Duration of an ocular fundus examination
An ocular fundus examination is part of the ophthalmological routine and does not take much time. However, since the pupils of the eyes must first be artificially opened with anticholinergic eye drops before the actual examination, it is necessary to allow a little more time. The patient is often administered the drops by a nurse and is asked to sit down for a few more minutes until the eye drops take full effect and the pupils are completely open.
Then the actual examination can begin. Depending on which type of examination the doctor chooses and what he considers necessary, the eye examination takes between five and ten minutes. Of course, the ophthalmologist may find abnormalities that make further examinations necessary, which may take longer. Once the examination of the ocular fundus is completed, the patient can in principle leave immediately. However, he should bear in mind that the pupil-dilating effect of the eye drops can continue for up to five hours and that he is therefore not allowed to actively participate in public traffic during this time.
Which changes can be examined by mirroring the fundus of the eye?
Important examples: and other abnormalities and diseases. – Glaucoma (pressure damage to the optic nerve head)
- Congestive papilla (swelling of the optic nerve head due to an increase in intracranial pressure)
- Changes due to diabetes mellitus (diabetes)
- Changes due to high blood pressure
- Vascular occlusions (vein occlusions, artery occlusions)
- Retinal holes, tears
- Tumours in the eye
- Retinal detachment
Ocular fundus examination for children
In healthy children born in the normal way, an examination of the eye fundus is usually not necessary. However, this is different for premature babies or babies who had complications at birth and who subsequently needed artificial respiration for a while. The reason is that the small blood vessels of the retina of the eye have only fully formed at the end of the ninth month of pregnancy and are therefore able to supply the retina with blood and thus oxygen in an optimal way.
If a child is now born too early and may also need artificial respiration, an excessive formation of blood vessels in the retina can occur, known as retinopathy of prematurity. The more immature the premature baby is, the greater the risk. A premature retinopathy of prematurity can be diagnosed by means of an ophthalmological examination in which the doctor checks the condition of the retina and assesses the development and formation of blood vessels.
If a baby is born too early and consequential damage to the fundus of the eye is to be expected, several check-ups are immediately arranged in which the fundus of the eye must be checked. The procedure for the examination is the same as for adults, with the only problem that the little ones cannot cooperate. Therefore the doctor has to open the eyelids himself and keep them open during the whole examination in order to be able to apply the eye drops and to look at the fundus of the eye with the magnifying glass.
There are special eyelid locks for this purpose, which push the eyelids apart like a kind of pliers and hold them in this position. Since the baby cannot look in different directions on purpose either, but this would be necessary for the doctor to be able to see the entire retina, especially the outer areas, he uses a kind of small hook with which he presses the baby’s eye slightly in the appropriate direction. The whole procedure is painless for the child, thanks to local anaesthetic eye drops, but it is still unpleasant and, above all, unpleasant for the parents to watch. The check-ups are continued until the doctor is of the opinion that the growth of the blood vessels has been completed and there is no longer any risk of developing a premature baby retinopathy.