What equipment is used in a standard eye care test

Author: Staci Hearnshaw
Author: Staci Hearnshaw
Posting date: 14/02/2023

When you think back to your last eye care test, what does your memory conjure up? You probably remember being asked to look at a Snellen eye chart and list off the letters as they decrease in size with each new row. How about the equipment? You’ll have seen a fair few devices fitted around the room and you might have wondered what each one is used for.

What equipment can you find across all Vision Express stores? 

Optometry is an advanced field of medicine and our understanding of vision only continues to grow. One reason we're able to continue learning more about the human eye is because of the equipment available to us. There are a number of different devices that all optometrists at Vision Express are trained to use and here's a quick summary of them.

Slit Lamp

The eye health checks will normally start with a slit lamp, which is a microscope that directs a beam of light into the eye to get a full picture of the sclera, cornea, lens, retina and optic nerve.

Visual Fields

The visual field equipment we use may differ from one store to the next, but the purpose is the same, regardless of the name. Optometrists will use this equipment to test the range of our vision, checking for any blind spots. If there's any change in peripheral vision from one test to the next, optometrists will know to watch out for things such as glaucoma, diabetes, and optic nerve damage.

eye test

Fundus Camera

You can think of a fundus camera as a microscope with a camera built in. Sounds pretty high tech right? While this device is used in a standard eye care test, it is some pretty nifty equipment that lets optoms take a picture of the interior surface of the eye, also known as the fundus.

Combined Keratometer, AutoRefractor and Tonometer

Think of this piece of equipment as a three-in-one, that uses high-speed measurements to paint a picture of the curvature of the cornea, how a person's visual system refracts light, and their intraocular pressure (IOP).

These tests are used by Optometrists for contact lens fitting, determining whether a patient is a good candidate for laser eye surgery, and checking for cataracts, among many other things. A lot of power is packed into just one device, which saves us space in our testing room.

Contact Tonometers

While non-contact tonometers will use a puff of air to test the pressure of your eye, contact tonometers rely on contact with the eye, as the name would suggest. A flat-tipped probe is carefully pressed against an anaethetised eye surface to get a more accurate measurement of the IOP. Again, this is used to determine if a patient is at risk of glaucoma or if they are experiencing loss of peripheral vision, blurred vision or halos around lights. While this isn’t used for most eye tests; it is a vital tool if referral may be required.

It’s our ambition is to have the following equipment in all stores by the end of 2023 

Optometry is an ever-evolving field, and we're always looking to bring the latest technology to our stores. Here are a few devices we've started to introduce to our standard testing rooms.


Until recently, optometrists could only check someone’s spectacle prescription by selecting lenses from a box and inserting them into a specially designed frame.

Many stores now have the option of using an Auto-Phoroptor which uses a computer to change the lenses on a free standing head unit. This allow for a more comfortable experience for the customer and a huge variety of lens options for the Optometrist to use at the click of a button!

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) 

An OCT scan is an additional, more in depth test on top of the standard eye examination. The machine gives our optometrists a detailed view of the inner eye, including the layers of the retina. The digital retinal photography used is very similar to that of a standard eye test, however, this more advanced 3D imagery is used when testing for more serious eye conditions. These are available in a lot of our Vision Express stores already and we plan for OCT machines to be available in all stores by the end of 2023.

Are you passionate about vision?

Taking care of people’s sight is one of the most important jobs out there. Which is why we’re proud to do what we do. But we couldn’t do it without talented optometry professionals who are passionate about vision.

Now that you know the equipment that we use in our stores, perhaps you want to learn more about the people behind the lens? Take Graeme for example. He's built an impressive career here at Vision Express, and optometry is more than just a job to him. It’s a chance to gain professional qualifications and use those to help people see better. Does it get much better than that?

If you’re feeling inspired, head straight to our optometrist vacancies, dispensing optician jobs or contact lens optician roles. Or explore our retail assistant roles to learn more about how you could start a career with us.