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What constitutes a complete vision exam: A look at typical testing in various practice settings

1 May 2002


A comprehensive visual exam (CVE) has never been defined in a specific universal manner. The American Optometric Association has some general guidelines, insurance companies have expectations and many State boards have recommendations, but the specifics are varied. Ultimately, optometrists do various tests according to state law, insurance plans, practice settings, their own personal beliefs and many times what financially is most reasonable. In this study we compared what tests optometrists in different practice modalities typically perform during a standard CVE. Survey forms containing all the most common tests were sent out to 400 optometrists across the country. Out of 400 surveys sent out, 113 were returned completed. Although the sample size was not large enough to make confident statistical comparisons between categories, a profile of CVE variations is represented. In viewing this data, the individual optometrist can assess how they compare to others in similar settings, as well as the state of the profession as a whole. The results suggest that some standardization in the definition of a CVE may greatly level the field as to what optometrists call a comprehensive exam and give them a higher legal and professional standing. This could also help assure consistency of patient expectations when making an appointment for a CVE.


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