Introduction: Approximately two million people present to the emergency department (ED) with eye-related complaints each year in the United States. Differentiating pathologies that need urgent consultation from those that do not is imperative. For some physicians, ocular ultrasound has eclipsed the dilated fundoscopic exam as the standard posterior segment evaluation in the ED.
Case report: A 60-year-old female presented with sudden onset visual disturbance in her right eye. Point-of-care ultrasound showed a hyperechoic band in the posterior segment concerning for a retinal detachment. Ophthalmology was consulted and diagnosed the patient with a condition known as Valsalva retinopathy. The patient was discharged from the ED with expectant management.
Conclusion: This case highlights an important differential diagnosis that should be considered when ocular ultrasound demonstrates a hyperechoic band in the posterior segment. While previous literature has demonstrated that emergency physicians are able to accurately identify posterior segment pathology using ultrasound, there is limited information regarding their ability to differentiate between pathologies, some of which may not require urgent consultation. We highlight the important differentials that should be considered when identifying posterior segment pathology on point-of-care ultrasound and their appropriate dispositions.