Many people tend to put their ocular health on the back burner as long as they’re not experiencing any visual problems or other issues. However, waiting to seek the services of an eye care professional until something is clearly wrong is a poor strategy because early detection is key to maintaining optimal eye health. Those who are younger and who are otherwise enjoying optimal health may be able to get away with only scheduling eye exams every couple of years or so, but certain groups, such as those with Type II diabetes, senior citizens, or people with family histories of conditions such as glaucoma.
Following is a short synopsis of what everyone needs to know about general vision care.
General Guidelines for When to Have an Eye Exam
Frequency of eye exams depend on age, overall health, and potential genetic vulnerabilities. As a general rule of thumb, children should have their first exams prior to entering first grade unless clear indications exist that the child is experiencing vision issues. Conditions commonly known as lazy eye or crossed eye — amblyopia or strabismus — that can occur in very young children can frequently be halted in their progress or even turned around if they’re detected early enough in their progression.
Children with no existing visual issues should have their vision checked every one or two years.
Those in their 20s and 30s with normal vision only need vision checks every five to 10 years. However, if you’re in this age group and experience changes in your eyesight, be sure to schedule an appointment with your eye care professional.
Eye exams should begin to increase in frequency by the time you’re 40 — depending on your individual circumstances, expect to see your eye doctor every two to four years. Those over the age of 65 should have their vision checked every year or two.
These guidelines are only general recommendations and not meant to take the place of advice from your eye care professional. Some people may need to have their eyes checked more often, such as those who wear glasses or contact lenses, have existing ocular conditions that require ongoing care, or who have a family history of eye problems.
What Happens During the Exam
As the first step in a comprehensive eye exam, you’ll be asked to provide a general medical history, including any vision problems you may currently have or have had in the past as well as asked about any possible genetic components.
The eye care professional will then perform basic testing to check for common issues to determine whether you need glasses or contact lenses. After applying numbing drops to your eyes, your eye pressure will be measured, and dilating drops may be administered as well, and the doctor may shine several different lights into your eyes to evaluated their reaction. The doctor will also watch the muscular movement of your eyes when following a moving object such as a light or a pencil. A refraction assessment will be performed if it’s determined that you’ll need glasses or contacts in order to see more clearly.
During this initial testing phase, the doctor will check for indications that more thorough or specified testing is in order.
What Happens After the Exam
After testing has been evaluated, the eye care professional will then share the results with you and make recommendations on courses of treatment, if any. If it’s been determined that you need glasses or contact lenses, you’ll discuss your options with the doctor. Some people are more comfortable with glasses, others prefer contacts, and there are some who’d rather use a combination of both.
Please feel free to contact us to schedule an eye exam at your convenience.