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Eyeglass Lens Fitting

Getting the right corrective lens prescription is vital to your eyesight. Wearing incorrect lenses can actually make your vision worse or cause eyestrain. In regard to contacts, wearing lenses that are not yours can be physically damaging to your eyes. Only a doctor should administer a test and a prescription.                       

Retinoscopy allows the doctor to estimate your corrective powerRetinoscopy is a preliminary test that the doctor does to estimate the corrective power. The doctor asks the patient to focus on a distant object while they shine a light into the eye. By observing which way the reflection off the eye moves as they move the source, a doctor can tell whether a person is near- or farsighted. Those with myopia have their reflection moving in the opposite direction to the movement of the light source. Those with hyperopia have both moving in the same direction. The doctor may place plano lenses over your eyes to quell the reflex in order to have a control to compare the reflection to. A retinoscopy is good for patients who cannot communicate what letters they are able to see on a standard vision test. 

Autorefractors are also a preliminary test. They have the patient look into a machine, resting their chin on a metal bar. They focus onto a point of light or an image that seems to be in the distance. The machine quickly goes through a series of lenses that check which ones allow light to best reach your retina. Most tests are accurate enough to determine your prescription.

A refraction test is the most accurate test for a prescription lens. It involves the use of a tool called a phoropter, and less commonly a refractor.  The instrument is placed in front of the patient and they are directed towards a Snellen chart. The doctor then, using the information they obtained from the retinoscopy, begins to place different powered lenses in front of the patient’s eye. The doctor slowly narrows down the prescriptive power by asking which lens gives the best visual acuity. The phoropter also contains lenses that can correct for astigmatism. If the doctor places one of these in front of the patient’s eye and they respond positively to it, they are astigmatic. Some machines have the capability to perform a retinoscopy during the refraction test. Only fine-tuning is necessary during a refraction test as the doctor normally uses the results of the autorefractor as a basis for the patient’s prescription.

At the end of the visit, the doctor is legally required to give the patient their prescription. You are not obligated to purchase glasses from your doctor. You can purchase eyeglasses anywhere you want, although some states need an additional validation by your doctor. It is important to note that an eyeglass prescription cannot be used to get contacts. A contact lens prescription requires additional tests and fittings.