What happens during refraction?
Also known as a vision exam, refraction involves a series of lens choices through which you view a reading chart, comparing what you see. By adjusting the focus of the chart image on your retina, your prescription can be determined to provide you with optimum visual acuity. Sometimes an autorefractor may be used to provide an initial estimate of your prescription. Autorefraction can save time and is useful when examining young children or people who have trouble with eye examinations, but is not necessarily accurate enough to finalise a prescription.
There is an art to refraction - your optometrist will always discuss your answers and their findings with you, based on the results they can determine your amount of myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism, if any.
Sometimes when patients cannot respond verbally, or to determine more complex prescriptions, eye drops are used. These drops temporarily prevent the eyes from changing focus while refraction is performed. Drops are typically not required for refraction as your optometrist is interested in how your eyes respond under normal visual (seeing) conditions.