Bedside ultrasonography is increasingly being used in the ED to examine the eye. For instance, it can be used to detect a retinal detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, and high intracranial pressure. The technique involves applying ultrasound gel on the patient’s closed eyelid. A generous amount of gel should be used to minimize the amount of direct pressure applied on the patient’s eye by the ultrasound probe.
As bedside ultrasonography is becoming a staple in central line placement (especially of internal jugular lines), emergency physicians now can minimize complications, such as carotid artery puncture and a pneumothorax. Traditionally, the US probe is positioned along the short-axis of the IJ during the procedure (see right).
In a sneak peek of my ACEP News’ Tricks of the Trade column, Dr. Patrick Lenaghan, Dr. Ralph Wang, and I will discuss how bedside ultrasonography can significantly improve your ocular exam.
Here is a classic example. A patient presents with acute onset right eye pain and blurry vision. She possibly has a field cut in her vision. Her pupils are a teeny 2 mm in size in the brightly-lit Emergency Department. You are having a hard time getting a good fundoscopic exam to comfortably rule-out a retinal detachment.