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Information on the ophthalmic imaging service at St Paul’s Eye Unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Ophthalmic imaging is a highly specialised field of ophthalmology. It helps doctors to diagnose and manage a wide variety of eye conditions.

This is a rapidly developing area, with new instruments and techniques allowing us to better understand eye diseases and their treatments. This means that we offer the best possible patient experience and minimise the time patients spend in the department.

All ophthalmic imaging procedures are performed as outpatient appointments.

We offer our patients the very latest technologies in ophthalmic imaging including;

Colour fundus imaging

This isn’t as scary as it perhaps sounds. The ‘fundus’ is another word for the retina, and so it simply means to capture colour images of the retina. You may have experienced this type of imaging at your own opticians, but the cameras we use allow a far wider range of specialised images including 3D imaging, ultra wide field fundus photography and fundus autofluorescence, a technique using various differing wavelengths of light.

Ocular angiography

The aim of an angiography at St Paul’s is to show the blood circulation within the eye. It involves the injection of a contrast media (a dye) into the patient’s arm, from where it passes through all blood vessels in the body, reaching the eye within about 15 seconds. A series of very detailed photographs are taken of the eye  usually over a period of 10 minutes. These images will help our doctors diagnose and treat various conditions that affect the back or front of the eye. Once the procedure is completed your doctor at St Paul’s will review the images and talk to you about the findings and any treatment plan.

Optical Coherence Tomography (O.C.T.)

OCT is a cross sectional and 3D imaging technique using the very latest technological advancements. This procedure usually will last only a few minutes and captures many thousands of detailed scans showing the very fine layers that make up the retina and choroid. O.C.T. is sometimes described as a ‘virtual biopsy’.  Measurements can be taken enabling our clinicians to help diagnose, monitor and plan treatments for various types of eye diseases and conditions.

O.C.T. can also be used for the front of the eye and is useful for imaging the cornea (the front surface of the eye). This is useful when the cornea has been damaged either by an accident or infection.

Anterior segment photography

This type of photography is used to look at the structures making up the front of the eye and any conditions which may affect them. Highly magnified images can be taken giving our clinicians a very detailed view of the cornea, iris and sclera (the white area of the eyeball).

Corneal topographic imaging

Corneal topography is a non-invasive and painless imaging technique that enables us to create a 3D map of the surface curvature of the cornea, the outer structure of the eye, within seconds.

It is not uncommon that our patients will be asked to undergo several of these imaging tests, making up a thorough and comprehensive view of their eye condition in order for us to fully understand what options of treatments will be considered.