Sometimes a person – adult or child – can get an eye exam yet still feel that something is “off.” He or she may experience headaches and eye strain even though the eyes were just checked in a routine eye exam and given a new prescription. At that point, the next step may be to have the lens prescription verified by another doctor. Even when the eye prescription and lenses match up to offer 20/20 vision, the wearer may still feel discomfort.
When a New Prescription Doesn’t Work
However, there may be another issue occurring here that can be hard to detect in a regular eye exam. In fact, some patients who are farsighted have been known to auto-focus or accommodate, leading to an inaccurate lens prescription. The eyes are over-performing and this can be a habit that is hard to break once adopted!
To counter this, if you or someone you know has had their eyes checked but still is experiencing discomfort and eye strain, you can get an eye exam where the doctor puts cycloplegic eye drops in the eye that prevent the eye from auto-focusing. These eye drops temporarily stop the ciliary muscle in the eye that is attached to the eye lens from contracting or relaxing. The eye is forced to focus at its normal size without auto-focus and without being able to change its shape. This, in turn, leads to the best measurement of the person’s refractive error and thus, the most accurate lens prescription.
This process is called cycloplegic refraction. Cycloplegic refraction is most often conducted on children and also people who are considering laser surgery to obtain the most accurate lens prescription without auto-focus interference.
Cycloplegic Refraction is Part of a Specialized Eye Exam
When you’ve had cycloplegic drops administered, you will experience some side effects such as blurring and dilation of the pupil. Your eyes will be sensitive to light. This can last a few hours.
A cycloplegic refraction is not part of a standard eye exam process but when indicated can help ensure that your eye doctor determines the best, clearest and most comfortable prescription. For patients who have had eye exams and corrective lenses prescribed based on the standard eye exam, a cycloplegic refraction can make all the difference. Pay attention if you feel that something is not quite right with your eyesight at any time, or if you or a child experiences discomfort or eye strain.
Your vision matters and your daily comfort is important. Give us a call at (516) 224-4888 at the Neuro Visual Center of New York for further assistance and to schedule your next eye exam.
Rachel Frampton says
I’ve had trouble getting the right prescription for my eyes for a long time and found this article about cycloplegic refraction to be very interesting. I haven’t had these drops in a long time and didn’t know that cycloplegic drops can help you get a more accurate prescription because it forces your eye to focus at its normal size. I may have to ask my optometrist about this the next time I go in for my prescription renewal.