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Comprehensive Eye Exams vs. Vision Screenings: What's The Difference?

Do you know how well your child sees? When was the last time he or she had his/her eyes checked? Regular vision screenings are very important to help monitor your child’s development and detect any vision problems early on. However, if a problem were to be detected, your child would need a comprehensive eye exam. So, what’s the difference between a comprehensive eye exam and a regular vision screening? It’s not uncommon for parents to confuse the two. Here’s what you should know about each: A regular vision screening is often conducted by your pediatrician during regular check-ups or at schools by the school nurse. It’s a relatively short screening that helps indicate if any potential vision problems may be present. If a child passes the vision screening, no further examination is needed. If your child does not pass the vision screening , you should then make an appointment for a comprehensive eye examination with an eye care specialist. A comprehensive eye examination will determine the exact medical or vision problem the child has. Appropriate medical or vision care can then be started. A comprehensive eye examination takes about 60-90 minutes to complete and is performed by an ophthalmologist (a medical and surgical eye doctor) or an optometrist (a doctor of optometry). It’s important to start with regular vision screenings as recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and the American Academy of Pediatrics. For more information about the Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefit for children, regarding vision care, visit here. To learn more about Texas Children’s Hospital Department of Ophthalmology, visit here.
Author
Dr. Evelyn Paysse, Ophthalmologist