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Home » What's New » Shedding Light on Retinoscopy

During your eye exam, you might have the eye doctor instruct you to peer ahead while directing a light into your eye. So what does this do? Such as test is used to help determine the refractive error of your eye, and it's called a retinoscopy exam. Whether you're near or farsighted, or you have astigmatism, examining the way light reflects off your retina is one test your eye doctor can employ to see whether you need vision correction.

How well your eyes focus during the retinoscopy exam is the most important thing we look for. We shine light into your eye because we are looking for what's known as your red reflex. The retinoscope aims light into your eye, and a red or orange light reflects through your pupil and off your retina. The angle at which the light refracts off your retina, also called your focal length, is exactly what lets us know how well your eye can focus. If it becomes clear that you can't focus correctly, we hold several prescription lenses in front of your eye to see which one fixes the refractive error. That lens power is the prescription you require to rectify your impairment with glasses or contact lenses.

The retinoscopy exam is generally performed in a dark or dimmed room. The patient will usually be instructed to look at something behind the doctor. This makes eyes easier to examine. Because a retinoscopy exam doesn't require you to read eye charts, it means that it's also a really great way to determine the prescriptions of kids who might struggle with speech, or others who might be speech-impaired.