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What is Retinoscopy?

retinoscopy during eye examOn occasion, particularly when performing an eye exam on a small child our Fayettville optometrist will direct a light into the eye. So what does this do? This test is a retinoscopy examination, and it's a basic way to assess the refractive error of your eye. Whether you're near or farsighted, or you have astigmatism, examining the way light reflects off your retina is a test your optometrist can employ to determine if you need vision correction.

What Can We Learn From Retinoscopy?

How well your eyes focus during the exam is really what we're looking for. We begin the exam by looking for what we call your red reflex. The retinoscope aims a beam of light into your eye, and a red or orange light reflects through your pupil and off your retina. The retinoscope measures your focal length, or in other words, to determine the precise angle of refraction of light off your retina. And this is what tells us how well your eye is able to focus. And if we see that you can't focus properly, we hold a few lenses with varying prescriptions in front of the eye to see which one will correct the refractive error. The lens power that works is the prescription you require to fix your impairment with glasses or contact lenses.

These exams are usually conducted in a dark or dimmed room. You will usually be asked to look at something behind the eye doctor. Not having to read any eye charts means that a retinoscopy exam is also a really good way to accurately determine the prescriptions of the speech-impaired, or young children.