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How Much Is an Eye Exam?

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A young woman taking an acuity test and a male optometrist pointing to a spot on a Snellen chart.

Eye exams are essential for maintaining good vision and eye health. During an eye exam, an optometrist will assess your vision, check the health of your eyes, and look for any signs of eye diseases or conditions.

The cost of an eye exam can vary depending on the services offered and where you go, but it typically ranges from $60–$80. However, some eye exams can cost up to $140 or more.

The Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are important for several reasons. First and foremost, they’re a part of keeping your vision clear and your eyes healthy. During an eye exam, your eye doctor will not only check your ability to see clearly at various distances but also your eye health.

Your optometrist can use eye exams to track and diagnose eye conditions such as:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Macular degeneration
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Diabetic eye disease

Catching these conditions early is crucial in preventing or minimizing vision loss.

In addition to checking your vision and eye health, an eye exam can also uncover other health issues

For example, during an eye exam, your optometrist may notice signs of high blood pressure, diabetes, and other diseases that affect your overall health. By catching these conditions early, you can get the treatment you need to prevent more severe complications.

The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) suggests the following eye exam schedule:

  • Infants should have their first eye exam at 6–9 months
  • Children should have another exam between the ages of 2–5
  • Children should have annual exams between the ages of 6—19
  • Adults between the ages of 20–39 should have an eye exam every 2–3 years 
  • Adults between the ages of 40–64 should have an exam every 2 years 
  • Adults over 65 should have an eye exam every year

Your optometrist might suggest more frequent visits if you are at high risk of eye diseases.

A patient sitting in front of a slit lamp and an eye care professional examining the health condition of her eyes.

Types of Eye Exams

There are several different types of eye exams, each with its own purpose and, subsequently, its own cost.

Comprehensive Eye Exams

A comprehensive eye exam is essential for maintaining eye health. During a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will check your vision, eye health, and eye muscles. They may also dilate your pupils to get a better look at the back of your eye.

Sight Tests

A sight test, sometimes called a vision screening, is part of a comprehensive eye exam but can also be done independently. This kind of test doesn’t have to be done by a trained vision professional and will typically only measure sight regarding prescription or lens power. A school might provide vision screenings to test children’s eyesight.

Contact Lens Exam and Fittings

A contact lens exam is another type of eye exam that’s necessary if you wear contact lenses. During this exam, your eye doctor will measure your eyes to ensure a proper fit for your contact lenses. They’ll also check your eyes’ health to ensure they can tolerate wearing contacts, as some conditions, such as keratoconus, may make contacts difficult to wear.

Pediatric Eye Exams

Children can have their vision and eye health checked with a pediatric eye exam. These exams can help to catch vision problems early and ensure that your child sees clearly, which is vital for their development and learning.

Diabetic Eye Exams

Many people might not realize how diabetes can affect your vision. Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, leading to a condition known as diabetic retinopathy and increasing the risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.

If you have diabetes, your optometrist might recommend a specialized diabetic eye exam focusing on high-risk conditions. Annual eye exams are recommended for people with diabetes at all ages. 

What Happens During an Eye Exam?

During an eye exam, your optometrist will typically start by asking you about your medical history and any vision or eye problems you may have had in the past. They’ll then perform a series of tests utilizing specialized technology to check your vision and eye health.

One of the most common tests is the visual acuity test, which involves reading letters on an eye chart from a distance. This test can help determine if you have any refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.

Another standard test is the refraction test, which may involve your optometrist using an autorefractor to see the light reflecting off your retina. Your eye doctor may then use a phoropter to run you through a series of lenses. By telling them which lens gives you clearer vision, your optometrist can determine the correct prescription for your glasses or contact lenses.

At Southwood Eyecare, we can use optomap imaging technology to create a detailed map of the retina. Many eye diseases first appear in your retina, so viewing the eye’s internal structure can help us detect early signs of macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal detachment.

Since high fluid pressure can indicate glaucoma, we may also use tonometry instruments to measure your eye pressure.

Affordable Eye Care

Overall, an eye exam is an integral part of helping keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear. While the cost of an eye exam can vary, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your eyes are in good shape.If it’s time for your next eye exam and you’re still curious about the services offered by Southwood Eyecare, contact our team. We’ll be happy to help you protect your vision!

Written by Dr. Shmyla Chaudhery

Dr. Shmyla Chaudhery was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Manitoba and later completed the Doctor of Optometry program at Illinois College of Optometry graduating with Magna Cum Laude honours. Dr. Chaudhery is also a member of the Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honor Society and the Tomb and Key Honor Fraternity. She has experience with pediatric eye exams, ocular disease, specialty contact lenses, and vision therapy. During her spare time, she enjoys playing badminton and spending time with her husband and kids.
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