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A comparison of 10 MHz and 20 MHz ultrasound probes in imaging the eye and orbit
  1. S A Hewick,
  2. A C Fairhead,
  3. J C Culy,
  4. H R Atta
  1. Department of Ophthalmology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, UK
  1. Correspondence to: S Hewick Department of Ophthalmology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZN, UK;


Background/aims: B-scan ultrasonography is an invaluable, versatile, non-invasive tool in ophthalmology. Recently, a “high frequency” contact 20 MHz probe has been introduced. B-scanning ultrasonography of orbital and ocular structures was performed with both a 10 MHz and the new 20 MHz probe, to evaluate what information was best obtained from each probe, and provide recommendations for the use of each.

Methods: Patients were selected from routine ultrasound clinics at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary between 1 January 2002 and 1 August 2002. The vitreous, retina, choroid, sclera and, in the orbit, the extraocular muscles, optic nerve, and orbital fat were assessed with both the 10 MHz and 20 MHz probes. In the laboratory, using a “point target,” the characteristics of the ultrasound beam at different distances from the probe were also assessed.

Results: The point target showed that focus was deeper and that the lateral, and to a lesser degree the axial, resolution are sharper with the 20 MHz probe, compared with the 10 MHz probe. In patients’ eyes, highly reflective structures are seen at higher resolution with the 20 MHz probe. Imaging of lower intensity reflectors such as the vitreous and particles within it are seen better with the 10 MHz probe. Increased tissue attenuation was evident with the 20 MHz probe.

Conclusion: The 20 MHz probe has a superior resolution and can be used to better detect details at the posterior pole and in the orbit. The 10 MHz probe can be used to examine low intensity scatterers, such as the vitreous humour, that cannot be seen using a higher frequency probe.

  • B-scan
  • echography
  • high frequency ultrasound
  • ophthalmic ultrasound

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