Fundus photography

By Gisela Steyn - B.Optom UJ(SA) CAS(SA)

What is Fundus Photography?

Fundus photography documents the retina (back of the eye), the neurosensory tissue in our eyes which translates the optical images we see into the electrical impulses our brain understands. The retina can be photographed directly as the pupil (black part of the eye) is used as both an entrance and exit for the fundus camera's illuminating and imaging light rays. 

The patient sits at the fundus camera with their chin in a chin rest and their forehead against the bar. An examiner focuses and aligns the fundus camera. A flash fires as the photographer presses the shutter release, creating a fundus photograph like the pictures below.  

The fundus photography is used to monitor the ocular health of the eye. It is also used to identify systemic diseases and pathology that can lead to blindness. Some examples that the fundus photography allows us to see is age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), hypertension (HNT), diabetes, cholesterol, glaucoma ect.

When an anomaly is detected the patient is referred to an ophthalmologist for further treatment and surgery.

Many common diseases can be detected and managed in a primary care office, and fundus photography maintains its place in care as it provides complementary information. Fundus photography, though an older technology, is still a vital component of any ophthalmic practice. Detection and documentation of posterior segment structures is crucial in disease management.

Fundus photography is done on every patient who comes in for an eye examination. It is part of our pre-testing set-up done by our frontliners and the optometrist discusses the fundus photography in the test room with the eye examination.