How Often Should I Get My Eyes Checked?

Everyone should get their eyes checked from time to time. But how often should your eyes actually get checked? This is exactly what you will know after you read this article. The time span between two eye tests varies depending on the age and the condition of your eyes and body in general.

For example when you are over forty years old the probability of certain diseases increases. When certain variables get combined like smoking or diseases the probability may increase more and it would be better to get your eyes checked by a professional more frequently.

In most cases, it is advised to get your eyes checked ideally once per year. This way an eye disease could be detected early which will benefit your health in the long run. At least visit the eye care professional every two years. But this of course is just a general recommendation. In individual cases when a disease already got detected, it may be required to get your eyes checked every four months to monitor the health of your eyes.

In the table below, you can read about the advised frequency for routine eye checks are advised by the American Optometric Association.

Patient age (years)Asymptomatic/low-riskAt-risk
Birth through 2At 6 to 12 months of ageAt 6 to 12 months of age or as recommended
3 through 5At least once between 3 and 5 years of ageAt least once between 3 and 5 years of age or as recommended
6 through 17Before first grade and annually thereafterBefore first grade and annually, or as recommended thereafter
18 through 39At least every two yearsAt least annually, or as recommended
40 through 64At least every two yearsAt least annually, or as recommended
65 and olderAnnuallyAt least annually, or as recommended

One really important thing to understand here is the opthalmologist decides whether you fall in the “at-risk” or the “low-risk” category. Oftentimes sight-threatening diseases can not be detected when a person self-proclaimed healthy status because he or she still has good visual acuity. First of all, some people have a high tolerance for blurry vision and do not recognize when their eyesight worsens over time.

The next point why the frequency for the recommendation of eye exams should be taken seriously is that in a lot of cases when one eye gets worse the patient does not detect one eye getting worse. Because our visual systems have the ability to work with one eye too. In such cases, the perception of depth may be impaired temporarily until both eyes play together nicely.

Patients at risk include those with diabetes, hypertension, a family history of ocular disease, or whose clinical findings increase their potential risk; those working in occupations that are highly demanding visually or are eye hazardous; those taking prescription or nonprescription drugs with ocular side effects; those wearing contact lenses; those who have had eye surgery; and those with other health concerns or conditions.

How Often Should I Get My Eyes Checked if I Wear Glasses?

If you wear glasses, you should visit the eye doctor for a vision checkup every one to two years. When you are over 65 years old the American Optometric Association recommends eye exams annually.

High prescriptions like glasses with prescriptions of more than 6 diopters require more frequent examination because those patients are at a higher risk for sight-threatening diseases. In such a case the eye care professional will tell you how often you should have your eyes checked.

Those are just general recommendations. In case you experience one of the mentioned problems below you should contact your eye care professional earlier.

  • Visual deterioration in road traffic (nearsightedness or astigmatism)
  • Strained vision at close range or at the PC (farsightedness)
  • Eye pain and headaches
  • Tired, burning eyes
  • Dry eyes

How Often Should You Get Your Eyes Checked After Age 40

From the age of 40, an eye examination is recommended at least every two years. An annual eye examination for early glaucoma detection in order to prevent avoidable vision loss. Patients who already have glaucoma sufferers in their families are recommended to undergo this preventive eye examination by an ophthalmologist from the age of 30.

How Often Should You Get Your Eyes Checked After Age 60

From the age of 60, eye examinations are recommended at least every two years. With the higher likelihood of degenerative diseases, an annual check-up is ideal. It makes sense to make a regular AMD screening examination to prevent gradual deterioration of vision.

Recommended Eye Exam Frequency for Children

Preventive eye examinations in childhood should be performed even in the absence of specific complaints or impaired vision. There are certain routine check-ups by the ophthalmologist for children. Until the age of two, it is recommended to visit your opthalmologist every 6 to 12 months.

After that, an eye exam should be performed at least once between 3 and 5 years of age. Especially in the first grade, children have new visual demands. This is why an examination is recommended before school begins. In school until the age of 17 annually exams are recommended. Alternatively, check-ups can be performed even frequently for example when your child tells you about the following problems:

  • Eye pain
  • Lack of concentration
  • Protruding eyes (exophthalmos)
  • Changes in pupil width
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Drooping upper eyelid
  • Eye injuries
  • New onset of strabismus
  • Dry eyes

How Often Should You Get Your Eyes Checked With Keratoconus?

There are two types of keratoconus. The first is a progressive type of disease and results in permanent changes in the prescription. The other type is called forme fruste. The “Forme Fruste” is 10 times more common than the progressive form. It usually does not produce any symptoms. It is often discovered by chance during an ophthalmological check-up. It only needs to be observed by an opthalmologist, but not treated if the condition does not change.

The progressive type should be checked more frequently. As keratoconus is very different from person to person your eye doctor will tell you which frequency is best for you when it comes to eye examination appointments. In most cases, check-ups are made at least every six months. With the forme fruste, a check-up at least once a year is recommended.

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