Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Ophthalmoscopy: About This Test
Facebook Tweet Email Share

Main Content

Ophthalmoscopy: About This Test

Eyeball and optic nerve

What is it?

Ophthalmoscopy (say "awf-thul-MAW-skuh-pee") is a test that lets your doctor see the inside of the back of your eye. To do this, your doctor uses a magnifying instrument called an ophthalmoscope (say "awf-THAL-muh-skohp") and a light source.

Why is this test done?

This test is done to look for eye problems and eye diseases. It also can be used to find other problems, such as head injuries or brain tumours.

This examination is usually done as part of a regular eye examination. Other eye tests that may be done include vision testing and testing for glaucoma.

What happens during the test?

Your doctor will shine a bright light into your eyes and examine them.

Before doing this, your doctor may use eyedrops to widen (dilate) your pupils. This makes it easier to see the back of the eye. Your doctor may also use eyedrops to numb the surface of your eyes. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to fully dilate the pupils.

The dilating eyedrops may make your eyes sting and cause a medicine taste in your mouth.

Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has glaucoma and if you are allergic to any type of eyedrops.

What happens after the test?

  • If your eyes were dilated, your vision may be blurry for several hours. Do not drive for several hours after your eyes have been dilated, unless your doctor tells you it is okay.
  • You will probably be able to go home or back to your usual activities right away. But if your eyes were dilated, they will be sensitive. Protect them from the sun by wearing sunglasses.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter L483 in the search box to learn more about "Ophthalmoscopy: About This Test".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.