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Ophthalmology. 2004 Jul;111(7):1344-51.

High-resolution ultrasonic imaging of the posterior segment.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York 10021, USA.



Conventional ophthalmic ultrasonography is performed using 10-megahertz (MHz) transducers. Our aim was to explore the use of higher frequency ultrasound to provide improved resolution of the posterior pole.


Prospective case series.


One normal subject and 5 subjects with pathologies affecting the posterior coats, including nevii, small melanomas, and macular hole.


We modeled the frequency-dependent attenuation of ultrasound across the eye to develop an understanding of the range of frequencies that might be practically applied for imaging of the posterior pole. We compared images of the posterior coats made at 10, 15, and 20 MHz, and 20-MHz ultrasound images of pathologies with 10-MHz ultrasound and optical coherence tomography (OCT).


Ability to resolve normal and pathologic structures affecting posterior coats of the eye.


Modeling showed that frequencies of 20 to 25 MHz might be used for posterior pole imaging. Twenty-megahertz images allowed differentiation of the retina, choroid, and sclera. In addition, at 20 MHz the retina showed banding patterns suggesting an internal structure comparable in many respects to that seen in OCT and histology. Images of ocular pathology provided much improved detail relative to 10-MHz images and deeper penetration than OCT.


Twenty-megahertz ultrasound can be practically employed for imaging of the posterior pole of the eye, providing a 2-fold improvement in resolution relative to conventional 10-MHz instruments. Although not providing the resolution of OCT, ultrasound can be used in the presence of optical opacities and allows evaluation of deeper tissue structures.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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