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Patients sometimes assume that a routine eye exam is the same as an annual comprehensive eye exam, which is simply not true. The main difference between the two exams is that a routine eye exam is looking for basic issues, while a comprehensive eye exam rules out more extensive problems that may be harder to detect. Just because you’ve had a routine eye exam does not mean that you should skip your comprehensive eye exam.

It is common for routine eye exams to be performed at schools, workplaces, or at eyeglass stores as a measure to detect general vision problems. However, if you really want to understand the health of your eyes, then you will need an eye medical doctor in order to rule out other more advanced issues.

Routine Eye Exam

A routine eye exam is a basic check on your vision. This type of exam will determine if you have a simple issue such as myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism. Essentially, a routine eye exam will determine if you need some type of corrective lens in order to improve your vision. For many people, this is an excellent basic exam that can help them with lower level vision problems that are causing issues with everyday life.

You should expect this exam to be fairly quick and only last about thirty minutes or so. If you suspect you may have a vision problem, then a routine eye exam can help determine that. However, this type of exam is not intended to rule out major diseases that occur in the eye. 


Comprehensive Eye Exam

A comprehensive eye exam is much more thorough than a routine eye exam and takes longer to complete, usually about one hour. During this exam, the eye doctor is not just looking at your current state of vision but is also looking for any signs of disease in your eyes. There are many tests involved in a comprehensive eye exam which can include:

  • Pupil dilation test
  • Glaucoma puff test
  • Vision tests
  • Refraction tests
  • Depth perception tests

There are other tests that may be performed as needed. Your eye doctor will be able to walk you through what to expect during your comprehensive eye exam.

Everybody should have a comprehensive exam completed every two years. However, children and people over 60 should have them done annually since the eye can change so much during these stages of life.

One of the most beneficial aspects of receiving proper eye care is that early detection could help you treat or avoid certain diseases. When it comes to protecting your vision and health, early detection can make a world of difference.



Would you like to learn more about routine and comprehensive eye exams? We would love to help! To schedule your exam, please contact our office for more information. We make it our priority to provide only the best care to our valued patients. Reach out to us to schedule your next visit with us!