image of equipment used by an optometrist

A phoropter is a large device containing several lenses used to determine the lens prescriptions that patients need. Optometrists use this device by having the patient sit in an exam chair and look at an eye chart through the different lenses of the device. The eye doctor will ask the patient which lenses enhance their vision and which don't. A phoropter is very common and almost always used during eye exams.

Slit Lamp

image of equipment used by an optometrist

One instrument that is helpful in discovering diseases of the eye is the slit lamp, which is comprised of two separate devices. It combines a microscope with an intense light source that is focused into the eye, giving the eye doctor an effective view into different parts of the eye. It was developed over the course of the 20th century and is now commonly used in the offices of eye doctors all over the country.

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image of equipment used by an optometrist

One device that revolutionized eye care was the opthalmoscope. This device was invented in the middle of the 19th century and is still in use today. A direct opthalmoscope is a handheld device that is used during regular eye exams to magnify the eye. It primarily helps to determine the health of the retina. Indirect ophthalmoscopes are used for much the same purpose but are worn as a headband by the eye doctor.

Eye Chart

image of equipment used by an optometrist

Though it is probably one of the most basic instruments used by eye doctors, the eye chart is nevertheless very important in determining patients' ocular health. There are several different types of eye charts, but the most common ones utilize rows of letters that gradually diminish in size. The patient will typically start reading from the top of the chart and list off the symbols they comprehend until they can no longer discern visible characters.