Optical machines have evolved over the years, making the ophthalmologist's job of diagnosing and treating vision problems easier and more efficient. Many tools are used in optometry, and each has its own purpose. Here's a look at 5 optical machines used by ophthalmologists.

  1. Autofocus Fundus Camera
    This is a low powered microscope that uses a camera to photograph the eye's interior surface. It allows for the examination of the retina, optic disc, posterior pole and macula. It provides an upright view of the fundus, the interior surface of the eye. Modern units include a 3D autotracker that allows for automatic focus for better accuracy. The camera takes 45 degree images that enable a complete diagnostic examination without having to crop the picture.

  2. Wavefront Aberrometer
    Utilizing wavefront technology, this scanning diagnostic instrument analyzes potential aberrations in the eye. The eye's complexity makes it necessary to use multiple data points that allow for more precise mapping. Some devices come complete with a detachable hard drive for easy transfer into a computer.

  3. Confocal Microscope
    This optical microscope takes optical images to increase micrograph contrast. The device reconstructs 3D images using a spatial pinhole that eliminates unfocused light in specimens thicker than the focal plane. Excitation light is provided by a laser. This light is reflected off a dichroic mirror and then 2 other mirrors operating on motors that scan the sample. The emitted light then passes through the dichroic to focus on the pinhole that is measured by a detector. The microscope is used to assess cells in determining the health of the eye.

  4. The Ultrasound
    This device is used to scan the eye to create high resolutions for better inspection and to detect disease. An ultrasound can be used for an A/B scan as well as pachymetry and biometry, measuring the thickness and axis of the coronary.

  5. Corneal Topographer
    This device is a non-evasive means of mapping the cornea. It creates a 3D map of the eye's outer structure to better diagnose and treat a number of conditions. It can be used to plan refractive surgery and evaluate the results. It is also used to assess the fit of contact lenses. An argon laser photocoagulation device is used in the actual treatment, not just diagnosis, of eye problems by using light to destrol tissues or form adhesive scars to repair damage to the retina for conditions such as retinopathy, an ocular problem experienced by many diabetics.