The Fundus, or inner lining, of the eye is photographed with specially designed cameras through the dilated pupil of the patient. The painless procedure produces a sharp view of the retina, the retinal vasculature, and the optic nerve head (optic disc) from which the retinal vessels enter the eye.
Optometrists, ophthalmologists, orthoptists and other trained medical professionals use fundus photography for monitoring the progression of certain eye condition/diseases. Fundus photographs are also used to document abnormalities of disease process affecting the eye, and/or to follow up on the progress of the eye condition/disease such as diabetes, age-macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and neoplasm of the choroid, cranial nerves, retinal or eyeball.
Besides the prevalent ocular condition/diseases, fundus photography can also be used to monitor individuals on anti-malarial therapy, by noting the changes in the fundus during standard screening.
Fundus photography is also used in emergency cases including patients with constant headaches, diastolic pressure greater than or equal to 120mmHg and patients with sudden visual loss.
In patients with headaches, the finding of swollen optic discs, or papilloedema, on fundus photography is a key sign, as this indicates raised intracranial pressure (ICP) which could be due to hydrocephalus, benign intracranial hypertension or brain tumor, amongst other conditions. Cupped optic discs are seen in glaucoma.
In arterial hypertension, hypertensive changes of the retina closely mimic those in the brain, and may predict cerebrovascular accidents (strokes).
In certain cases fundus photography can also be used in research studies.