If you don’t need a new glasses prescription, it might not seem necessary to schedule another eye exam, but eyes are very complicated organs with a lot of ways for things to go wrong. That’s why it’s important to make sure they’re working the way they should on a regular basis.
Different genetics and personal habits, as well as age, will result in different risk factors related to vision, and your risk factors determine how frequently you should have an eye exam. A good age to bring a child in for their first eye exam is around six months old, then bring them back close to their third birthday, then again before first grade. These early childhood eye exams are crucial for catching vision problems that could interfere with learning.
Patients age six to sixty who don’t have risk factors typically only need an eye exam once every two years. Past age sixty, patients should schedule yearly eye exams, but cases for patients of all ages will vary on an individual basis. The optometrist will help at-risk patients determine their ideal schedule.
How do you know whether you have “at-risk” vision? There are a few things that can increase a person’s chances of developing chronic eye diseases, such as a family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration, or more general diseases like diabetes and hypertension (both of which can negatively affect vision).
Certain prescription medications also cause eye-related side effects like dry eye. This is important to monitor so that it doesn’t result in eye infections. Wearing contacts also increases the risk of eye infection. Another major risk factor is smoking, which greatly increases the risk of developing cataracts, AMD, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.
If you stick to your schedule of regular eye exams based on your personal risk factors (or lack thereof), this will usually be enough, but sometimes a problem may crop up between appointments. If one does, you definitely shouldn’t wait until the next one comes along to come see us.
It can be easy to forget about something that typically only comes around once every two years, but we strongly urge you not to forget about your eye exams. If you aren’t sure when your last one was, go ahead and schedule the next now and start a new exam calendar. Your eyes will thank you!
Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.