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  • Prairie Eye Care

Understanding the Different Types of Eye Exams: Which One Do You Need?

Updated: Jul 3

With so many eye exams available, determining which is right for you can be challenging. Regular eye exams are essential for maintaining optimal eye health and vision, yet many people are unaware of the various eye exams available and their specific purposes.

In this blog, we'll explore the different types of eye exams, from comprehensive evaluations to specialized tests for specific eye conditions or populations. Understanding the various types of eye exams will help whether you're due for a routine check-up or seeking specialized care.

Choosing the Right Eye Exam

With various types of eye exams available, choosing the right one for your needs can take time and effort. Consider these factors when choosing an eye exam:


  • Children: Pediatric eye exams are essential for monitoring visual development and detecting early vision problems.

  • Adults: Comprehensive eye exams are recommended to assess overall eye health, detect eye conditions, and update prescriptions as needed.

Medical History

  • Individuals with Diabetes: Diabetic eye exams are crucial for detecting and managing diabetic retinopathy, a common complication of diabetes that can lead to vision loss if left untreated.

  • Family History of Eye Conditions: Individuals with a family history of eye conditions such as glaucoma or macular degeneration may benefit from specialized screenings for early detection and intervention.

Visual Symptoms

  • Blurred Vision: If you're experiencing blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night, or sudden vision changes, a comprehensive eye exam can help identify the underlying cause.

  • Eye Strain or Discomfort: If you experience eye strain, discomfort, or headaches, a routine vision test or comprehensive eye exam may be needed to determine whether corrective lenses are necessary.

Lifestyle Factors

  • Contact Lens Wearers: Contact lens exams are essential for ensuring proper fit, comfort, and vision correction with contact lenses.

  • Screen Time: Individuals who spend a significant amount of time on digital devices may benefit from specialized assessments for computer vision syndrome or dry eye syndrome.

Comprehensive Eye Exams

Comprehensive eye exams are the cornerstone of preventive eye care. They thoroughly assess eye health and visual function. During a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist or ophthalmologist will conduct tests and evaluations to assess your overall eye health and detect potential issues.

Components of a Comprehensive Eye Exam

Vision Testing: 

Comprehensive eye exams include tests to assess your visual acuity, or clarity of vision, at various distances. These tests may involve reading letters on a chart (Snellen chart) or identifying symbols at a distance.

Eye Health Evaluation: 

Your eye care provider will examine the external and internal structures of your eyes to assess for signs of eye conditions or diseases. This may include evaluating the health of your retina, optic nerve, and other ocular structures.

Visual Function Assessment: 

Comprehensive eye exams may also include tests to evaluate your visual function, such as depth perception, colour vision, and peripheral vision. These assessments help your eye care provider understand how well your eyes work together and detect functional abnormalities.

Contact Lens Exams

Contact lens exams are specialized eye exams designed to evaluate your eyes' suitability for contact lens wear and ensure proper fit, comfort, and vision correction. These exams are for new and existing wearers who may need a prescription update or have experienced changes in their eye health.

Components of a Contact Lens Exam

  • Corneal Evaluation: Your eye care provider will assess the curvature and health of your cornea to determine the appropriate type of contact lenses for your eyes.

  • Tear Film Assessment: A tear film assessment may be conducted to evaluate the quality and quantity of tears in your eyes, as contact lenses require adequate moisture for comfortable wear.

  • Contact Lens Fitting: During the contact lens fitting process, your eye care provider will select contact lenses that fit your eyes properly and provide optimal vision correction. This may involve trying on different lens sizes, materials, and designs to find the most suitable option for your needs.

  • Visual Acuity Testing: Visual acuity testing ensures that contact lenses provide clear and comfortable vision at all distances.

Pediatric Eye Exams

Pediatric eye exams are specialized examinations that assess children's eye health and vision from infancy through adolescence. They detect and address vision problems or eye conditions that affect a child's visual development and overall well-being.

Components of Pediatric Eye Exams

  • Vision Screening: Vision screening tests assess visual acuity and detect any signs of refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. They are often performed using age-appropriate charts or tools designed for children.

  • Eye Alignment Evaluation: Pediatric eye exams may include eye alignment and coordination assessments to detect conditions such as strabismus (eye misalignment) or amblyopia (lazy eye).

  • Visual Development Assessment: Pediatric eye exams also evaluate visual development milestones to ensure that a child's eyes are developing properly and that potential issues are identified and addressed early on.

Specialized Eye Exams

Specialized eye exams address specific eye conditions, populations, or concerns requiring specialized testing or interventions. These exams may include additional tests or assessments to provide comprehensive care for individuals with unique eye health needs.

Types of Specialized Eye Exams

Glaucoma Screening

 Glaucoma screening exams are specialized tests designed to detect signs of glaucoma, a group of eye conditions that can cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to vision loss if left untreated. These exams may include intraocular pressure measurement, optic nerve evaluation, and visual field testing.

Diabetic Eye Exams

 Diabetic eye exams are specialized evaluations for individuals with diabetes to assess for signs of diabetic retinopathy, a serious eye condition that can lead to vision loss. These exams may include dilated eye exams, retinal imaging, and assessment of blood vessel changes in the retina.

Low Vision Evaluations

 Low vision evaluations are specialized assessments for individuals with significant vision impairment that cannot be fully corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. These evaluations focus on maximizing remaining vision through low vision aids, adaptive devices, and vision rehabilitation services.

You can preserve your vision and overall eye health by prioritizing regular eye exams and consulting with your eye care provider. Remember to consider age, medical history, visual symptoms, and lifestyle factors when choosing the right eye exam for your needs.

At Prairie Eye Care, we provide comprehensive eye care services tailored to your unique needs and concerns. Contact us today to schedule your next eye exam and take the first step towards clearer vision and healthier eyes.

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