If you’ve had a vision screening recently, you might say, “My vision is fine! I don’t need a comprehensive eye exam.”
But a vision screening provides a limited perspective on the overall health of your eyes. It’s a bit like getting your blood pressure checked and not getting the rest of your annual physical. You’ll have useful information but not the whole picture.
Vision screenings only test your visual acuity – your ability to see clearly in the distance. Visual acuity is just one factor in your overall vision. Other factors include color vision, peripheral vision, and depth perception. The screening also doesn’t evaluate how well the eyes focus up close or work together. Most importantly, it doesn’t give any information about the health of the eyes.
Vision screenings are conducted by individuals untrained in eye health.
Vision screenings are offered in many places – at schools and health fairs, as part of a work physical, or for a driver’s license. Even if your physician conducts the screening, physicians are generalists and only have access to a certain amount of eye health training. Most don’t have the tools or knowledge to give you a complete assessment of your vision or eye health.
Vision screenings use inadequate testing equipment.
A vision screening is often limited to an eye chart across the room. Even when vision screenings are conducted in a physician’s office, physicians won’t have the extensive testing equipment of an eye doctor. They also won’t be aware of nuances such as room lighting and testing distances, which can affect test results.
Comprehensive eye exams evaluate all aspects of your vision and eye health.
Comprehensive eye exams assess your eyes externally and internally for any signs of eye disease and test your vision in a variety of ways.