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    Diagnostic B-Scan Echographic Exam

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    What is a Diagnostic B-Scan Echographic Exam?

    A Diagnostic B-scan is an important diagnostic test in the evaluation of the inside of the eye for diabetes, and a variety of other eye disorders. Using the principles of ultrasound, high-frequency sound waves are directed into the eye by a small probe. Sound waves reflect off the structures inside the eye and convert into an image that can be viewed on a television screen. With this test, your doctor can evaluate the vitreous and retina when his or her view into the eye would otherwise be limited by cataracts, corneal scars, or other eye conditions.

    Note: This test uses low frequency ultrasound. To date, there are no confirmed adverse effects in humans caused by exposure to diagnostic levels of ultrasound.

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    Before the Test

    • Call (415) 600-3937 to schedule an appointment.


    • Go to the Eye Professional Services at 2100 Webster Street, Suite 219.


    • Bring your insurance information with you to the appointment.

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    During the Test

    Your Technician

    • Places drops in your eyes to numb them for about 15 minutes. Your eyes will not be dilated. You will not feel any discomfort during this test.


    • Takes you into the Ultrasound Suite and positions you comfortably in a slightly reclined position.


    • Uses a small probe to direct sound waves into the eye for the exam. Evaluation of each eye takes approximately 5 minutes. In most cases, both eyes are examined at the same time.


    • After the exam is complete, the technician rinses the eye with a sterile saline solution. You should NOT rub your eyes with any tissue for 30 minutes.


    • Your Diagnostic B-scan exam results will be given to your medical eye doctor for evaluation and interpretation.


    • Your vision may be temporarily blurred by this exam for approximately 20 minutes.

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    After the Test

    • You may drive after this test, but plan for a 20-minute break after the test prior to driving. Check with the staff before you leave to ensure you are safe to drive.


    • You may resume your normal activities 20 minutes after the procedure when your eyes return to your normal vision.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Question: During this test, a specially trained technician uses ultrasound to examine structures within the eye. True or False?
    Answer: True. Diagnostic B-scan uses ultrasound to examine structures within the eye.

    Question: Is this test painful?
    Answer: Diagnostic B-scan is a completely painless test.

    Question: Can I drive home after Diagnostic B-scan?
    Answer: You should not drive home immediately after this test. You should plan for a 20-minute break after the test prior to driving. Check with the staff before you leave to ensure you are safe to drive.


    Produced by the Center for Patient and Community Education in association with the staff and physicians at California Pacific Medical Center. Date: 6/04

    Photo by: Denice Barsness, CRA, COMT, ROUB, FOPS

    Funded by: A generous donation from the Mr. and Mrs. Arthur A. Ciocca Foundation.

    Note: This information is not meant to replace any information or personal medical advice which you get directly from your doctor(s). If you have any questions about this information, such as the risks or benefits of the treatment listed, please ask your doctor(s).
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