This video demonstrates what cell and flare look like under the slit-lamp microscope. “Cell” is the individual inflammatory cells while “flare” is the foggy appearance given by protein that has leaked from inflamed blood vessels. This finding is commonly seen with uveitis, iritis, and after surgery … and actually seeing it can be challenging for the beginning ophthalmology residents.
The technique for seeing inflammation is to shorten your light beam, widen it slightly, and angle your light-path such that the beam hits the cornea on the left, the iris on the right, with you focusing on the anterior chamber in the middle of the eye. This allows you to use the pupil as a black background.
The first eye in this movie shows copious pigment floating in AC after a laser iridotomy. You can’t miss the pigment cells floating there. The second segment shows mild inflammatory cells, but a lot of flare (it looks like the beam a film-projector would make in a smokey movie theater). The last segment shows a moderate amount of cell that is moving by convection currents: the cells in the back float upward because the chamber is warmer there, and sink in the front where the aqueous is cooler.
Download this video
To download this video, right click on a link below and choose “Save Target As…”
cellandflare.wmv (8.4 meg, Windows video file)