Archive for November 15th, 2012

A Guide to Ophthalmic Equipment

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Ophthalmic equipment and other eye-care tools are some of the most finely hones in all of medicine. Think about how exact they would need to be in order to make the minuscule corrections that you need to measure and correct your eyesight.So, even if you are not looking to pursue a career in eye care, you may want to learn more about the equipment that will be used on your eyes and their purpose.

• The eye chart – Probably the most recognized diagnostic tool in the eye care technician’s arsenal. It is used to test your visual acuity. Basically, this is a test of how clear your vision is and to test the sharpness of your retinal focus. It also helps to test the brains ability to interpret the data correctly

• The Phoropter – This is the giant machine that hangs from an articulated arm and probably reminds you of a medieval torture device. It has a face plate with two apertures for you to look through and the technician will ask, “Better or worse?” Inside those apertures are different lenses that are used to measure your refraction error and help to narrow down the proper prescription for your eyes.

• The cover test – This is mostly given to children but can also be used on adults. One eye is covered for a short length of time. Then when it is uncovered both eyes are watched for movement. If there is a “Lazy eye” it will start to wander inwardly or outwardly as it tries to compensate for its visual disparity. This can uncover defects such as Tropia, the constant misalignment of the eyes and Phoria that is only evident when both eyes stop focusing on the same target.

• Glaucoma test – This is the one that everyone, including me, dreads the most. You put your chin into a machine that holds it in place. You are usually looking at a barn in a pasture when they blow a puff of air into your eyes. It is testing the fluid pressure in your eye to make sure that it is draining properly and not building pressure that would impinge on your optic nerve.

Those are the most common tests that you will have to sit through on your yearly visit to the eye doctor. No one is claiming the process is pleasant but it certainly beats the alternative. Plus, on the bright side, many eye care technicians have a variety of sucker flavors for you to enjoy after the tests.

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