Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Synoptophore


Synoptophore is an orthoptic instrument used for diagnostics and therapy, designed to detect problems with binocular vision.

The device has two tubes with a right-angled bend. Everything is mounted on a stable base to allow easy operation and accurate results. Each of the two tubes contains a light source and a reflecting mirror at the right-angle bend. The +6.5 D eyepiece is located at the inner end. Both tubes can move separately using knobs located around a semicircular scale.

Synoptophore Use Case

The synoptophore has been the standard instrument for orthotic management. Doctors have used it to identify and treat ocular motility disorders with excellent efficiency. It is designed to assess the patient’s binocular vision and identify the treatments needed.

The instrument is especially useful for detecting objective and subjective angles of deviation, cyclophoria, hyperphoria, and other problems with the strabismus.

It’s an essential tool for the identification and treatment of binocular abnormalities. It practically helps train ocular muscles to improve visual projections in both eyes.

How Does Synoptophore Work?

The patient puts his eyes above the two cylindrical tubes with a mirrored right bend. Each eyepiece has a +6.50 D lens set to test vision from a distance of about 6 meters. The doctor then inserts numerous pictures into the slide carrier located on the outer side of each tube. The images then move in relation to each other until they form a unified picture.

Once the pictures fuse together, the doctor can measure horizontal, vertical, and torsional misalignments simultaneously. Then, depending on the results, the patient’s vision is graded, and the grades are used to help identify the issue with binocular vision.

Grades of Binocular Vision

There are many different deviations and potential eye misalignments. The synoptophore helps identify the specific problem allowing the doctors to come up with the best solution possible. The issues are divided into three primary categories:

Grade 1 – The patient is tested for simultaneous perception. The test usually includes a bird in a cage or a plane taking off. Each eye sees one part of the picture; for example, one eye sees the cage, and the other one sees the bird.

Grade 2 – After the first stage, the patient’s ability to produce a composite picture from two similar images is tested further. It’s essential to see how the patient fuses the two images together to identify potential problems with binocular vision.

Grade 3 – Lastly, the patient’s stereopsis is tested. The key here is to identify the patient’s ability to identify depth. The test includes two pictures that show the same objects from slightly different angles.