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Bright Scan Ultrasound (B Scan)

B scan, or Bright Scan ultrasonography is a diagnostic imaging tool utilized when the view to the back of the eye, or posterior segment is hindered. The posterior segment of the eye is the back two-thirds of the eye and consists of the vitreous, retina, optic nerve, and choroid. If the posterior segment of the eye is difficult for the ophthalmologist to view due to cataract, vitreous hemorrhage, and/or retinal tear/detachment, a B scan may be ordered to better evaluate the back of the eye. B scan utilizes sound waves that produce 2D images of the ocular structures. Sound waves are able to bypass dense pathology that may be obstructing a clear view into the eye. As the B scan is also able to visualize the orbit and eye muscles, your physician may order this test to rule out ocular inflammation. B scan additionally offers measurement tools assisting in calculating the size of choroidal nevi or freckles in the eye. The B scan technique is similar to a fetal ultrasound, only it is performed on the eye.


A cross-sectional B scan image of the eye. The left side of the image is the front of the eye and the right side is the back of the eye. In this image we can visualize a cataractous lens, clear vitreous, a flat retina, as well as the optic nerve.

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A cross-sectional B scan image of an eye showing a vitreous hemorrhage.

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A B scan cross-sectional image of an eye showing vitreoretinal traction with a retinal detachment.

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What can I expect during a B scan ultrasound examination?

B scan ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic test. During the B scan, the technician will seat the patient in a laid-back position. The patient’s eyes will be closed as they feel the soft pressure of an ultrasound probe resting on their eyelid. The safe, ultrasonic imaging waves will be able to bypass any poor view from pathology such as hemorrhage or cataract and will ensure high quality images of the posterior segment are captured. The B scan ultrasound takes about 15 minutes to complete. The images captured directly influence plan of care.

Your ophthalmologist will discuss with you which course of treatment is best for you after reviewing ultrasound results.