In the ophthalmic industry, we have a habit of referring to all refraction systems—both manual and digital refractors—as “phoropters;” however, technology has advanced in recent years, and with the shift to digital systems, there is now a major difference between manual and digital refractors.
Manual and digital refractors are both tools used to detect and correct refractive error by determining patient prescriptions.
Both manual and digital systems require highly trained, educated and experienced ophthalmic professionals to conduct the refraction test. However, the three primary components of manual and digital refractors are quite different:
Data collected during the patient’s pretest is manually entered into both the refractor and the patient’s record.
With system integration, all data is automatically synched to each piece of equipment and recorded to the patient’s digital file, completely eliminating multiple entries.
A typical refraction exam with a manual refractor involves the following steps for each eye:
Each of these steps requires manual knob adjustments.
Digital refractors follow the same process as manual—except these adjustments are controlled from one digital panel. So, ophthalmic professionals can stay seated in one place and focus on speaking directly to the patient. Once the right combination has been selected, the prescription is automatically updated and saved to the patient’s file from the digital system—no more repetitive entries.
Each knob on these systems are adjusted manually to asses the patient’s prescription, including:
The components of digital refractors utilize the same diagnostic parts, such as cylinder power and sphere power, but are controlled with more advanced technology, including:
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