Regardless of your age or physical health, it’s important to have regular eye exams.
During a complete eye exam, your eye doctor will not only determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, but will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.
A comprehensive eye exam includes a number of tests and procedures to examine and evaluate the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. These tests range from simple ones, like having you read an eye chart, to complex tests, such as using a high-powered magnifying lens to examine the health of the tissues inside of your eyes.
Eyecare experts recommend you have a complete eye exam every one to three years, depending on your age, risk factors, and physical condition.
Children: Some experts estimate that approximately 5% to 10% of pre-schoolers and 25% of school-aged children have vision problems. According to the BC Association of Optometrists (BCAO), all children should have their eyes examined at 6 months of age, at age 3 and again at the start of school. Children without vision problems or risk factors for eye or vision problems should then continue to have their eyes examined at annually throughout school.
Children with existing vision problems or risk factors should have their eyes examined more frequently. Common risk factors for vision problems include:
- premature birth
- developmental delays
- turned or crossed eyes
- family history of eye disease
- history of eye injury
- other physical illness or disease
The BCAO recommends that children who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses should have their eyes examined at least every 12 months or according to their eye doctor’s instructions.
Adults: The BCAO also recommends a bi-annual eye exam for any adult who wears eyeglasses or contacts. If you don’t normally need vision correction, you still need an eye exam every two to three years up to the age of 40, depending on your rate of visual change and overall health. Doctors often recommend more frequent examinations for adults with diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders, because many diseases can have an impact on vision and eye health. In most cases, eye disease has no symptoms in its early stages.