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A Closer Look at Retinoscopy

On occasion, particularly when performing an eye exam on small children the eye doctor will shine a light in the eye. But why? Firstly, this test is known as a retinoscopy examination, which is a preliminary way to determine the refractive error of your eye. Whether you're near or farsighted, or you have astigmatism, examining the reflection of light off your retina is a way your optometrist is able to see if you need vision correction.

Basically, what we are looking for during the retinoscopy exam is checking how well your eye can focus. We shine light into your eye because we are looking for what's known as your red reflex. The retinoscope aims light into your eye, and a reddish light reflects through your pupil and off your retina. We use the light to measure your focal length, or in other words, to measure the angle at which light refracts off your retina which lets us know how well your eye focuses. If it becomes obvious that you can't focus properly, we hold different lenses with varying prescriptions in front of your eye to see which one will correct the refractive error. And that is exactly how we find out what prescription your glasses or contact lenses need to be.

The optometrist will run your exam in a darkened room. To make your eyes easier to examine, you'll generally be asked to focus on something behind the doctor. The exam doesn't include charts to be read, which means that a retinoscopy exam is also a really useful tool to determine the prescriptions of those who may struggle with speech, like young children and the elderly.

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A Message to Our Patients

TSO Woodlands will continue to follow health and safety guidelines recommended by the CDC by requiring all patients and staff to continue wearing a mask when entering our office for any service. As a healthcare provider we want to ensure the safety of all of our patients and staff. If you arrive without a mask for your appointment, we will be happy to provide one for you.

We understand there are strong feelings on the mask debate and thank you for your cooperation, understanding, and patience as we navigate this challenging time. We look forward to seeing our patients back in the clinic again and strive to provide excellence in eye care while maintaining your health and safety as our highest priority.

Warmest Regards,
Dr. Young and TSO Woodlands Staff