Column: Machine explanations, Part 2


Commentary by Dr. Kim Hall

Let’s continue our series exploring the instruments you may encounter in the pretest room at your optometrist’s office.

These next two instruments have been around in some form or fashion for years, but they are also evolving.

The visual field is that test where you press a handheld clicker whenever you see the squiggle (frequency change) in your side vision, or an actual light, depending on the machine. Here, we are testing how far out, and at what sensitivity, you can see a visual stimulus without moving your eye.

This is the quintessential test for not only glaucoma, but other conditions such as brain tumors, brain injuries, stroke, medicine toxicity and more. It can be tedious to test, and scary to know what it is looking for, but new advances are making it fun, easier and faster.

You can expect to start running into a super cool yet still super accurate, virtual-reality headset version of this in the near future! It’s a far cry from the old days when we used a giant bowl and the technician had to stand behind it and manually move a target, requiring tons of time, coordination and skill.

Everyone loves a good snapshot of their eyeballs, right? Retinal cameras have come a long way, but you will still notice a bright camera flash. If you are asked to smash your face against a giant machine, it is called the Optomap. You may not enjoy the quick flash but be thankful for it. Getting that close to the camera face allows a much larger field of view, much like how the closer you get to the keyhole of a door, the more you can see of what is on the other side.

With Optos, we can view up to 200 degrees of the inside of your eye, which is quite impressive! This technology allows a thorough examination without having to use the dreaded dilating drops in most cases. Your day should not be ruined by an annual eye exam!

Dr. Kim Hall is an optometrist at RevolutionEYES. She graduated from Purdue University in 1999 and the Indiana University School of Optometry in 2005.