What To Expect
You have been referred to North Bay Vitreoretinal Consultants for evaluation of a vitreoretinal disorder. These disorders can take many forms and require different amounts of time for diagnostic testing, evaluation, and treatment. As a general rule, we would recommend allotting 3 hours for your initial visit although many evaluations are completed in less time. It is best to have a driver as both eyes will be dilated and certain treatments may temporarily interfere with vision.
The first step of your visit will be completing a medical history form if not done before arrival. A technician will then escort you to a testing room for initial measurements. Your physician may be called upon to double check the technician’s findings prior to dilation of your eyes. After discussion with the physician, additional imaging will likely be performed to evaluate your specific condition. Some of our imaging procedures are outlined below:
Spectral Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
This is a scan that uses light energy and the reflectance of the ocular tissue in the back of the eye to create a detailed image of retina and surrounding structures. This information can be viewed in a number ways to help understand structural abnormalities in the retina and adjacent tissues. To most patients the pictures appear like an “MRI of the retina”. The procedure is painless and easy to undergo.
OCT Angiography (OCTA)
This is a way of assessing blood flow in the back of the eye and involves the same principles as outlined above for OCT.
Fluorescein Angiography (FA)
For this procedure, a small amount of fluorescein dye is placed in an arm or hand vein and digital photographs are taken as the dye passes through the retinal blood vessels. This imaging technique is valuable in assessing retinal conditions that effect the retinal vasculature, such as diabetes and “wet” macular degeneration.
Indocyanine Green Angiography (ICGA)
This procedure is similar to FA, but uses a different dye (Indocyanine Green) to allow better visualization of deeper structures. It may be done in conjunction with FA.
At NBVC we also have digital wide-angle photography to photograph the more peripheral areas of the retina. Wide-angle angiography is also commonly performed if vascular disorders involve the peripheral retina.
Ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the retina and surrounding structures. It is often useful if the physician cannot see inside the eye because of media opacities such as an opaque cornea, dense cataract, or vitreous hemorrhage. It can also be used to assess and measure bumps or masses within the eye. Patients may be familiar with this technology as it is commonly used to view a fetus before birth.
Once the imaging procedures are complete, you will proceed to an examination room, when available, where you will meet with your physician and their assistant. The assistant will enter information in the electronic medical record system so that the physician can interact and converse directly with you. He or she will review the images with you and examine your eyes. Following a complete assessment of your condition, a diagnosis will be discussed and treatment options (if needed) will be reviewed. If in-office treatment is possible we will make every attempt to perform the initial treatment on the day of your visit. Sometimes additional laboratory testing, scans, or surgery will be needed and we will assist you in making these arrangements. Follow-up visits will be scheduled when the technician escorts you back to the appointment desk.
Our goal is to provide excellent care, utilizing all relevant technology, in an understanding and comfortable environment.