Diagnosing Refractive Errors: A Look Into The 2 Main Ways Used For Examination


It is calculated that nearly two billion people in the world have refractive errors that affect their eyesight. That is almost 25% of the world’s population. Diagnosing this is crucial as if it goes unexamined, a person’s vision can become significantly impaired. There is even some risk of potential blindness. There are two main ways doctors at an eye clinic in Dubai will test individuals to identify if they have this condition. We will take a look at them in this blog. 

Before doing so, we must understand what a refractive error is. An eye condition occurs when one cannot focus clearly on images from the external environment. The primary types of this are presbyopia (vision loss due to age), myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (an imperfection in the cornea or lens shape). 

Symptoms are as follows: blurry vision, difficulty reading, or seeing up close. Children may also cross their eyes. If a person notices these symptoms, they must visit an optometrist as soon as possible to save their vision.

What are the two main types of tests?

While there is a range of tests that can be used, the following two are the most important to diagnose refractive errors. They are both painless and can be used to evaluate an individual’s vision and eye health. Then, depending on the results, an eye doctor will prescribe either a corrective lens or surgery.

Visual acuity test

It examines how well a person can see from a standardized distance. At this length, specialists have determined what results should be received from those with normal vision. Then, they can compare this with the examination findings from their patients to assess their eyesight. 

The test is simple and can be completed within a few minutes. In the examination, doctors position an eye chart containing rows of letters or numbers that gradually decrease in size, twenty feet away from their patient. They will then ask them to read as many lines as they can without squinting. Sometimes one eye will be covered so that they can be separately assessed. If a person can see them all clearly, then they are said to have perfect vision. 

The eye doctor may also use a preprinted card or newspaper and request the patient to read them. It will allow them to check if a person can see clearly in a short distance or not.

Corneal topography

This test is used to map the cornea’s surface in case anything unusual about its shape is detected. This part of the eye directs light correctly to the retina so that the brain can form clear images. In case there is a flaw in its shape, it can cause blurry and distorted vision. 

Corneal topography is painless and involves a patient resting their forehead and chin on an instrument and looking at a pattern displayed inside. A digital camera situated at the center of the device will catch how this image is reflected off the cornea and send it to a computer. The latter will use the information to create a three-dimensional representation of the eye.  

Findings from this test can help doctors measure the shape of the eyes for contact lenses, guide specialists during surgeries, and identify astigmatism. 

Combining results from the above tests can help a doctor accurately diagnose the refractive error a person is suffering from and prescribe appropriate treatment. Even if a person’s eyesight seems pretty clear, it is best to consult an optometrist at New Vision Eye Center. This will allow any abnormalities to be identified at an early stage and treated. 

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