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How Often Should I Have an Eye Examination Test?

How Often Should I Have an Eye Examination Test?

We often worry about our heart health, digestive health or mental health. But all too often, we forget or deprioritize our eye health, skipping visits to the eye doctor as long as everything looks okay. Our vision is one of our most important senses, and it’s critical in almost everything we do in our daily lives. That’s why you shouldn’t skip that eye examination test. But how often do you need to visit the eye doctor?

Why You Shouldn’t Skip that Eye Exam

Many people don’t go to an eye doctor until something is wrong with their vision. Here’s why you shouldn’t skip that eye examination test:

1. Early treatment can prevent common eye diseases.

Some of these conditions include1:

  • Cataracts (clouding of the lens) – This is one the leading causes of vision loss.
  • Diabetic retinopathy – Those with diabetes need to watch out for damage to blood vessels in the back of the eye. In extreme cases, this can lead to blindness.
  • Glaucoma – This group of diseases involves damage to the optic nerve.
  • Age-related macular degeneration – As we grow older, gradual breakdown of light-sensitive tissue in the eye may occur.

2. Children need eye exams to check if their vision is developing properly.

Though people tend to have more vision problems as they get older, children still need eye exams to ensure healthy vision. Early screening tests can determine if a child’s vision is developing properly1.

Children cannot tell parents about vision problems if they are still infants. Meanwhile, older children may not realize they have vision problems, causing poor performance in school. An eye examination test can catch any problems so that the child can receive treatment or corrective glasses as early as possible.

What Does an Eye Examination Test Check For?

During an eye examination test, your eye doctor will check a number of things, such as:

  • Refractive errors – astigmatism, myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or presbyopia (losing near-focus vision)
  • Changes in vision – low vision, signs of cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, detached retina
  • Problems with the muscles supporting the eyes – strabismus (crossed eyes), amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Tumors and cancer in the eye – intraocular cancer, intraocular melanoma and retinoblastoma

eye examination test

How Often Should You Have an Eye Examination Test?

In general, if you are an adult with no vision problems, a visit to your eye doctor once every two years is sufficient.

Eye Examination Test for Children2

Newborn

Your child’s doctor should do a simple eye exam shortly after they are born. They will look for the “red reflex” (eye turns red when a light is flashed into each eye) as well as a blink and pupil response.

6 Months to 1 Year

A second screening test is done to check for healthy eye alignment and movement as well as the reflexes mentioned above

3 to 5 Years

At this age, an ophthalmologist, optometrist or pediatrician should check your child’s eye alignment. They may also check your child’s visual acuity, even though most 3 to 5 year olds are a bit farsighted.

An ophthalmologist should check your child’s vision if they show signs of:

  • misaligned eyes (strabismus)
  • lazy eye” (amblyopia)
  • refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism)

eye examination test

Eye Examination Test for Adults3

How often you should visit your eye doctor depends on your eye health. If you have no problems with your vision, a checkup every 2 to 3 years should be sufficient. However, if you have glasses, or if you have health conditions such as diabetes, you should go more often.

20 to 39 Years Old

Visit your eye doctor once every 2 to 3 years.

40 to 64 Years Old

At age 40, early signs of disease or changes in vision may appear. For this reason, doctors recommend a complete eye checkup when you hit the age of 40. Early treatment of eye diseases can help preserve your vision.

In general, adults who are 40 to 64 years old should visit their eye doctor every 2 years.

Eye Examination Test for the Elderly4

When you are 65 years old or older, you should visit your eye doctor once every 2 years. They will check your eyes for the following:

  • cataracts
  • diabetic retinopathy
  • age-related macular degeneration
  • glaucoma

Key Takeaway

Don’t wait until something is wrong with your eyes! Early treatment can make a significant difference and even save your vision. Adults should have their eyes checked every 2 to 3 years, then every 2 years past the age of 40. Children and the elderly should also receive special care.

Learn more about Eye Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1 Keep an Eye on Your Vision Health, https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/resources/features/keep-eye-on-vision-health.html, Accessed October 11, 2021

2 Eye Screening for Children, https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/children-eye-screening, Accessed October 11, 2021

3 Eye Exam: What to Expect,  https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/10738-eye-exam-what-to-expect, Accessed October 11, 2021

4 Eye Exam and Vision Testing Basics,  https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/eye-exams-101, Accessed October 11, 2021

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Written by Cesar Beltran Updated 2 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel