What is the difference between a vision screening and a comprehensive routine eye exam? How often should you be seen for a routine eye exam?
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A vision screen is typically performed at a school or at a primary care provider's office. A vision screen checks for vision and eyesight. A vision screen does not check for eye diseases or the health of the inside of the eye.
"A vision screening is a quick and easy way to detect visual acuity deficiencies but it is not a replacement for a comprehensive eye exam,” says Hanna Kim, OD, Optometrist at the McFarland Boone Eye Center. “There's more to healthy eyes than 20/20 vision."
Routine comprehensive eye exams can detect damage to the eye before visual or physical changes are noticed. If eye problems are caught early enough, treatment can help prevent permanent visual sequelae.
A routine comprehensive eye exam evaluates:
During a routine eye exam, your eye doctor will thoroughly examine the eyes and perform a vision exam. An eye exam involves a series of tests to check for eye diseases. To examine the inside of your eye, a medicated eye drop will be used to dilate your eyes.
If you have your eyes dilated after your eye exam, you may experience some blurry vision and sensitivity to light. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun.
According to the American Optometric Association, the recommended frequency of eye exams changes depending on a child's age.
Children should have their eyes examined as early at 6 to 12 months of age. Premature or high-risk children should be seen before the age of 1 year.
Children should have their eyes examined at least once between the ages of 3 and 5.
Children should have their eyes examined before first grade and annually thereafter.
For adults 18 to 64, it is recommended to have an eye examination at least every two years. Adults 65 and older should have an eye examination annually. An ophthalmologist or optometrist can help you determine your own frequency of exams and risk level.
3 Common Eye Disorders
Dr. Nicolas Hamouche, McFarland Clinic Ophthalmologist, provides information about three common eye disorders: diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts.
Ophthalmologists are eye physicians with advanced medical and surgical training. An ophthalmologist will diagnose and treat eye diseases, perform eye surgery, and prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems.
An Optometrist, or doctor of optometry, is a healthcare professional that specializes in the eye and visual system. An optometrist will diagnose and treat eye diseases, and prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems.