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Cycloplegic Refraction

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Updated May 20, 2010

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Definition: A cycloplegic refraction is a procedure used to determine a person's refractive error by temporarily paralyzing the muscles that aid in focusing the eye. Cycloplegic eye drops are used to temporarily paralyze or relax the cililary body, or focusing muscle, of the eyes.

Cycloplegic refraction is sometimes used when testing the vision of young children. Children sometimes subconsciously accommodate their eyes during an eye exam, making the results invalid.

A cycloplegic refraction is also performed as part of a laser vision correction or LASIK consultation to determine the absolute refractive error before proceeding with laser eye surgery.

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