December 28, 2018
How often you should have your eyes examined depends on a number of factors, like your age, genetics, risk factors, and overall eye health. As a rule of thumb, most patients should have a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years. Even if you are not experiencing any symptoms, we still recommend routine eye exams. Regular eye exams can help us diagnose and treat medical conditions in their earliest stages.
To help you have a better understanding about when you should have an eye exam, the experienced eye care experts at East Main Vision Clinic have put together this guideline on recommended eye exam schedules for patients without symptoms, depending on their age and risk factors.
What Happens During an Eye Exam?
During an eye exam, we will perform a number of tests to assess your vision and detect eye diseases. Depending on which aspect of your vision and eye health we are evaluating, we will use different instruments and techniques.
We will begin by taking a thorough history of any medical or vision problems you might be experiencing. Your eye exam might also include the following:
• Measurement of your visual acuity to determine if you need glasses or contact lenses
• Assessment to measure your eye pressure
• Examination of the front and inside of your eyes with digital retinal photos or dilating drops, or both
Patients might also require more specific tests, depending on his or her age, history, and risk factors.
Following the guidelines below can help you determine how often you and your family should schedule eye exams. However, if you are experiencing symptoms or changes in eye health, we recommend scheduling an eye exam right away.
Children Aged Three to Eighteen Years Old
Children should receive their first comprehensive eye exam around the ages of 3 to 5 years old. For children under 3 years old, your pediatrician will assess his or her eyes for usual eye disorders, like crossed eyes, turned out eyes, or a lazy eye. If there are no risk factors or symptoms of eye disorders, you should schedule routine eye exams every one to two years until your child turns 18 years old or as recommended by our eye doctor.
Adults Aged Eighteen to Sixty Years Old
Adults should schedule comprehensive eye exams every two years unless certain risk factors are present. Patients with a family history of eye disorders like glaucoma and macular degeneration will need to schedule eye exams once a year since both of these conditions requires early detection to reduce the risk of vision loss.
Patients with diabetes and high blood pressure will also need to schedule more frequent eye exams since these conditions can harm the blood vessels in the eyes. Patients might also need to schedule an emergency eye exam if an injury is present, such as a scratched cornea from a foreign body or chemical burn. Assessing eye injuries early can help prevent infection and vision loss.
Adults aged Sixty One Years and Older
Patients over the age of 61 will need to receive eye exams once a year. Like the rest of the human body, the eyes and vision are affected by aging, lifestyle, injury, and environment. Early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration can help save your vision.
Older patients should also be aware of age-related vision loss and diseases that can put their ability to drive at risk. Color, peripheral, and depth perception are commonly altered by age. Comprehensive vision tests can help determine if a patient’s vision is compromised before it becomes too dangerous to drive.
Signs You Should Schedule an Exam Right Away
Patients with the following signs should schedule an appointment with our eye doctor right away:
● Red, itchy, or dry eyes along with seeing new flashes of light, floaters, or spots
● Motion sickness, dizziness, or difficulty following a moving object
● New diagnosis of diabetes or other health conditions that might affect the eyes
● Trouble driving at night and difficulty reading street signs at night
● Headaches, blurred vision, and eye strain from computer or phone screen usage
● Changes in vision after a head trauma
● Holding books or newspaper far away or holding them close and needing to squint to see clearly
While eye exams should typically be scheduled more frequently for older patients, they are still important for all ages. Oftentimes, eye disorders are easy to correct, and early detection can help us begin a treatment plan that will improve your vision and overall quality of life.
Want to learn more about comprehensive eye exams at East Main Vision Clinic? Contact our experienced Optometrist today.