The phoropter and slit lamp are two of many eye exam tools used during an eye exam

You might have had dozens of eye appointments over your lifetime, but you might be curious about the devices and instruments in front of you. Each of these tools has a unique purpose that gives our physicians insight into your overall eye health. These include:

Slit Lamp

During your appointment, your doctor will need to get a close look at your eyes. With the slit lamp, the patient is seated with their chin resting on the device as a bright light shines into each eye. This gives the physician the ability to see different parts such as the cornea, retina, and lens.


For patients getting their glasses or contact lenses for the first time, the phoropter is the right device. According to Kenya Patterson, an ophthalmic assistant lead at our Concord office, “We use this tool to determine what your refractive prescription is by using different lenses and settings.”

Snellen Chart

This classic chart may be parodied on TV shows, but its use can’t be overstated. The Snellen chart features letters of varying sizes that the patient reads from approximately 20 feet away in order to determine their visual acuity, or sharpness of their vision.


To test for glaucoma, your physician may use a tonometer to measure your eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP). For many patients, this might be familiar as the “puff test”, as the device blows a small amount of air against the eye to determine the IOP.

Retinal Camera

With your retina lining in the back of your eye, your physician will need to use a special device to accurately examine it. The retinal camera takes images of the back of the eye to provide insight into conditions like diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration.

When you schedule with CEENTA, you’re not just surrounded by the latest tools and techniques. You’ll have the guidance and experience of award-winning eye care physicians who can use these tools to give you the most accurate information about your vision. Schedule your next eye care appointment at Concord or any other CEENTA locations today to experience these devices for yourself.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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