Eye Ultrasound

Ultrasound of the eye, also called ultrasonography, may be used to diagnose pediatric retinoblastoma. Eye ultrasound is one of several types of diagnostic imaging. Diagnostic imaging procedures allow doctors and other medical professionals to create images of internal structures in the patient that are otherwise unable to be seen. Eye ultrasound is painless, free of radiation, and safe. For these reasons, eye ultrasound is one of the most common diagnostic imaging tests for the diagnosis of pediatric retinoblastoma.

What Is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound differs from most other forms of diagnostic imaging because it uses sound waves to create images. Adversely, diagnostic imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) use radiation or radio waves. During an ultrasound, sound waves are sent into tissues of the area being examined.

Sound waves echo off of and travel through different tissues at different speeds. Some types of tissue reflect sound completely. The ultrasound machine analyzes tissue and sound wave interaction and converts it into visual images. These visual images can then be observed and studied by doctors.

Eye Ultrasound Uses

Eye ultrasound is often used to identify and examine tumors within the eye. Eye ultrasound can highlight calcium deposits in tumors, which are a classic sign of pediatric retinoblastoma. Eye ultrasound allows doctors to measure a tumor’s size and scope. Additionally, other abnormalities in the eye can be visualized. For example, pediatric retinoblastoma may cause abnormalities in the child’s retina, such as detachment or thickening.

Doppler Motion Detection

Certain ultrasound equipment features Doppler. Doppler is a feature that is used to detect motion. During an eye ultrasound, Doppler can provide information regarding the flow of blood within a tumor. This can provide doctors with additional insight into the structure of the tumor and how it affects the overall function of the child’s eye.

Types of Eye Ultrasound

There are two main types of eye ultrasound: A-scan and B-scan. An A-scan typically involves placing the patient’s chin on a chin rest. A small probe called a transducer is then placed on the front of the child’s eye. A B-scan is typically performed with the eyes closed. During a B-scan, a gel is applied to the child’s eyelid skin. The transducer is then placed against the eyelid skin.

Eye Ultrasound Process

Eye ultrasound is typically performed by a pediatric ophthalmologist or pediatric oncologist. Before the procedure, anesthetic drops are typically used to numb the child’s eye. In some cases, the child may be given anesthetic drugs for sedation. Depending on the type of eye ultrasound, the transducer will either be placed directly against the child’s eye or eyelid.


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