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Back to School: Vision Screenings vs. Comprehensive Eye Exams

  • Post category:Eye Exam

Counting on the basic vision screening offered at most schools as an indicator for a more in-depth exam by an eye doctor? Now is the time to reconsider and look at scheduling a comprehensive eye exam for several reasons. While those screenings mean well, oftentimes they miss the mark. We all want to give our children the best start to a new school year and now more than ever, any step we can take to establish a normal routine—including regular check-ups—is a good thing. Let’s look closer at the difference between vision screenings vs. comprehensive eye exams.

Vision Screenings

Vision screenings are often conducted by schools as a way to detect if further examination by an eye doctor is recommended. Sound vague? It is. It’s a “screening,” and in this case, it’s a brief assessment.

Even the most highly trained technicians are limited by the tools on-hand, no matter how high-tech those may be. Unfortunately, it also means that about one-third of children with eye or vision problems slip through the cracks, according to a study funded by the National Eye Institute. And with the changes in how school is happening this year be it traditional, remote or a blended school setting, your child may not be offered this preliminary screening until later in the year.

Comprehensive Eye Exams

Once again, this is what it sounds like—a detailed, through and complete eye exam. Comprehensive eye exams go beyond just testing visual acuity, or the ability to focus, which is often the only thing checked during a vision screening.

They also include things like reviewing medical and vision history, a full eye health evaluation which checks all external eye parts and more, and a visual field test. With comprehensive eye exams, even the smallest change in vision or overall eye health can be found and a solution can be offered. Even with your eyes, early detection is always a good rule of thumb.

Still Deciding?

In considering vision screenings vs. comprehensive eye exams, think about the fact that you want your children to succeed in school. One way to ensure they keep their eyes on the prize and enjoy academic success is making sure they can easily see and read the material being presented. Even in the remote setting models of learning, screen time affects vision, so it is vital parents continue to monitor eye health through annual comprehensive exams. Eye health is also linked to other physical benefits like improved concentration and better attitudes.


While vision screenings do serve a good purpose, it’s important to focus on more than just how near or far your child can see. That’s why you should schedule your child’s back-to-school comprehensive eye exam with your local Mississippi Eye Care clinic today! Still have questions about eye health or exams? Find your answers in our blog.