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Techniques for examining the vitreous, retina, and optic nerve head


Joshua J. Broadwater, DVM, DACVO, offers expert tips and tricks for examining dogs' eyes

In this dvm360® interview, Joshua J. Broadwater, DVM, DACVO, with Charlotte Animal Referral & Emergency in North Carolina, demonstrates how he effectively examines the vitreous, retina, and optic nerve head in pets while offering insightful pointers.

Broadwater will be delivering ophthalmology lectures at our Fetch Charlotte conference taking place March 15-17, 2024. Register here today to secure your spot.

The following is a partial transcript of the video.

Joshua J. Broadwater, DVM, DACVO: When we do a proper exam on the retina or the fundus for dogs or cats, there's a couple things to remember that make this much easier to do. And there's a couple of different ways to do it. So, one method that a lot of general practitioners are familiar with is direct ophthalmoscope. And that usually involves using one of these little Welch Allyn heads here to get a close exam of the retina and the optic nerve head. And this has a couple advantages, couple of disadvantages.

The 2 most important components on here are going to be the light aperture, and the dialing aperture here that tells you exactly where you're focusing on inside of the eye. So, most of the time for this to be properly set up, we want the dial to be set at zero, that's going to give us the best focus on the back of the eye to look at the retina, the optic nerve, things like that.

And there's a couple techniques that may help you here. So, one is going to be when you examine a dog, we typically work about a 4 inch working distance from the the nose. It tends to be best to use your left eye to the patient's left eye, your right eye to the patient's right eye. So, when I do this type of exam, I try to make sure that I have this up to my left eye, to their left eye. And that's how we're going to be able to get a good view of the back of the eye without the nose getting in the way there for us. And it would be the same thing on the other side. With this direct view, the advantage is you're going to get a very magnified view of the retina, about 15 times the normal magnification of the retina. And that's great to be able to see things in detail.

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