Slit Lamp Examination

Most patients who have seen even one ophthalmologist, or optometrist, are familiar with a typical slit lamp exam.

Doctors look into the patient’s eyes using a slit lamp device. The patient sits across from the doctor at eye level. The doctor will tell the patient where to look (up, down, left, right, straight ahead), to open or close the eyes, or blink. The doctor may press on the eye lids to examine the meibomian glands, pull back the lids, shine lights, or place eye drops or dyes into the eyes to facilitate examination.

The Cleveland Clinic describes a typical slit lamp examination.

Using a slit lamp, doctors can diagnose Dry Eye, poor tear break up time, poor tear film quality, defects in the surface of the cornea or conjunctiva, the presence of demodex mites, and many other co-morbidities.

If you are sensitive to any of the drops used during the exam, ask to have your eyes irrigated with preservative free .9% sterile saline before leaving the office. If the office does not stock preservative free .9% sterile saline, you might consider either bringing your own to the next appointment, or finding a doctor who stocks it in the office.