How often should you go to the eye doctor and how often should you get your eyes checked? Ophthalmologists and optometrists advise full visual field tests at least once every two to three years. This is because the brain quickly adjusts to vision loss as your vision deteriorates, so you may not notice if your vision is declining, and you may need glasses. This deceives you into believing you can see just fine when you need a new prescription for eyeglasses unless the loss is abrupt or significant.
Do you need eye tests every year?
There are various guidelines depending on factors such as your age, family, and personal medical history, whether you presently wear contacts or glasses, and other risk factors.
- From ages 0 to 20: Pediatricians recommend getting your baby's vision examined at six months of age if the child is experiencing symptoms of vision loss. Otherwise, have the child's eyes checked one more time before entering kindergarten or first grade and subsequently every two years until they reach age 20.
If the child wears glasses, it may be better to schedule a checkup every six to twelve months, to make sure the prescription is still valid.
- From ages 20 to 40: many adults from 20 to 39 should undergo a thorough eye checkup every two to three years since you are less likely to suffer from sudden or more severe eyesight loss at this stage of your life.
From ages 40 to 65: Between the ages of 40 and 64, the eyes experience ongoing alterations. In addition to vision loss and an increase in lens prescription adjustments, the eye's lens gradually starts to harden starting about age 35. Most adults over the age of 45 need reading glasses since this affects their ability to see up close. Presbyopia is the name for this aging-related farsightedness.
Adults are more likely to develop diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or adverse drug reactions that might result in visual loss.
- From age 65 and up: Once you are 65, eye doctors recommend scheduling a thorough eye checkup yearly. Seniors are more likely to develop cataracts and/or vision-related problems due to medical diseases like advancing presbyopia.
Eye prescriptions: how long do they last?
Eye prescriptions usually last one to two years. Doctors recommend checking the expiration date on your prescription to know the exact date and when to schedule a checkup. If you are likely to experience changes in visual acuity, your prescription for glasses may expire sooner than two years after your most recent checkup. This is why you should schedule regular visits to your eye doctor, especially if you have vision insurance that will cover some of the cost of an eye exam!
The eye doctor: optometrist or ophthalmologist?
An optometrist is a trained eye care specialist who examines, recognizes, and treats conditions affecting the eyes. Consider them to be your eyes' "primary care" provider. An ophthalmologist is a medical professional who specializes in diagnosing and, if necessary, surgically treating eye diseases. They may specialize in a variety of areas, such as general ophthalmology, pediatrics, oculoplastics, and particular eye regions.