During a comprehensive eye examination, your doctor uses refraction to determine how much power is needed to bring your eyes to normal, perfectly focused vision. A cycloplegic refraction is a procedure used to determine a person's complete refractive error by temporarily paralyzing the muscles that aid in focusing the eye. Cycloplegic eye drops are used to temporarily paralyze or relax the cililary body, or focusing muscle, of the eyes. When a cycloplegic refraction is performed, the doctor is trying to find out what the full refractive error is without any influence of the person being tested.
There are three main types of patients that doctors like to perform an cycloplegic refraction:
· Children - A cycloplegic refraction is often performed on children. Children have an ability to accommodate a great deal. Also, children tend to focus at a close range and are unable to control their focusing when they are supposed to be looking at a far distance during an examination. When a doctor performs a cycloplegic refraction, they can be confident they are measuring the full prescription.
· Adults experiencing pre-presbyopia - Presbyopia is the condition that affects all of us around age 40-45. We begin to lose our ability to focus on near objects. This is why people over 40 are often using reading glasses or wearing a bifocal. However, in some people, they experience a great deal of symptoms during pre-presbyopia. They are unable to focus quickly from near to distance and back and are easily frustrated. It also causes night time driving symptoms as well. The best way to isolate the problem is for the doctor to perform a cycloplegic refraction.
· LASIK - People that have decided to have laser vision correction or other refractive surgery must undergo a cycloplegic refraction. This is performed to ensure that their accommodation does not interfere with the results. The surgeon needs to know exactly how much of the person's vision problem to correct with the laser.