NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A high tech machine is making it easier to get your eyes examined.
It’s also helping doctors detect early signs of potentially life threatening diseases.
Three years ago, Allie Mateus went to the optometrist with pain in her eyes.
“Something was strange in my eye and I had never felt the pain before so I really wanted to figure out exactly what was going on,” Mateus said.
The 26-year-old had a test using a machine called the “Optomap.” It allows doctors to examine the eyes without dilation that leaves patients with blurry vision for hours.
“It’s very inconvenient for people, because we all have busy lives,” Dr. Diane Song said.
The machine takes a digital, high definition scan of the eye and optic nerve. Those scans can reveal signs of conditions like cancer and high blood pressure.
“We can zoom in if I see something suspicious to get a better detailed image of It,” the optometrist added.
Dr. Song says the technology has helped her diagnose illnesses in several patients, including a breast cancer survivor.
“She actually had a metastasis of breast cancer go into her eyes and we are able to see it on the Optomap images and were able to get her to a specialist to get that treated.”
In Allie’s case, Dr. Song found optic neuritis which can be a warning sign for multiple sclerosis.
“It turned out after other MRI’s and other testing that I did have multiple sclerosis,” Mateus said.
An early diagnosis has helped her fight back.
“The fact that I’m on medication now and able to start lessen the lesions that I’m going to have over time is so significant.”
She says it otherwise could have been years before doctors discovered her disease.
The Optomap test is not covered by all insurance plans. It typically costs about $40.