In addition, when the slit lamp is attached to a special magnifying lens, the doctor will be able to see the retina and optic nerve located at the back of the eye. Before performing this test, they will dilate the pupils with eye drops. No special preparation is needed before a slit lamp exam. However, the eyes will dilate (widen) with dilating drops.
If your eyes are dilated, you should not drive after the test. Your vision will be blurry and your eyes will be very sensitive to light for several hours. Wear sunglasses to the exam and plan to have someone take you home. You will usually have the exam with a slit lamp in an optometry or ophthalmology office.
The test is also called a biomicroscopy. It allows the doctor to examine the eyes microscopically for any abnormalities or problems. A slit lamp exam is generally very safe, although medications that dilate the pupils carry some risks. They can increase eye pressure, leading to nausea and eye pain.
The person will sit in a chair in front of the slit lamp with the chin and forehead resting on a support. The slit lamp exam is a vital test for determining the overall health of the eye and helps detect eye diseases. The slit lamp microscope will rotate in front of the examination seat and patients will place their chin above the rest, with the forehead supported by a rounded band. The person will sit with their head resting on the microscope with a slit lamp and the doctor will place a special contact lens directly on the eyeball.
It will then turn on the slit lamp and focus a narrow, high-intensity beam of light toward the eye.