What would your world be like without the ability to see? Your eyes will assist you in almost everything you accomplish today. Most Americans recognize sight as their most important sense, but only about half report seeing an eye doctor annually.
When was the last time you had a comprehensive eye exam? Here are some quick guidelines about when to see your eye doctor:
Vision Screening vs. Eye Exam. There’s a big difference between having your vision checked and having a thorough eye exam. Most of this article will be discussing when you should have a comprehensive eye exam.
Vision screenings simply tell you if you have potential vision impairment or problem with your eyes. They are frequently a precursor to a comprehensive eye exam. Children often have vision screenings at school.
A comprehensive eye exam is conducted by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist, who will check for a variety of eye conditions. These doctors can diagnose you and prescribe treatment recommendations if there is a problem. They can also write prescriptions for glasses or contacts to correct your vision.
Eye Care for Everyone. The recommended frequency of eye exams changes as you go through life. Certain risk factors and conditions can also affect how often you should see your eye doctor.
- Infants and Adolescents. Pediatricians check infants’ and children’s’ eyesight at their regular appointments. These tests look for some irregularities that can occur in the early years. If they are caught early, many eye problems can be reversed during childhood, so you should also take young children to an ophthalmologist early for a comprehensive eye exam.
For school-age children, great vision is vital to learning. They should at least have a vision screening when they start school and annually throughout their teenage years. Children don’t always know they’re having trouble seeing, so it’s best to have their eyes checked regularly, even if they haven’t complained about their vision.
- Glasses and Contact Wearers. If you need your vision corrected with glasses or contact lenses, you should have a comprehensive, dilated eye exam every year to make sure you are wearing the appropriate prescription. This guideline is for any person with corrected vision, regardless of their age.
- Young Adults. If you have healthy eyes and great vision, you should see your eye doctor for an exam at least once in your twenties and twice in your thirties. Of course, if you are noticing problems with your vision or experiencing eye pain, make an appointment immediately.
- Adults Over 40. Adults should go in for a baseline eye exam at age forty. Many signs of eye conditions begin to show up in midlife, although they might not affect your ability to see until later on. After your first mid-life exam, your eye doctor will be able to recommend a preventative care plan for you. As you get older, you should be getting your eyes checked more frequently.
Give your eyes a little TLC this February. Call your eye doctor to set up an appointment today!