What Patients Should Know About Retinoscopy

Undergoing a comprehensive eye exam with a qualified eye doctor is one of the best ways to safeguard your visual health. An eye exam can detect refractive errors and identify early signs of eye diseases. The earlier you diagnose and begin treating eye conditions, the better the results may be. Today, Progressive Eyecare discusses one type of eye test: retinoscopy.

What Patients Should Know About Retinoscopy

How Is Retinoscopy Performed?

Retinoscopy is a technique used to determine the refractive error of the eye. The test requires minimal effort from the patient and it is easy, quick and reliably accurate. The eye doctor performs this exam by using a hand-held instrument called a retinoscope. The retinoscope projects a beam of light into the eye. When the light moves horizontally and vertically across the eye, the eye doctor observes the movement of the reflected light from the back of the eye. This reflection is known as red reflex.

The doctor then places lenses in front of the eye, and as the power of these lenses changes, the pattern and direction of the reflection changes as well. The doctor then changes the lenses until they reach a lens power that indicates the refractive error of the patient. As an eye exams expert we believe that retinoscopy is useful to assess refractive errors in children or in individuals whose behavior limits the ability to be cooperative with subjective refraction or autorefraction.

Other Things You Need to Know

Dilating eye drops are used for retinoscopy because the red reflex is easier to see when the pupil is large. Dilating eye drops also temporarily limit the eye’s ability to focus, allowing for a more accurate determination of the refractive error. While most children and infants can look at the retinoscope’s light long enough to allow for successful retinoscopy, some cases might require general anesthesia. This is to ensure that the patient looks into the light for the time period needed for the test.

Aside from providing you with eyeglasses, contact lenses and the best care possible, we also want to educate you about eye issues and their treatment. Call us at (702) 744-8005 if you are in North Las Vegas, (702) 723-4888 if you are in Boca Park and (702) 357-8202 if you are in Southwest Las Vegas. We serve patients in North Las Vegas, Las Vegas and nearby areas in NV.

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