Vision Screening vs. Comprehensive Eye Exam: What’s the Difference?

Eye Exam vs Vision Screening

Source: Flickr Photographer: H. Michael Karshis

You see the ads all the time. “Free vision screenings,” “Discounted eye exams!” But what are you actually receiving?

The Difference Between Vision Screenings and Comprehensive Eye Exam

To put in simple terms, a screening is more or less like a pop quiz at school. It’s a short, uncomplicated way to see if you actually know anything about the subject matter over all. A vision screening is similar. It is a very quick and simple way to test if there are any obvious indications of a vision or eye problem over all. A comprehensive eye exam, on the other hand, is the actual test. The way a test in school is designed to deeply investigate how much you know through different types of questions, a comprehensive exam investigates the overall health of your eye by testing different dynamics. This type of eye exam takes into account your medical history and the vision history of you and your family. It tests the external and surface parts of your eye. This in-depth exam also tests your eyesight. Doctors can determine if you need glasses or contacts through testing if you have a refractive error , usually through autorefractor to get an idea of your vision before making you read different letters through different lenses. Vision screenings, though a great surface level way to make sure nothing is obviously wrong, should never replace comprehensive eye exams.

How Often You Should Get Your Eyes Checked

Children should have their vision screened at six months of age. As of age 3, children should get their eyes examined annually. Adults should get regularly screened for the early signs of eye disease, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration. However, we strongly recommend adults schedule comprehensive eye exams as a part of their annual routine health exam. Those who have any vision changes or conditions should ask their physician how often they need to have their eyes checked. Routine eye exams are especially important for diabetics. It’s necessary to keep your eyes healthy. And at America’s Best, we’re dedicated to keeping you looking and seeing your best.

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