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What is an Ophthalmic Refractometer?

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EyeQue Team

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August 23, 2018

ophthalmic refractometer

Have you ever been to your eye care professional’s office and felt like they are speaking a completely different language? One of the phrases you may have heard at your last visit is ‘ophthalmic refractometer.’

A refractometer is a device used to measure the lens strength and power for glasses needed to correct refractive errors.

The refractometer helps your doctor identify refractive errors in your vision. Refractive errors prevent light entering the eyes to focus properly on your retina, negatively impacting your vision. The most common conditions causing refractive errors are myopia (nearsightedness), presbyopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. The measurements provided by the refractometer help your eye care professional write a prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct your vision.

Here are some of the measurements needed to order glasses:

Myopia and presbyopia errors

If you are nearsighted (indicated with – sign) or farsighted (indicated with a + sign), the refractometer measures the severity of the error in diopters. Then, it calculates the power of lens needed to correct the error.

Astigmatism levels and location

When you have astigmatism, your eye is shaped like a football, whereas people without astigmatism have perfectly round eyes. The refractometer identifies how severe your astigmatism is and the axis (or angle) it is located in your eye.

Pupillary Distance (PD)

Your PD refers to the distance between the center of your pupils. PD is necessary for lens makers to ensure your glasses properly align with your pupils. PD is not measured by refractometer because it’s not a clinical measurement and is usually taken later during your eyeglasses fitting.
You can, however, measure your own pupillary distance at home with a PD ruler. Learn how here.

Did you know you can find the measurements you need to order your eyeglasses listed above with EyeQue? The EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker (PVT) is an ophthalmic refractometer you can use at home.

Click here to learn more.

You May Be Interested In the Personal Vision Tracker

Test your vision from home and order eyeglasses online with the results.

Learn more

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