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slit lamp examination

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Corneal injury

In this procedure, the doctor examines the structures in the front of the eye with a magnifying device and special light called a slit lamp. This helps show any abnormalities of the cornea, sclera, lens, conjunctiva, or eyelids.

Who is a candidate for the test? 
This is part of a routine eye examination.

How is the test performed? 
The person sits in a chair with the chin on a chin-rest. An arm with the slit lamp and a microscope swings in front of the face. The slit lamp and microscope give the doctor a magnified view of the structures at the front of the eye. A drop of fluorescent dye may be placed in the eye to make it easier to spot defects in the cornea, the transparent covering of the iris and pupil. The dye is washed away quickly by the person's tears.

What is involved in preparation for the test? 
The doctor will provide specific instructions if appropriate.

What do the test results mean? 
Abnormalities in the structures of the front of the eye may include cataracts, inflammation of the conjunctiva, or eyelids, or abnormalities in the sclera. Problems with the cornea may include ulcers, infection, degeneration, or an abnormal shape.

Author: David T. Moran, MD
Reviewer: eknowhow Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr John Hearne
Last Updated: 15/03/2005
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

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