Explained: how often should you get an eye exam?

Lensmart 2023-12-11 17:20:29

Like how you fulfill yearly health checkups and see your dentist regularly, having an eye exam will keep your vision strong and allow early detection of possible eye diseases. Getting an eye exam usually gets neglected over other health examinations.


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The importance of an eye exam

Doctors would say that your eyes provide doctors with a clearer view of the blood vessels, so getting an exam will tell you a lot about one's overall health. This means that it's not just the eye health that can benefit from an eye checkup but also other things concerning your general health.

Below are other reasons you must visit your doctor for an eye exam.


1. An eye exam helps kids be more productive in school. Seeing things clearly at school is an essential factor for better learning. Getting eye exams for your kids ensures their eyesight is in good shape and they can comfortably succeed in class. This is essential, especially now that most kids are prone to longer screen time.

2. Identifying potential health problems. An optometrist can detect even the tiniest spot in a blood vessel when conducting eye checkups, which could be a sign of tumors that cause stroke.

3. Improved eyesight. Vision may weaken over time since you use them all the time, whether when at work or resting at home. Since eye doctors can check your visual acuity, they can recommend the right prescription for your eyeglasses to keep your eyes' health at its best.

What does a comprehensive eye exam include?

A comprehensive eye exam is generally different from a regular eye checkup. Besides checking the refractive errors, the eye doctor will also assess your eyes' overall health by screening you for other common eye diseases.


Here are the tests you'll most likely undergo in a comprehensive eye exam.

1. Visual acuity test. 

This is the first test you'll be in, which measures the sharpness of your vision. An eye chart is used to check the distance visual acuity, and a smaller, hand-held chart is used to assess the nearer vision.


2. Color-blindness test. 

The test generally examines your color vision to check for possible color blindness. Besides detecting potential hereditary color vision problems, this test can alert eye specialists of eye health concerns affecting color vision.


3. Cover test

This test will check how your eyes work together. You'll be asked to look closely at a small object across the room while covering one eye after the other. During this test, your doctor will check whether your uncovered eye should move to pick up its fixation target, which may indicate problems resulting in eye strain.


4. Slit-lamp Examination. 

This is another part of the comprehensive eye exam that helps assess one's overall health. Through a microscope, your doctor can see your whole eye, including the eyelashes, eyelids, lens, cornea, and sclera. Eye doctors can even check your optic nerves and retina in detail by dilating your pupils with special eye drops.


5. Glaucoma test. 

Glaucoma may develop with any evident symptoms, so testing for this eye condition is crucial during an eye checkup. Your eye doctor will use tonometry to test your intraocular pressure (IOP).


6. Visual field test. 

Some eye doctors would also check for possible blind spot presence in your peripheral vision. These kinds of blind spots could originate from eye problems like glaucoma.


How often should you get an eye exam?

It's only the older ones who need an eye exam. Even the younger ones are advised to visit their eye doctors to check their overall health. Here is a quick guide on how often you must visit an eye clinic for an exam.


1. From birth to five years, children must have their first eye checkup between six and twelve months and another one between ages three and five years.

2. Six to eighteen years old - kids and early teens must have a yearly eye exam.

3. 19 to 64 years old - adults must undergo a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years.

4. 65+ years old - seniors 65 and older must have an annual eye exam.


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