Vision Screening vs. Comprehensive Eye Exams

eye exams_downtown eye careIf it’s been awhile since you’ve been to the eye doctor, you may not know what to expect when you come in for an appointment. For example, did you know that there’s a big difference between vision screening and comprehensive eye exams? If you’re not sure what the differences are between these two examinations, this article will explain everything you need to know. Our team at Downtown Eye Care in Des Moines, IA is here to serve all of your eye health needs, from eye exams to glasses and contacts to surgical procedures for correcting your vision.

What is a Vision Screening?

Simply put, a vision screening is a preliminary examination of your eyes that can detect vision problems. A vision screening can also detect potential vision problems, but it can’t tell you exactly what is wrong. Vision screenings are helpful as a way to determine whether you should immediately see an ophthalmologist like Dr. Barbara Evans, M.D. at Downtown Eye Care for a full comprehensive eye exam.

What are Comprehensive Eye Exams?

Comprehensive eye exams are performed by ophthalmologists or optometrists and generally take longer to complete than a simple vision screening. There are many steps involved in a comprehensive eye exam, including questionnaires about your medical and vision history, an evaluation of your eye health, and various vision tests that can determine exactly what’s causing your eye problems.

Here are the components of a comprehensive eye exam broken down into more detail:

  • Your Health and Vision History: This step in the eye exam goes over your overall health, medications you’re taking, and your risk factors for eye problems (high blood pressure, sun exposure, diabetes, and smoking). We also cover recent changes in your vision, your family history of eye diseases, eye treatments or surgeries you’ve undergone in the past, and when you had your last eye exam.
  • Your Eye Health Evaluation: Dr. Evans will examine your eyes externally, paying close attention to the whites of your eyes, irises, pupils, eyelids, and eyelashes. In the next step of an eye health evaluation, special drops are used to dilate your eyes, allowing Dr. Evans to observe the internal health of your eyes. Finally, a fluid pressure test is administered to check for signs of glaucoma.
  • Visual Acuity Testing: Also known as refraction, this is the test that helps determine your glasses or contact lens prescription. Using a phoropter, Dr. Evans will test a series of different lenses to determine your best prescription.
  • Visual Field Testing: This test determines your peripheral (or side) vision and can either be done manually or with a computerized system.

Call Downtown Eye Care at (515) 281-0902

Where vision screening is a relatively fast process that’s effective for detecting vision problems, only comprehensive eye exams can diagnose the specific cause of your eye issue. Give our team at Downtown Eye Care in Des Moines a call today at (515) 281-0902 to schedule an appointment for your eye exam!