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Slit Lamp Examination


The slit lamp exam uses an instrument that provides a magnified, three-dimensional (3-D) view of the different parts of the eye.

Slit lamp examination
  • The eyelashes, eyelids, and lining of the eyelids (conjunctiva) look normal.
  • All of the structures inside of the eye look normal.
  • Cataracts camera.gif are seen.
  • Changes are found in the cornea camera.gif, such as an irregularly shaped cornea or a corneal scratch (abrasion), ulcer, or infection
  • A foreign body, such as a metal fragment, is found.
  • Infection, such as iritis or conjunctivitis camera.gif, is found.
  • Bleeding is seen between the iris camera.gif and cornea (hyphema) from a sudden break in a blood vessel or as a result of an injury to the eye.
  • Signs of glaucoma are seen.

What Affects the Test

The inability to remain still throughout a slit lamp examination may make it hard for your doctor to check your eyes.

What To Think About

  • Other eye tests may be done routinely along with a slit lamp examination, including ophthalmoscopy, vision testing, and tonometry testing for glaucoma.
  • A test called gonioscopy may be done during a slit lamp examination to detect certain types of glaucoma. A special contact lens (goniolens) is placed on your eye and a narrow beam of bright light is directed into your eye while the doctor looks through the slit lamp at the drainage angle in your eye. To learn more, see the topic Gonioscopy.
  • The doctor may use a high-powered lens to examine the vitreous gel camera.gif and retina camera.gif of the eye.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerChristopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Last RevisedJanuary 9, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 09, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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