High-quality anterior segment photographs easily attainable within budget, doctor says

March 1, 2006

Los Angeles—A low-tech digital camera can offer a low-budget alternative for high-quality anterior segment photography, said Jonathan M. Davidorf, MD.

"A digital camera with 4 megapixels or higher resolution can be obtained for well under $500 and used at the slit lamp to take excellent external and anterior segment photos. In my opinion, this consumer-oriented, simple technology offers a great substitute for clinicians who are too busy to set up fancy equipment and negotiate a good price for pricey toys as well as for those who have limited knowledge of photography," said Dr. Davidorf, clinical assistant professor, Jules Stein Eye Institute, University of California Los Angeles, and in private practice in West Hills, CA.

Experimenting with a digital camera he received as a gift for family use, Dr. Davidorf found it could be used in his office to take digital anterior segment photos of reasonably high quality. The camera he has is the PowerShot S45 by Canon, but any similar camera can be used as long as its lens diameter is smaller than the ocular lens on the slit lamp.

Setting up the camera

To take pictures, the flash is disabled and the camera is switched to autofocus and the macro setting, which provides a wide-angle view and enables clear pictures to 10 cm. Patients are instructed to gaze as they normally would for a slit-lamp exam and once the eye is in focus, the camera is brought up to the slit lamp. Then, final focus adjustments are made, and the camera button is pushed to capture the image as viewed through the camera's viewfinder. An external light source may be used in addition when photographing ocular surface pathology using sclerotic scatter.