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Photorefraction of the Eye

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Physics Teacher Volume 53, Number 2, ISSN 0031-921X


Photorefraction is a method to easily estimate the refractive state of the eye. The principle of photorefraction involves projecting light into the eye during flash photography and then examining the paths of light that emerge from the pupil after scattering on the back portion of the interior of the eyeball (fundus). We will explain the optical principles underlying the method for eccentric photorefraction and describe how students can perform it using current digital cameras. Our purpose is not to diagnose refractive errors reliably, but to use devices popular among young people that, in combination with an important ophthalmic context, may be successful in improving students' interest for learning optical concepts.


Colicchia, G., Wiesner, H. & Zollman, D. (2015). Photorefraction of the Eye. Physics Teacher, 53(2), 103-105. Retrieved May 19, 2019 from .

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