels.

Types of ophthalmoscopy

Direct ophthalmoscopy:  You sit in a dark room. The healthcare provider performs the test by shining a beam of light through the pupil with a device called an ophthalmoscope. The ophthalmoscope is about the size of a flashlight. It is lightweight and has a variety of small lenses that allow the provider to see the back of the eyeball.

Indirect ophthalmoscopy: You lie down or sit in a semi-reclined position. The provider holds the eye open by shining a very bright light into the eye using a device worn on the head. (The instrument looks like a minor light). The provider views the back of the eye through a lens closer to your eye. Some pressure is applied to the eye with a small blunt probe. You will be asked to look in different directions. This test is generally used to look for retinal detachment.

Slit-lamp ophthalmoscopy: You sit in a chair with the instrument placed in front of you. You are asked to keep your chin and forehead supported to keep your head stable. The provider uses the microscope part of the slit lamp and the small lens that is placed in front of the eye. The provider can be seen with this technique similar to indirect ophthalmoscopy but at higher magnification.

Risk factors

Ophthalmoscopy can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be painful. After turning off the light, you can see the following pictures. Those consequences should be avoided after blinking several times.

In rare cases, it may respond to eye drops. This may be due to:

  • Dry mouth
  • Redness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Narrow-angle glaucoma

Ask your doctor for more information about possible risks and side effects.

When is ophthalmoscopy used?

Your ophthalmologist may use ophthalmoscopy to detect eye diseases and conditions that affect the blood vessels. These situations include:

  • Damage to your optic nerves
  • Retinal tear or detachment
  • Glaucoma, which is high pressure in the eye
  • Macular atrophy, loss of vision in the middle of your visual field
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis, which is an infection of the retina
  • Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that spreads to the eyes
  • Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure
  • Diabetes

How should you prepare for the ophthalmoscopy?

Before performing ophthalmoscopy, your ophthalmologist may use eyedrops to dismantle your pupils. This makes them bigger and easier to see.

These eye drops make your vision blurry and sensitive to light for a few hours. You should bring sunglasses to your appointment to protect your eyes from bright light when your students are apart. And you must arrange for someone to drive you home after your exam. If you do work that requires a clear vision, such as operating heavy machinery, you should also arrange to take a day off.

If you are allergic to any medications, please inform your eye doctor. If you have an allergic reaction, they will avoid using eye drops.

Some drugs also interact with eye drops. It is important to inform your ophthalmologist about any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements.

Lastly, tell your ophthalmologist if you have a family history of glaucoma or glaucoma. Do not use eye drops if you know or suspect that you have glaucoma. The drops greatly increase the pressure in the eye.

What happens during the ophthalmoscopy?

Early in the process, your ophthalmologist can use eye drops to dismount your students. The dots can burn the eyes for a few seconds. They can also cause an unusual taste in your mouth.

Your doctor will examine the back of your eye after your students are separated. Three types of tests can be performed:

  • Live test
  • Indirect proof
  • Wedge lamp test

Your doctor may perform one or more of these tests to get a better view of your eye.

Live test

You sit in a chair. The lights in the room are off. Your ophthalmologist will sit next to you and use an ophthalmoscope to examine your eye.

An ophthalmoscope is a device that has a light and several small lenses. Your ophthalmologist can look through the lens to examine your eye. You may be asked to look in certain directions while they are testing.

Indirect proof

This test allows your ophthalmologist to see the structures at the back of your eye in more detail.

For this test, you will be asked to lie down or sit in a lying position. Your ophthalmologist will use a bright light placed on your forehead. Hold the lens in front of your eye and it will shine into your eye to help you examine it.

Your doctor may ask you to look in certain directions while examining the back of the eye. They also put some pressure on the eye with a small, blunt probe.

Slit-lamp test

This procedure gives your ophthalmologist the same impression as an indirect exam of your eye, but with higher magnification.

You sit with a device in front of you called a slit lamp. It has a place to relax on the chin and forehead. This will help keep your head stable during the test.

Once you are positioned, your ophthalmologist will shine a bright light in front of your eye. Then they use a microscope to see the back of your eye. You may be asked to look in different directions and use your finger to open your eye for a better view. They also put some pressure on the eye with a small, blunt probe.

How to prepare for the tests?

Indirect ophthalmoscopy and slit-lamp ophthalmoscopy are often performed after the eye drops have been placed to widen (dismount) the students. Direct ophthalmoscopy and slit-lamp ophthalmoscopy can be performed with or without dismantling the pupil.

You must inform your provider:

  • Allergic to any medication
  • Are taking any medication
  • You have a family history of glaucoma
  • Taste how it feels
  • Bright light can be uncomfortable, but the test is not painful

You can view the images briefly after the light shines in your eyes. With indirect ophthalmoscopy, the light is brighter, so the sensation seen after the images may be greater.

The pressure on the eye during indirect ophthalmoscopy can be a bit uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be painful. If eye drops are used, they can be seen briefly when put in the eyes. It may also have an unusual taste in your mouth.


Abnormal ophthalmoscopy results can be seen with any of the following conditions:

  • Viral inflammation of the retina (CMV retinitis)
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypertension
  • Acute loss of vision due to age-related macular degeneration
  • Ocular melanoma
  • Optic nerve problems

Separation of the light-sensitive membrane (retina) at the back of the eye from its supporting membranes (retinal tear or detachment).

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