Skip to main content



Home » Eye Exam Q&A » Common Tests » Autorefractor


If you’ve discovered you might need vision correction during your eye examination, it’s vital to determine just how “much” your eyes need to be corrected with lenses or contact lenses. This is called measuring your “refraction.

Autorefractors automatically measure this value during an eye examination, but are not truly accurate.

While seated with your chin in a stabilizing chin rest, you’ll be asked to focus on an image or point of light. The autorefractor helps determine the correction needed to place your “focus point” on top of the retina, the light-sensitive area at the back of the eye responsible for correctly processing images.

The measurement taken by an autorefractor can NOT be translated into a prescription for eyeglasses.

In eye exams for small children, or for people with special needs who may have trouble sitting calmly during an extended exam, or verbally describing their vision problems—autorefractors give measurements used to determine vision correction needs when other, more accurate methods, are not available.

How do autorefractors work?

Autorefractors only take a few moments to help determine each measurement for each eye. What’s more, autorefractors are used in conjunction with a machine called a phoroptor to manually switch lenses in front of your eyes to provide ideal vision correction.