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Wearing glasses and contacts is very common. Millions of people deal with near-sightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and many other issues. This makes regular eye exams pretty routine. But, sometimes you need a more in-depth exam. That’s where comprehensive eye exams come in. So, what exactly are these exams and how do they work?

Regular eye exam vs. a comprehensive eye exam

Typically, when you think you may need glasses, you receive a basic eye exam. Your eyes are checked to determine visual sharpness and to see if you suffer from astigmatism, myopia (near-sightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness). These routine, regular eye exams usually start when you’re a kid to determine if you need a prescription for glasses.

If you don’t have any vision problems you’ll have these exams far less than people who do.

Comprehensive eye exams check for more serious issues. These exams look for a number of different possible diseases or other vision problems. Both your medical and family history are generally used to determine whether you need this type of eye exam. For example, if you have a history of glaucoma, it’s a good idea to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.

What does a comprehensive eye exam cover?

These exams test your visual sharpness and the strengths of each individual eye. The purpose is to provide a full analysis of possible diseases and impairments. To do this, your doctor will perform a number of tests, including:

  • Color blindness test to ensure you can correctly identify different colors
  • Cover test to check for a lazy eye or another issue that could cause eye strain
  • Slit-lamp test to examine your eye structure and look for anything out of the ordinary

Routine Eye Exam vs Comprehensive Eye Exam

Each test is catered to your individual needs, based on your family and health history. Unlike routine eye exams, a comprehensive eye exam is completed by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist (and often they work together to develop a diagnosis).

Optometrists are essentially the primary source of eye care. They typically perform exams and prescribe glasses and/or contacts. Ophthalmologists are specialists who diagnose eye conditions and perform treatments and surgeries to correct the problem.

It’s recommended to get a comprehensive eye exam at least every two years. However, if you’re over the age of 60, you could benefit from frequent exams to address any issues from your changing vision.

Do you think it’s time for a comprehensive eye exam? Contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ashley Swalla at Classic Vision Care. She’ll provide experienced care that’ll leave you feeling better about your eye health.


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