“How often do I need to get an eye exam?” is a question many people ask, whether they have clear vision or wear corrective lenses.
However, the answer isn’t so clear-cut. The frequency of eye exams depends on a variety of factors such as:
- Your age
- Your medical history
- Refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism)
Lens.com is here to help you wade through the confusion. In this post, we’ll help you determine the best schedule for comprehensive eye exams.
How often do you need to get a comprehensive eye exam?
One of the easiest ways to determine when to get a comprehensive eye exam is to look at your age. Here is a simple guideline you can follow.
- Ages 0 to 6 months
If you have a baby, their pediatrician will check for signs of vision loss and abnormalities such as a lazy eye or crossed eyes. Unless the pediatrician diagnoses any abnormalities, they generally recommend that you have your baby’s eyes examined once they reach six months old.
- Ages 6 months to 20 years
Eye care professionals (ECPs) encourage young children to have their eyes examined before they enter kindergarten. This way, any vision problems can be treated or corrected before they start school. Depending on their diagnosis, your child’s ECP can recommend how often they get an eye exam.
- Ages 20 to 39 years
If you’re between 20 and 39 years old, it’s safe to get a comprehensive eye exam at least once every three years. You don’t need to get an eye exam very often because you are unlikely to experience sudden vision loss at this stage in your life.
- Ages 40 to 64
You need to schedule a comprehensive eye exam once you reach 40. At age 40, you’ll start to experience gradual vision loss as your corneas harden due to aging. Age-related hardening of the cornea is why many individuals aged 40 and older need reading glasses.
If you’re 40 to 64 years old, you’re also at a higher risk of developing diseases that affect vision, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. As such, you need to get a comprehensive eye exam every one or two years.
- Ages 65 and older
Individuals aged 65 and older need to get annual comprehensive eye exams. At this age, individuals have likely developed presbyopia or age-related farsightedness. In addition to presbyopia, senior citizens are more likely to develop age-related vision problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
What other factors do I need to consider when getting a comprehensive eye exam?
Remember that your age isn’t the sole factor in determining how often you need a comprehensive eye exam. Generally speaking, you need to get a comprehensive eye exam more often if you:
- Wear contact lenses or eyeglasses
- Are genetically predisposed to certain eye diseases (ex. family history of glaucoma)
- Take medications that affect vision (ex. cholesterol medications, antihistamines, antidepressants)
- Have chronic diseases such as diabetes
The frequency of comprehensive eye exams differs from individual to individual. You may be the same age as another individual, but he may need to get a comprehensive eye exam more often than you, or vice versa. In addition to age, you also need to consider existing refractive errors, medical history, and any medications you are currently taking.