Vision Screenings vs. Eye Exams


While many people interchange the terms vision screening with eye exam, they are actually two very different things.  This means that even if you have passed a vision screening, it is still important to also get an eye exam.

What Is A Vision Screening?

Vision screens are typically designed to only detect subnormal visual acuity and major vision problems.  This short test, in which a person is asked to name the smallest letters in a chart that they can see, is usually performed by a non-professional and only takes a few minutes.  While quick and cost-effective, these tests are generally ineffective at detecting more subtle vision problems or eye diseases.

What Is An Eye Exam?

 Unlike vision screenings, eye exams are performed by a licensed eye doctor, such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist .  In addition to testing visual acuity, the eye exam also evaluates the complete health of your eyes, including checking for early signs of serious eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and detached retina.  The eye doctor can also detect signs of health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and risk of stroke, based on the blood vessels and other structures within the eye.

Do Children Need More Than A Vision Screening?

Yes!  Vision problems can have a profound effect on learning and good vision is essential in allowing kids to reach their full academic potential.  However, research has shown that up to 20% of children have vision problems, and many have undiagnosed binocular (two-eyed) vision problems that are interfering with their visual comfort and is directly impacting their performance in school.  The increased use of digital devices with illuminated screens, along with the increase of myopia and nearsightedness in children, makes it more important than ever for eye exams to be performed with kids.  Passing a vision screening may give parents a false sense that their child has perfect vision, when in fact there could still be serious problems present.

Older adults may hold the same false belief that vision screenings will provide adequate monitoring of their eyesight, and incur vision loss because of it.  Call Family Vision Development Center at 630-862-2020 to learn more about the importance of eye exams at all ages.  Click HERE to take advantage of our convenient online appointment scheduling.

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