Routine Eye Exams vs. Medical Eye Exams: What’s the Difference?
Even if you have excellent vision, routine eye exams are the best way to preserve your vision and catch potential vision problems. And while most people never think about the different types of eye exams available, there is a difference between routine and medical eye exams.
Routine and medical eye exams do share a common purpose. Both types of exams are performed to evaluate eye health, however, each exam is performed for different reasons and the exact eye conditions they address.
Routine Eye Exams
Routine eye exams, also called regular screening eye exams, are on a yearly basis. These comprehensive exams are usually performed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. They involve a visual examination and also look for any visual abnormalities.
Key features of a routine eye exam include:
- Vision Assessment: This part of the examination tests your visual acuity. It can diagnose if you are nearsighted, farsighted, or have an astigmatism.
- Prescribe Corrective Eyewear: If you do require glasses or contact to correct your vision, your doctor will write you a prescription.
- Determine Overall Eye Health: Routine eye exams also evaluate the internal and external structures of your eyes. The cornea, retina, and surrounding tissues are closely examined, as is the conjunctiva.
- Intraocular Pressure and Optic Nerve: The optic nerves and intraocular pressure in both eyes are also examined and tested. Increased intraocular pressure may be a sign of glaucoma, so it is important to have this checked regularly.
- Referral and Follow-Up Appointments: If any issues are found, you will be referred to a specialist for further evaluation. You will also be given a follow-up appointment for future exams.
Medical Eye Exams
Medical eye exams, also referred to as diagnostic eye exams, are performed when a patient presents with a specific complaint. This type of exam goes beyond routine screening and evaluation. Medical exams are performed with the sole purpose of diagnosing a specific condition. In most cases, medical eye exams are performed by an ophthalmologist.
Key features of a medical eye exam include:
- Diagnosis and Treatment: Medical eye exams focus on diagnosing eye conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. This type of exam is much more in-depth than a routine eye exam. Specialized tests and procedures are performed to diagnose a specific condition.
- Specialized Testing: During a medical eye exam, specific tests may be performed to help make a diagnosis. These could include fluorescein angiography and optical coherence tomography, or any other specialized test needed to accurately diagnose an eye condition.
- Treatment Plan and Management: If a definitive diagnosis is made, your ophthalmologist will create a personalized treatment plan that may include prescription medications, further testing, or surgical correction.
Schedule a Consultation
Preventive care is the best way to maintain eye health. At North Suburban Eye Associates, we specialize in both routine and medical eye exams. Contact us at 781-245-5200 to schedule your exam today. We proudly serve Wakefield, Winchester, Waltham, and the surrounding Boston area.