About Your Visit

Thank you for considering participating in one of the ocular imaging studies in the AOIP.  Research studies can involve tests and procedures that are different from those done during a regular doctor visit. Here we provide a brief overview of the tests that are done during a typical research visit, though each research visit is different.

Joseph Carroll, PhD and a research subject Upon arrival at the Eye Institute, one of our staff members will review the consent forms that are necessary to proceed with the research study.  We will explain all of the imaging tests being performed and review the risks and benefits associated with the research. You will receive a copy of your signed consent forms for your records and given as much time as you need to ask any questions you may have about the research.

Listed below are brief descriptions of some of the tests that may be done during your research visit.

Color vision screening

Color Vision

A variety of tests may be used to test your color vision.  These include tests where we ask you to arrange a series of caps according to their color, to identify colored shapes on a gray background, or to match one color with a mixture of two other colors.  Depending on the tests we do, these tests could take anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour to complete.

Eye Dilation

For many of the imaging tests, we need to dilate your eye. This involves the use of eye drops (Phenylephrine HCL and Tropicamide) similar to those used during a regular eye exam. These drops will make your pupil large and will make it difficult to read. We may dilate one or both of your eyes, and the dilation will usually wear off in a few hours. After dilation of your eye, we may have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist to evaluate the overall health of your eye.

Visual function test

Eye Measurements

We use a machine called the Zeiss IOL Master to measure the length of your eye as well as the curvature of your cornea, providing a set of measurements that we use to determine the magnification of the images of your retina. This test takes approximately five minutes.

Genetic Test

In some cases, a phlebotomist will take a blood sample, which we then send to a genetic testing lab for analysis.

Visual Function

A variety of tests may be used to assess how well your retina is functioning. We can measure how well you see by having you look at an eye chart on a wall, similar to tests you may have had during a regular eye exam. This test can take up to 30 minutes to complete. Another type of test involves looking into a machine and pressing a button whenever you see a spot of light, allowing us to determine your visual field sensitivity. This test can take up to 30 minutes to complete.

Adaptive Optics Retinal Imaging

The adaptive optics imaging technology is part of what makes our imaging program truly unique. The imaging session takes place in a dark room with usually two to three scientists or physicians in the room. You will be asked to either place your chin on a chin rest or to make a dental impression with some dental putty, as we need to keep your head steady during the imaging session. Most imaging is done using dim red light, though we may also use different wavelengths (colors) of light to help us see different parts of your retina better. This imaging session usually takes about an hour, though you are able to take breaks as needed. The resulting images may look like the one below. 

Hover over the adaptive optics confocal image to reveal the split-detector image of the photoreceptor inner segment mosaic.
The resulting images may look like the one below, adaptive optics confocal image (top) and split-detector image (bottom) of the photoreceptor inner segment mosaic.

Cirrus5 OCT device

Clinical Retinal Imaging

We may use a number of different pieces of equipment to image your retina. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) allows us to look at the different layers of your retina, providing a sensitive tool to examine the health of your retina. We will also use standard fundus photography, which allows us to see the large blood vessels and optic disc. We may use different wavelengths (colors) of light to image your eye, and in some cases may have you ingest a fluorescent dye to allow us to visualize your blood vessels with greater detail. Depending on the number of images we take, these tests could take between 15-30 minutes to obtain.

General Research Visit Notes

  • Most visits take approximately three to four hours to complete all of the testing.
  • Please note: this research visit does not provide you with an updated vision prescription or corrective lenses.
  • If you do wear contact lenses, please do not wear them for at least 2 days prior to your imaging appointment.
  • You must have an appointment to participate in research.
  • If you have any questions about the tests performed as part of our research, contact Phyllis Summerfelt at (414) 955-AOIP (2647).

Advanced Ocular Imaging Program
Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute
925 North 87th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53226
Phone: 414-955-AOIP (2647)
Fax: 414-955-6690
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