Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Detection and Treatment of Refractive Errors
Your eye doctor determines the type and degree of refractive error you have by performing a test called a refraction.
This can be be done with a computerized instrument (automated refraction) or with a mechanical instrument called a phoropter that allows your eye doctor to show you one lens at a time (manual refraction).
Often, an automated refraction will be performed by a member of the doctor's staff, and then the eye care practitioner will refine and verify the results with a manual refraction.
An eye care practitioner performs a manual refraction. Your refraction may reveal that you have more than one type of refractive error. For example, your blurred vision may be due to both nearsighted and astigmatism.
Your eye doctor will use the results of your refraction to determine your eyeglasses prescription. A refraction, however, does not provide sufficient information to write a contact lens prescription, which requires a contact lens fitting.
Eyeglass lenses and contact lenses are fabricated with precise curves to refract light to the degree necessary to compensate for refractive errors and bring light to a sharp focus on the retina.
Vision correction surgeries such as LASIK aim to correct refractive errors by changing the shape of the cornea, so that light rays are bent into a more accurate point of focus.
by Gary Heiting, OD