Eye Exams vs Vision Screenings

vision screening

Routine vision screenings are often conducted by the school nurse.

Understanding the difference between eye exams and vision screenings is important not only for your vision, but for your entire family’s optical health. This is especially important for school-age children whose academic performance could be affected by poor eyesight.

What are Vision Screenings?

If you have a child in elementary school, chances are you’ve heard of vision screenings. Most states require kids in public schools to undergo vision screenings to detect any subtle issues that aren’t always clear until they’re old enough for school. This basic screening usually involves the school nurse and is used to check the child’s distance vision from 20 feet away. Think of the iconic eye chart and you’ll understand what vision screenings are.

What do Vision Screenings Overlook?

A basic vision screening cannot detect problems with near vision or color vision, so problems like farsightedness, color-blindness, and lack of eye coordination will not show up in a typical school screening. These screenings can also overlook a lot of other problems, and it’s been suggested that as many as 15-20% of vision problems are missed in school-aged kids whose parents rely on school screenings alone. Since a basic vision check can miss the bigger issues, it’s not unusual for a child to be able to pass the screening but have trouble reading things up close, like a book or homework.

What Makes Eye Exams Different?

eye doctor

Get a comprehensive eye exam from a Doctor of Optometry.

An eye examination is conducted by an ophthalmologist or optometrist, and it takes into account a person’s overall health and the health of the immediate family. The eye health professional will take a detailed account of your vision history, or begin a file on your history if you have never been before, so she has a record of any changes that occur.

The evaluation then begins with a look at your eyes, followed by an internal exam. Additional testing includes refraction, visual acuity, and visual field testing. This thorough exam can detect a variety of conditions and diagnose issues that were missed in the basic screening.

Finding an eyecare specialist is crucial to your family’s overall health. Schedule a trip to Stanton Optical when you’re ready for an eye exam and a new pair of prescription glasses.