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A refraction test is performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist to determine if you have a refractive error in your vision causing you to be nearsighted, farsighted or have an astigmatism. These refractive errors can cause your vision to be blurry at different distances. 

  • Nearsighted people see clearly up close but have blurry distance vision.
  • Farsighted people see clearly far away but have blurry up-close vision.
  • Those with astigmatism may have blurry vision at all distances.

Eye doctors perform refraction tests to determine what strength of prescription you need for glasses or contact lenses in order to address your particular refractive error so you can see clearly. During the test, your doctor assesses how light entering your eyes bends and where that light lands in relation to your retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye). This can be done by shining a light into your eyes or with computerized technology (phoropter).

  • In nearsighted eyes, light refracts in front of your retina, causing blurry distance vision.
  • In farsighted eyes, light refracts behind the retina, causing blurry up-close vision.
  • In eyes with astigmatism, light is scattered, causing overall blurry vision.

Refraction tests are done to diagnose refractive errors and also to determine if you need a new lens prescription.

Medicare Coverage

Refraction tests are typically associated with annual eye exams. Original Medicare does not cover eye exams, so you will be responsible for the fees associated with refraction tests. In addition, Original Medicare does not cover the cost of glasses or contacts.

There are other plans that may cover this type of test such as Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C). Before you enroll in one of these plans, make sure they cover the services for which you are interested. You may still be responsible for a co-payment for certain types of tests, including a refraction test.

Eye Exams are Important

Many eye conditions do not have symptoms in the early stages. It is important to have regular eye exams to stay proactive with your eye health. Our team at Fisher-Swale-Nicholson Eye Center would be honored to be your eye care provider. The sooner we can diagnose vision problems, the sooner we can begin treatments to protect your eyesight.

If you have worn glasses or contacts for a while, it’s important to have these refraction tests to monitor any additional refractive errors that may be developing. Even slight changes in your prescription can make a huge difference in your ability to see more clearly and feel confident moving about your daily life.

Don’t wait to schedule an eye exam until you or your loved one is experiencing vision difficulties. Contact us today to schedule an eye exam in Bourbonnais, IL. 


352 Brown Blvd.
Bourbonnais, IL 60914


608 Ladd St.
Pontiac, IL 61764