Updated on  February 21, 2024
4 min read

What is a Digital Eye Exam?

6 sources cited
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You may have had a digital eye exam without even knowing it. Eye care centers all over the country are using this new technology. 

Digital eye exams help doctors detect vision problems faster and more accurately than ever.

A digital eye exam covers the same aspects as a traditional eye exam. Depending on the eye care office, digital exam services may include:

  • Measuring visual acuity
  • Determining your vision prescription
  • Mapping your corneal topography to fit contact lenses
  • Retinal imaging

Digital devices and automated tests are often used as part of a standard eye examination. This cutting-edge technology can determine your optical prescription and check for underlying eye diseases.

digital eye exam

State-of-the-art digital images allow eye doctors to provide the most precise prescription measurements. This is essential for getting the perfect eyeglasses prescriptions or contact lens prescriptions.  

Digital Eye Exams vs. Traditional Eye Exams

Digital eye exams are quickly replacing traditional eye exams. They’re both valid ways to perform comprehensive eye exams that lead to accurate prescriptions.

The equipment used is the main difference between a digital and traditional eye exam:

  • Digital equipment is much faster than a doctor taking manual measurements 
  • Digital images are better at identifying underlying eye conditions

A digital eye exam isn’t the same as a virtual eye exam. You cannot take a digital eye exam at home. You must visit a licensed optometrist.

How Does Digital Equipment Work?

A digital phoropter replaces the large mask containing different lenses. The new equipment uses cutting-edge software to produce an initial prescription. This means your optometrist doesn’t have to switch out the lenses to see, which provides sharper vision.

Digital equipment results in a faster refraction test. This is how an optometrist determines your prescription for glasses. The digital measurements also register your cornea’s curvature, which is needed for contact lens prescriptions.

What are the Advantages of a Digital Eye Exam?

Digital eye exams typically provide the most accurate optical measurements.

A thoroughly performed traditional eye exam can still be just as accurate for all intents and purposes. However, this takes a lot more time and effort on the part of the optometrist.

Digital eye exams are also superior in identifying certain conditions, such as:

Digital exams provide a precise map of your visual system. This helps create a more comprehensive understanding of your eye health.

Advanced digital eye exam technology takes the guesswork out of measurements. It creates a blueprint of your eye that’s much more reliable than traditional eye exams.

How Much Does a Digital Eye Exam Cost?

Depending on location, a digital eye exam costs between $50 and $200. This is about the same price range as a traditional comprehensive vision exam.

Some eye exams can cost as much as $400 out-of-pocket. However, more affordable options are available. Vision insurance can help you avoid paying high optometry costs, including eyewear prescriptions. 

What is a Clarifye Eye Exam?

Clarifye is a comprehensive digital eye exam from LensCrafters. It measures the optical characteristics of a person’s visual system to an incredible degree. Clarifye is capable of pinpointing even the tiniest changes that occur over time. 

It does this by measuring more of the visual system rather than a small area of the pupil. This intricate mapping creates a digital “fingerprint” for the eye, including the cornea’s exact curvature and measurement.

Clarifye helps diagnose or monitor other health issues, such as diabetes or glaucoma. It can also provide insight into common night vision issues affecting night driving, minimizing starbursts and halos around lights.

How Much Does a Clarifye Eye Exam Cost?

Clarifye eye exams are typically the same price as other eye exams. The lack of traditional instruments and the use of software to perform retinal and corneal examinations help keep costs as low as traditional eye exams. 

Where To Get a Digital Eye Exam

Almost all vision chains and private optical practices offer digital eye exams. However, traditional equipment is often still available. To find out if a location uses digital technology, check their website or contact the office. 

Clarifye eye exams are provided solely by Lenscrafters. Each Lenscrafters location features an independent optometrist onsite or in an adjacent store to conduct licensed exams. Clarifye has been available since 2016. 

There are more than 1,050 locations across the United States and Canada. Nearly all of them offer their proprietary digital eye exam services. 


A digital eye exam uses advanced technology to help optometrists perform comprehensive eye health assessments. Digital equipment can determine your current prescription faster and more accurately than manual measurements.

Your eye doctor may use digital technology to screen for eye health issues like glaucoma and cataracts.

A digital eye exam costs about the same as a traditional exam. This can range from $50 to $200 based on location.

Updated on  February 21, 2024
6 sources cited
Updated on  February 21, 2024
  1. Refractive Errors.” National Eye Institute, 2022.

  2. Finding an Eye Doctor.” National Eye Institute, 2021.

  3. Boyd, K. “Eye Exam and Vision Testing Basics.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2022.

  4. Muijzer, MB, et al. “The Evaluation of a Web-Based Tool for Measuring the Uncorrected Visual Acuity and Refractive Error in Keratoconus Eyes: A Method Comparison Study.” PLOS ONE, 2021.

  5. Claessens, JL, et al. “The Evolution of a Novel Tool to Remotely Assess Visual Acuity in Chronic Uveitis Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” medRxiv, 2021.

  6. Piech, C, et al. “The Stanford Acuity Test: A Precise Vision Test Using Bayesian Techniques and a Discovery in Human Visual Response.” Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 2020.

The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.