The following article addresses the difference between a vision screening, which is limited in scope and in what it can detect, and a comprehensive eye examination from an optometrist, which is an essential aspect for testing visual acuity and maintaining eye health.
Vision screening is a limited tool that can be used in certain instances, to determine whether further visual assessment is needed. It is never a substitute for a comprehensive examination from an optometrist or medical ophthalmologist to assess overall eye health.
They are used to identify potential problems, particularly among children, who might require further evaluation by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
They are not diagnostic tools. Nor are those who generally administer them qualified to do so. Studies show that a vision screening provides less than 4% of what is necessary for a comprehensive eye exam.
Who is Qualified to Give Vision Screening?
Such screening cannot:
Eye examinations include simple tests to assess general vision, as well as more comprehensive examinations for overall eye health. Depending on how extensive the testing an exam can take up to 90 minutes. Exams for the young and healthy are generally shorter in duration and should average under 30 minutes. Many experts recommend that children have a comprehensive examination before beginning grade school, followed by subsequent annual testing. Common tests include:
Who is Qualified to Give An Examination?
Depending on age, health, risk factors, and family history, the length can range from 30 to 90 minutes. Diabetics, the elderly, those with high blood pressure, and other health conditions require more extensive testing.
Comprehensive testing involves administering drops to dilate the pupils, which enables a thorough assessment of the entire region
Standard methods include:
As a preliminary tool, vision screening may occasionally identify certain eye complications, particularly in the case of schoolchildren. However, their ability to do so is statistically poor. The American Optometric Association (AOA) emphasizes that vision screenings are not the same as comprehensive eye examinations, and that extensive eye tests are essential for children to have success in school.
Some key statistics detailing the poor track record of vision screening include the following: