Join Me as I Learn to Use the iCam: Lesson 3. Illumination

Our newest program coordinator shares her “aha” moments as she learns.

Flash level is important when taking a retinal image.  Just as in other daily photography, it is important to adjust the camera’s flash level to allow the proper amount of illumination for the specific situation.  A poorly illuminated image can make it difficult for the consultant to read the image.  

The image on the left is too dark the flash level needs to be increased.  The image on the right is too light, the flash level needs to be decreased. 

The image on the left is too dark the flash level needs to be increased.  The image on the right is too light, the flash level needs to be decreased. 

If a patient has very dark eyes, the flash level needs to be turned up to allow for proper illumination. The default flash level is 6.  If a patient has very dark brown irises, increase the flash level by 1-2 notches either by twisting the knob on the right side of the camera with a lightning bolt above it or by pressing the + button in the iCam software.  The flash will be slightly brighter and will therefore properly illuminate the retina.  I keep the flash level turned up for the external images as well so that the fine iris details are visible despite the darkness in color.

The inverse is true for patients with very light colored eyes.  If the patient has light blue or green eyes the flash level needs to be decreased by 1-2 notches.  Light eyes are at risk of becoming washed out if the flash level is too high, again making it difficult for the consultant to read the image.

Example of a properly illuminated image.

Example of a properly illuminated image.

A properly illuminated image will help the consultant view the small blood vessels in the retina and more easily reveal potential issues.  If you have questions about how to properly illuminate the images, please contact us at contact@eyepacs.org.