At a quick glance, most people look at an auto refractor and probably think each one of them is the same. From an appearance, sure, they look the same, but haven’t we learned not to judge a book by its cover? It’s what is on the inside that really counts, of course.

Before we dive in to comparing the features of some well-known auto refractors on the market today, let’s take a minute to answer some frequently asked questions.

What is an auto refractor?

The easy answer to this question is that an auto refractor is a machine used to determine an individuals’ prescription by measuring how light is affected as it reflects through the eyeball. Auto refractors are quick and painless for the patient and they give an excellent baseline for an ophthalmologist to determine the correct eyeglass or contact lens prescription. They provide objective readings prior to giving the subjective test on the phoropter.

How does an auto refractor work?

An auto refractor works by shining light into the eye and then measuring how it changes as it bounces off the back of the eye (the ocular fundus). The patient is shown an image that moves in and out of focus, taking several measurements of these reflections to determine when the eye is properly focused. When these figures are put together, it is clear what level of vision correction is needed for the patient to see at their best.

What are the most important features to consider when looking at an auto refractor?

This is a tough one. Ultimately, the most important feature to you will be based on the main goal is for your practice and what you would like to achieve by obtaining an auto refractor, but we’ve done some market research and found that these are the most important feature:

  • Is it automated or manual?
  • Does it perform keratometry?
  • How accurate is the machine?
  • How does the refractive data integrate with my current EMR system?
  • What is the speed of the measurement and how well does it increase patient accommodation?
  • Will this allow me a more comprehensive exam?

Now that we’ve given a little background information, let’s dive into what you really came for – how to different auto refractors on the market today size up against one another? In order to best answer this question, we’ve created a chart for you so that we accurately compare apples to apples.torefractors, all of which are also keratometers. This simply means that in addition to determining the correct prescription, the machine will also measure the shape of the cornea.

We feature our best auto refractors/keratometers on the market, all with the desire to make the eye exam process more efficient and easier for the patient.