Sign up for Our Newsletter

Sign up below to get new article notifications, important news & exclusive deals from Keeler.

Illuminating the History of Streak & Spot Retinoscopes

Click to Play Audio Version of this Content
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Optometry is a very unique profession in how light is used to gain insights into the actual behaviors of human beings. And retinoscopes play an integral role in the process. Retinoscopes are instruments used to illuminate and examine the internal eye while determining the refractive power of the eye.

It works by allowing you to project a beam of light and then watch as this light is reflected back out of the patient's eye. As the light passes through the different components of the eye, the emerging light will change. Based on how much the light changes, you can determine the refractive power of the eye.The retinoscope is used to move a spot or streak of light across the patient's pupil to observe the reflective movement.

Over the years, the retinoscope has proven to be an excellent first start and highly effective way of reducing time spent on an exam without compromising the quality of the result. For patients who are young, patients who have a difficult time communicating, or those with special needs; the retinoscope has become the primary method of obtaining refraction. Continue reading to learn more about retinoscopes.

Different Types of Retinoscopes

There are two different types of retinoscopes: the spot retinoscope and streak retinoscope.

History of the Spot Retinoscope

The earliest pioneers created their own mirrors with a slit in the middle to convert the spot into a linear beam. The first electric, self-illuminated retinoscope was developed in 1901 by Wolff. This device included a tiny bulb that directed a spot of light into the eye. Later, different models resulted in the spot being reflected by a plane mirror, or less commonly, a concave mirror.

History of the Streak Retinoscope

The father of the streak retinoscope was Jack C. Copeland. After dropping and damaging the bulb on his Wolff Spot retinoscope, Copeland ‘invented’ the first variable vergeance streak retinoscope and patented it in 1927. This instrument produced a linear beam that could rotate throughout the ocular medians.

Spot Retinoscope vs Streak Retinoscope

Both types of retinoscopes can be used to perform different retinoscopy techniques. Because astigmatic eyes create a linear fundus reflex, a streak of light or rectangular beam may be more useful in detecting astigmatism — instead of a spot retinoscope.

The streak retinoscope includes both a plano mode and converging mode. For most types of retinoscopy, the streak instrument should be used in plano mode. In contrast, the spot retinoscope only has plano mode, so there’s no adjustment needed to perform many of the dynamic retinoscopy techniques.

Whenever the streak retinoscope is in plano made, it’s basically a spot with the sides cut off. The streak retinoscope offers less illumination, while the optical phenomenon taking place away from the center of the streak is obscured. It’s more difficult to observe subtle changes in the brightness or color or alterations in the cylinder. Simply put, the spot retinoscope may offer more information.

Since the development of the spot and streak retinoscope, innovation has paved the way for stronger, more robust equipment. And Keeler Ophthalmic Instruments has remained on the forefront of innovation. For more than 100 years, Keeler has been manufacturing ophthalmic instruments, and today Keeler offers several world-class ophthalmic instruments to further advance your ability to detect and diagnose conditions of the eye.

Keeler’s Professional Combi Retinoscope 3.6v

The Professional Combi Retinoscope 3.6v is the perfect solution for ophthalmologists who love both streak and spot retinoscopy. Offering the best of both worlds, you can quickly go from streak to spot by simply changing the bulb. Now equipped with LED technology in the streak beam, Keeler’s Professional Combi Retinoscope is one of the most advanced and cutting-edge retinoscopes available today.

Professional/Combi Set (Xenon & LED)

Offering the Professional Combi Retinoscope and the Xenon Professional Ophthalmoscope, the Professional/Combi Set (Xenon & LED) is designed for the ophthalmic professional who wants the benefits of both LED and Xenon technology. The Professional/Combi Set includes:

  • arrow-right
    LED Combi Retinoscope
  • arrow-right
    Xenon Professional Ophthalmoscope
  • arrow-right
    Two lithium ion handles
  • arrow-right
    Transilluminator
  • arrow-right
    Memory card
  • arrow-right
    Two stand adaptors
  • arrow-right
    Blue end cap for AA battery use with sleeve
  • arrow-right
    Case

Professional LED Lithium Set

With a LED Combi Retinoscope and a LED Professional Ophthalmoscope, the Professional LED Lithium Set is designed for ophthalmic professionals who prefer LED technology. The Professional LED Lithium Set includes:

  • arrow-right
    LED Combi Retinoscope
  • arrow-right
    LED Professional Ophthalmoscope
  • arrow-right
    Two lithium ion handles
  • arrow-right
    Transilluminator
  • arrow-right
    Memory card
  • arrow-right
    Two stand adaptors
  • arrow-right
    Blue end cap for AA battery use with sleeve
  • arrow-right
    Case

Contact Keeler Ophthalmic Instruments

With more than 100 years of innovation, Keeler Ophthalmic Instruments is proud to offer world-class retinoscopes. Whether you’re interested in spot retinoscopes or streak retinoscopes, we offer the equipment to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

Contact Keeler Ophthalmic Instruments today.

About the Author Eugene VanArsdale

Eugene is the Director of Marketing Communications at Keeler Instruments. He has been with Keeler since 1982 and is co-holder of two patents for the company. Eugene has a true passion for the eye care industry and has dedicated himself to understanding the ins and outs of the optometric and ophthalmic equipment market.