Eye exams are an important part of caring for your health. Most eye care experts recommend having a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years depending on your age and personal risk factors. If you wear contacts or eyeglasses, you will have to visit the eye doctor more often.
When you schedule an eye exam with your ophthalmologist, discuss the best schedule for you. Once you turn 60, it’s also recommended to have dilated eye exams. African Americans and people with diabetes should have dilated eye exams sooner.
Let’s learn more about how often you should go for an eye check up based on your age and risk factors.
20-39 Years Old
If you are between the ages of 20 and 39, you should get a comprehensive eye exam every two years, providing that you have no symptoms or risks. If you are at an increased risk for certain eye diseases, your eye doctor may recommend having an eye exam every year.
40-60 Years Old
Once you turn 40, you can develop presbyopia. Presbyopia is the normal loss of focusing ability that happens with age and can be fixed by wearing reading glasses. The eyes go through a lot of changes during your 40s and 50s, which is why your ophthamologist will probably want to see you every one to two years.
61 Years Old
At age 65, complete eye exams are recommended each year. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, macular degeneration or glaucoma, you will need more frequent eye exams. Many eye conditions develop quietly, making yearly check ups essential.
Are You At Risk?
At risk adults require more frequent examinations. If you are considered at risk, your ophthalmologist will determine how often your eyes should be checked. Always talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors, but in general, they include:
- Family history of eye disease
- Diabetes or high blood pressure
- Being in an occupation that causes eye hazards
- Taking certain prescription medications
- Having previous eye surgery or eye injuries
Who to Schedule an Eye Exam With
When scheduling an eye exam, you can choose between an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. Optometrists are eye doctors who prescribe glasses, contacts and medications to treat basic eye diseases. If you have an eye condition, however, it’s recommended to see an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists prescribe glasses and contacts, but they can also treat medical conditions of the eye and perform eye surgery.
Bottom line: See your eye doctor every one to two years. It’s usually covered under your health care plan so there’s no excuse not to go!