No matter of your age or physical health, it's a good idea to have standard eye exams.
During a complete eye exam, your eye doctor will not only determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, but will also evaluate your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work simultaneously as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health. An all-encompassing eye exam includes a number of tests and procedures to examine and evaluate the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. These tests range from simple ones, like having you read an eye chart, to complex tests, such as using a high-powered lens to examine the health of the tissues inside of your eyes. Eyecare experts strongly recommend you have a full eye exam every one to three years, depending on your age, risk factors, and physical condition.
Children. Some experts approximate that approximately 5 % to 10 % of pre-schoolers and 25 % of school-aged children have vision problems. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), all children should have their eyes examined at 6 months of age, at age 3 and again at the beginning of school. Children without vision problems or risk factors for eye or vision problems should then proceed with to have their eyes examined at a minimum every two years throughout school.
Children with existing vision problems or risk factors should have their eyes examined more frequently. Common risk factors for vision problems include:
- premature birth
- developmental delays
- turned or crossed eyes
- family history of eye disease
- history of eye injury
- other physical illness or disease
The AOA recommends that children who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses should have their eyes examined at a minimum of every 12 months or according to their eye doctor's instructions. Read more about Pediatric Eye Exams.
Adults. The AOA also recommends an annual eye exam for any adult who wears eyeglasses or contacts. If you don't normally need vision correction, you still need an eye exam every two to three years up to the age of 40, depending on your rate of visual change and overall health. Doctors often recommend more frequent examinations for adults with diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders, because many diseases can have an influence on vision and eye health.
If you are over 40, it's a good idea to have your eyes examined every one to two years to evaluate for common age-related eye problems such as presbyopia, cataracts and macular degeneration. Refer to more about Vision After 40.
Because the risk of eye disease continues to increase with advancing age, everyone over the age of 60 should be examined annually. Read more about Vision After 60.