Hi-tech eye exam can reveal serious illnesses

Keeping up with your eye exams, especially for children, can help prevent long-term eye issues...
Keeping up with your eye exams, especially for children, can help prevent long-term eye issues and even behavior issues. (Source: WMBF News)
Updated: Nov. 6, 2018 at 4:37 AM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A high tech eye test that diagnoses traditional eye problems including glaucoma and cataracts is now helping doctors detect serious health issues.

Three years ago, Allie Mateus went to the optometrist with pain in her eyes.

“Something was strange in my eye and I had never felt the pain before so I really wanted to figure out exactly what was going on,," said patient, Allie Mateus.

The 26-year-old had a test using this machine, called Optomap. It allows doctors to examine the eyes without dilation, which leaves patients with blurry vision for hours.

“It’s very inconvenient for people, because we all have busy lives,” said Diane Song, optometrist.

The machine takes a digital, high definition scan of the eye and the optic nerve. Those scans can reveal signs of conditions like cancer and high blood pressure.

“We can zoom in if I see something suspicious to get a better detailed image of it,” said Dr. Song.

Dr. Song says the technology has helped her diagnose illnesses in several patients, including a breast cancer survivor.

“She actually had a metastasis of breast cancer go in to her eyes and we are able to see it on the Optomap images and were able to get her to a specialist to get that treated."

In Allie’s case, Dr. Song found optic neuritis, which can be a warning sign for multiple sclerosis.

“It turned out after other MRI’s and other testing that I did have multiple sclerosis," said Mateus.

An early diagnosis has helped her fight back.

“The fact that I’m on medication now and able to start lessen the lesions that I’m going to have over time is so significant," said Mateus.

She says it otherwise could have been years before doctors discovered her disease.

The Optomap test is not covered by all insurance plans. It typically costs about forty dollars.

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