Ideally, light received by the eye will be properly focused on the retina and images appear clear. In reality, the light is sometimes distorted by imperfections in the cornea and lens. These distortions are called aberrations, and an aberrometer is used to measure them.
Light can be thought of as a collection of lines, or rays. Drawing a line that connects the tip of each ray produces a wavefront. A wavefront can be thought of as a picture that represents how perfect the light is.
An aberrometer works by measuring the wavefront as it passes through the eyes. In an eye with no aberrations, the wavefront will be flat, like a piece of paper. In an eye with imperfections, it will be bent and distorted.
The aberrometer will send a low-level laser beam into the eye and measure the reflection, or wavefront. While the results only take seconds to capture, it takes several minutes for the wavefront map — a picture of the wavefront — to be produced. The wavefront map is unique to each patient. Some compare it to a fingerprint, because no two patients will share the same wavefront map.
Aberrations can be lower order or higher order. Lower-order aberrations are conditions that are well known by most people: astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness, to name a few. The vast majority of people with vision problems will have lower-order aberrations.
Higher-order aberrations are less well known and cause problems such as double vision or blurry vision. Before aberrometry, these were more difficult to treat and were often left undiagnosed. With the wavefront map produced by an aberrometer, both higher- and lower-order aberrations can be easily diagnosed and treated. In addition, by using a wavefront map in refractive surgeries such as LASIK, some higher-order aberrations can be permanently corrected.
All five Midwest Eye Associates locations are equipped with Z-View technology to accurately prescribe glasses and contact lenses. Contact us at one of our offices in Fenton, Wentzville, Creve Coeur, St. Peters or St. Charles, MO to find out more or Schedule an Appointment