How Often Should You Go to the Eye Doctor?

How Often Should You Go to the Eye Doctor?

As one of our five senses, sight is a precious part of living. You should have an eye doctor check your vision regularly, whether you wear corrective lenses or not. Even if you have 20/20 vision, your sight can change due to age, your health, and other factors. 

Seeing an optometrist can help you maintain your eyesight and help you see things more clearly. An eye exam does not take long or hurt, but how often do you need one? The answer depends on your age and vision.

Vision Testing from Birth to 20 Years Old

Your pediatrician will give your baby an eye test at six months old. If your child is showing signs of vision impairment or loss, they may test earlier. Some factors that can influence a baby’s vision include:

  •     A family history of needing corrective lenses or eye diseases.
  •     The mother had an infection while pregnant. 
  •     Developmental delays.
  •     A premature birth or low weight at birth. 
  •     Issues during pregnancy.

Your child should see an eye doctor before kindergarten to check if they need glasses. Young children learn visually, so it is important to ensure they can see in the classroom. Children should have an eye exam every two years unless they have vision issues.

Related Article: Preventive Care for Children

Your child may need to see an eye specialist if they display or demonstrate any of the following: 

  •     Frequently rubbing their eyes
  •     Closing one eye to focus
  •     Holding reading material very close or far away from their face
  •     Complaining of headaches, double vision, or dizziness
  •     Eyes do not look at the same object (one eye strays)
  •     Inattention to text and images 
  •     Tilting their head to one side

Children who wear glasses should go to their optometrist every six months to a year. Vision can change drastically at this age, so the doctor will need to verify that the prescription lenses are still correct. 

An eye specialist can help if your child has a condition that affects their vision. Pediatrics is a subsection of ophthalmology. A specialist completes two additional years of study in a particular field, such as pediatrics, retina, cornea, and neurology.  

Eye Care in Your 20s and 30s

You will need to see your primary eye care professional as frequently as they recommend if you wear glasses or contacts. The optometrist might suggest more frequent visits depending on your condition, but you should check your prescription at least annually.  

If you do not wear corrective lenses, you should see an eye doctor every two to three years. During this period, your vision is not likely to change or decline to a point where you would need corrective lenses. 

However, life events can alter your vision. For instance, an accident could decrease your vision and require you to see a specialist immediately. You should seek professional eye care more often than two to three years if: 

  •     Your family has a history of eye disease.
  •     You have high blood pressure or diabetes.
  •     You have had a prior surgery or injury.
  •     You are taking medications that can affect or impair your sight.

Your environment and habits can also affect your ability to see. For example, if you read in the dark often, you can develop eye strain. Other things that can harm your eyes include:

  •     Rubbing your eyes, which can lead to eye infections and damage to your cornea.
  •     Staring at screens for too long, such as your computer, television, or smartphone. Looking at screens for a lengthy time can cause muscle fatigue, blurred vision, itchy and dry eyes, and color perception changes. 
  •     Not wearing sunglasses. Sun damage can cause eye cancer, cataracts, and glaucoma.
  •     Smoking cigarettes, which increases the risk of macular degeneration.

How you take care of your eyes in your 20s and 30s can affect your vision later in life. 

Glasses, Doctor Visits, and More From 40 to 65

During this time in your life, your eyes will go through changes like diminishing vision. The lens of eyes start to harden about your 35 birthday, which is why many over 40 need corrective lenses.

Similarly, this is the time when health conditions emerge. Age-related conditions and medications to treat symptoms and illness can alter your vision.

Depending on your eye health, the eye doctor may do one of the following exams: 

  •     Applanation tonometry to measure eye pressure
  •     Corneal topography to measure the curve of your cornea
  •     Fluorescein angiogram to measure blood flow in your retina
  •     Dilated pupillary exam to check for signs of disease
  •     Refraction to formulate your corrective lens prescription
  •     Slit-lamp exam to diagnoses eye disease
  •     Non-contact tonometry to diagnose glaucoma
  •     Ultrasound to diagnose and treat bleeding, cataracts, and tumors

At each of your eye exam visits, the optometrist should tell you when to see them again. It may continue to be at the same frequency as in your 20s and 30s, or your visits could become more frequent because of your age or health conditions. 

Professional Eye Care After 65

Getting professional eye care is particularly important if you are older than 65 years of age. You should see an eye doctor every one to two years since you are more likely to experience deterioration of your vision. For instance, it is common to develop presbyopia – farsightedness – during middle age and later. 

If you have worn corrective lenses your entire life, your glasses doctor might recommend more frequent visits. They may also suggest more frequent visits if you have:

  •     A family history of vision problems.
  •     An eye condition, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration. 
  •     Another medical condition that can affect your vision. 

Aging eyes are also more at risk for problems. For instance, seniors are more likely to tear their cornea. This increased risk develops because of age-related eye diseases and conditions, such as dry eyes.

You should go to your eye doctor if you are experiencing any type of eye or vision problem. Something like color changes or floating specks could indicate a larger problem. Tunnel vision, for example, could mean a retinal detachment or a stroke occurred.

Related Article: Preventive Care for Senior Citizens

By Admin