I get a lot of questions about what exactly I do, and a lot of confused looks when I introduce myself as an ophthalmic photographer. I work in a unique and interesting field photographing the insides of people’s eyes, specifically the retina. The retina lines the back wall of the eye and is responsible for our detailed vision. My imaging of the retina provides the doctors with crucial information that allows them to diagnose and treat retinal problems and diseases, such as macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, and much more. It is very satisfying to know I am directly helping the doctor and am an integral part of the patient care process. I get to use some incredible equipment. A digital camera that is essentially a giant microscope allows me to see even the finest detail of the retinal blood vessels.
Some people cringe when they see our images, but to me it is beautiful…it sorta becomes abstract art.
The image above is of a patient with a retinal vein occlusion. The vessel on the bottom (that is black) is blocked and thus there is a lack of normal blood flow out of the eye.
The above image is a rare syndrome diagnosed in a 16 year old boy who got into a bad car accident. It’s essentially inflammation due to impact. He lost almost all of the vision in this eye. Amazingly, he did heal up and regained most of his vision.
This photo won 3rd place at the Ophthalmic Photographer Society’s annual photo exhibit a few years ago. It’s a diabetic patient with severe damage to the blood vessels in the central vision area. It is inverted just for fun, but I swear that’s why it placed…it’s eye catching (no pun intended).
I actually JUST found out that the image above won honorable mention at the 2010 Ophthalmic Photography Society Photo exhibit! Yay! It is a small hemorrhage photographed with two different types of retinal imaging; a fundus photograph (orange) and an OCT, or Optical Coherence Tomography (b&w cross sectional scan) and I just loved the graphic look of that perfectly circular hemorrhage, right smack in the center of her vision. Luckily, this young girl also regained her vision as the hemorrhage resolved.
I am lucky to have such a interesting career that can really help people, not to mention the images are just SO COOL!