How Often Should I Visit An Optometrist & Get and Eye Exam?

You may know that you should visit your dentist twice per year and get a checkup from your general practitioner once a year. However, you may not know how often you need to visit your optometrist. Perhaps you don’t even visit an optometrist because you haven’t had any issues with your sight. Even if you’re seeing clearly, you should still get your eyes checked every one to two years.

At Naper Grove Vision Care’s locations, this is generally what is advised for keeping your eyes healthy. There may be other factors that could influence the frequency of these visits. Your age, whether or not you wear glasses or contacts, and your medical history may mean that you need to put a visit to your eye doctor on your calendar more often.

Why You Need Eye Exams

Unfortunately, many people mistakenly assume that they don’t need an eye exam if they’re not experiencing any symptoms or do not use corrective lenses. Contrary to this belief, it is important to get regular eye exams. These exams can help correct vision problems before they worsen and detect eye diseases in their early treatable stages.

Eye exams can also help discover other health issues. You shouldn’t skip a visit to the optometrist just because you think you’re fine.

Correct Vision Problems

During your eye exam, your visual acuity will be assessed. This checks your ability to see clearly at varying distances. You’ll also be checked for refractive errors such as farsightedness or nearsightedness.

Vision changes happen naturally over time. You may not notice these gradual changes, which is why it’s important to get your eye exams at the proper intervals. Even if you already wear glasses, your prescription may need to be updated.

Early Detection of Eye Diseases

It’s easy to shrug off your eye doctor appointments when you are told that you have 20/20 vision. Don’t let this lull you into the false assumption that your eyes are completely healthy. Eye exams need to be conducted regularly to check for macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and other eye diseases and conditions. When you attend your regular eye exams, your optometrist will be able to treat these conditions and protect your vision.

Uncover Other Health Conditions

Comprehensive eye exams can reveal much more than eye health. They provide a glimpse into your overall health, even before your primary care doctor would notice these conditions. Eye exams give optometrists a clear, unobstructed view of blood vessels and nerve tissues, allowing them to see problems with high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, lupus, brain tumors, and more.

When to Schedule an Appointment with Your Optometrist

The importance of getting eye exams can’t be understated, but how often should you get them? This will depend on whether or not you wear eyeglasses or contacts as well as age.

Scheduling Eye Exams When You Don’t Have A Prescription

Children who don’t currently wear glasses or contacts should still visit the optometrist. Their eyesight changes and develops as they grow, and it is critical to keep an eye on things early on to find any problems. This is why you should take your child to their first eye exam when they are between 6 months and 12 months of age. They should go again between ages 3 and 5, and once more before starting school. When your kids are school-aged, they should continue to have annual eye exams.

When you are between the ages of 19 and 64, if you do not need vision correction, you should schedule visits to the optometrist every 2 years. If any changes are noted by your eye doctor, they may ask you to come in once a year. However, once you reach the age of 65 and beyond, you need to get annual eye exams.

When you are in the 65+ age group, you have a greater chance of progressing presbyopia. You will also be more prone to cataracts or developing vision problems from other health conditions.

Scheduling Eye Exams When You Wear Glasses or Contacts

If you need to wear eyeglasses or contacts to see clearly, you will need to get eye exams more often. Usually, it is advised that you go once per year to check your prescription and update it if needed.

There are a variety of factors that can put you at greater risk for eye diseases. For example, if you have diabetes, it is imperative that you do not skip your yearly visit with the optometrist. Diabetes can cause blindness when left untreated, and your eye doctor will help take care of your eye health.

Your eye doctor should also know if you have high blood pressure, had an eye injury or eye surgery, or have a family history of any type of eye disease. If you are taking any medications that can produce vision-related side effects, it is important to let your optometrist know about these too.

What About Eye Issues That Arise Between Visits To The Eye Doctor?

Maybe you have your eye exam scheduled for a few months from now, but you are experiencing symptoms that affect your vision. These may be painful, but you might wonder if you should wait for your eye exam and let the doctor know during your visit.

You should never wait if you experience any changes in your vision or have discomfort or pain in your eyes. If you have persistent redness, dryness, or itchiness, you may have an infection that needs to be treated promptly.

Do not wait when you’re in these situations or if you experience flashes of light, halos around lights, changes in your vision, eye strain, or floaters. Additionally, whether you wear corrective lenses or not, if you are struggling to read things up close like a book or have trouble seeing signs while driving at night, call your optometrist and let them know. They will quickly get you an appointment to check your eyes and treat the issue.

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