B-scan uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to visualize anatomic structures in the eye.
Alternative Names: Ultrasound

What to Expect

  • Topical anesthetic (numbing) eye drops are administered.
  •  Exams may be performed with the eyelids open or closed. 
  • A sterile gel is applied to the tip of the ultrasound probe. 
  • The probe is held against the eye and images are obtained.  
  • Patients will be asked to sit still and may be asked to change their gaze position (i.e., look up, look to the right, etc) from time to time.
  • The test can take five to fifteen minutes per eye depending on the number of images aquired. 

How the Test Feels

Patient’s may experience stinging or burning with initial instillation of the topical anesthetic drop.  The sterile gel may feel cool on the surface of the eyelid and/or eye.  A mild pressure sensation may result from the ultrasound probe being held close to the eye.

Why the Test is Performed

B-scan ultrasonography is useful in identifying conditions in the back of the eye that may not be visible with routine exam.


  • Normal Values
    A normal B-scan will reveal normal contour and structure of the eye.
  • Abnormal Results
    Conditions that may be identified with the aid of B-scan include:
    • Vitreous hemorrhage (bleeding)
    • Intraocular foreign body
    • Retinal detachment
    • Intraocular tumor