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 an individual leads to inconsistant results. People will sometimes subconsciously accommodate their eyes during an eye exam, making the results invalid. When this happens, We have to stop the eyes’ ability to auto-focus or accommodate in order to determine a person’s true refractive error.
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.