This is a hand-held tool the eye doctor uses to estimate refractive error such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.  This tool is challenging to learn and not as accurate as a true phoropter refraction. However, this is often the only method of determining a glasses prescription in a young child or non-verbal patient who can’t give feedback while reading an eye chart. The retinoscope can also be used to determine a baseline prescription before refining the glasses prescription using the phoropter.

Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:


  1. Hi! Doc Tim.
    Your video on loose lens retinoscopy has been a great help to me. I do retinoscopy with sleeve down position (I use Keeler retinoscope).
    Please let me know when and why sleeve up position is used.
    Optom Anant


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