A slit lamp is a microscope with a bright light that is used during an eye exam. It allows the ophthalmologist to take a closer look at the different structures in the front and inside of the eye. It is a key tool for determining eye health and detecting eye diseases. The slit lamp exam is a very common non-invasive test used for diagnostic purposes.
It allows the doctor to review all major sections of the eye and provides a way to detect eye diseases early on before lasting consequences occur. The eye doctor may use a microscope called a slit lamp to examine the front of the eye. The microscope focuses a narrow, intense line of light on the eye. The slit lamp provides an enlarged 3D view of the eye and allows the doctor to detect any minor abnormalities.
Used with special lenses placed close to the eye, the slit lamp also provides detailed views of the back of the eye. The slit lamp allows the eye doctor to point a beam (or slit) of light at an angle at specific parts of the eye. The person will sit in a chair in front of the slit lamp with the chin and forehead resting on a support. 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.
The slit lamp exam is particularly important for this purpose, as it allows the eye doctor to examine all major areas of the eye. It will then turn on the slit lamp and focus a narrow, high-intensity beam of light toward the eye. A slit lamp exam is generally very safe, although medications that dilate the pupils carry some risks.