woman getting an eye exam at our clinic

How Often Should You Have an Eye Exam?

Committing to routine eye exams may not seem like a priority on your to-do list, especially if you do not experience any immediate problems. It may surprise you to discover that getting a regular eye exam could benefit many areas of your overall health.

Vision loss can be gradual, and our brains are excellent adaptors. Catching any signs of declining eyesight or diseases early on is imperative to ensure your eyes' longevity. Keep reading to find out if it's time for you to schedule an eye exam at your local clinic.

 

Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist

First, it’s important to know the difference between doctors to understand where to get the proper examination done. There are two main types; optometrists and ophthalmologists.

 

A Doctor of Optometry is a licensed healthcare professional. They conduct comprehensive eye exams, prescribe contacts and lens prescriptions, as well as prescribe medications for certain eye diseases. 

 

An ophthalmologist, on the other hand, is a medical doctor who has specialized in the eyes and performs ocular surgeries as well as treating various eye diseases.

 

For any routine eye care, you can visit an optometrist, and they can determine if a referral to an ophthalmologist is necessary. If you are unaware of having a serious condition, such as glaucoma, an eye exam by an optometrist will be able to determine the health status of your eyes.

 

Frequency of Eye Exams

If you are healthy without any pre-existing medical issues, follow this guide:

  • Children & Teenagers (Aged 3-19): Annual
    By the age of three, your child should go for their first eye exam. Afterwards, annual visits are recommended.  

    Vision changes the most frequently while young, which is why children need to see an eye doctor every year. Common eye problems for children are astigmatism, myopia (nearsightedness), and hyperopia (farsightedness). If these problems are not treated early, it can affect the child’s learning ability in school.

  • Adults (Aged 20-64): Every two years
    Adults between the ages of 20 and 64 can get eye exams in two-year intervals. As an adult, it is vital to go for an exam every two years since you become more prone to developing eye problems like:
    • Presbyopia: inability to see small print or nearby objects.
    • Floaters: small specks come into view, which at times can be a sign of more severe issues like retinal detachment.
    • Dry Eyes: your eyes cannot produce enough tears, which can lead to vision loss.
    • Tearing: your eyes produce too many tears, which can be a sign of various eye diseases and conditions.

  • Seniors (Aged 65+): Annual 
    Anyone aged 65 or above should visit an optometrist every year for an eye exam. More frequent visits are essential in order to detect serious eye conditions like glaucoma or cataracts. Seniors are also more susceptible to overall health problems that affect vision – these include diabetes or high blood pressure.

No matter what age, those living with diabetes should get an eye exam every year. Also,  if you experience any of these symptoms, see an eye doctor as soon as possible.

What Happens During A Routine Eye Exam?

Typically a comprehensive eye exam in Langley will include:

  • Detailed medical history and lifestyle analysis

  • Vision Acuity test: you will be asked to read letters from a chart or screen, while your eyes will be tested individually and conjointly

  • Tonometry: determines if you have ocular hypertension or are at risk for glaucoma. This often measured with a mild puff of air but may include the use of anaesthetic eye drops.

  • Slit-lamp exam: a dye called fluorescein will illuminate any imperfections as the eye examiner shines a bright light in your eye

  • Pupil dilation: eye drops will be used to increase the size of your pupil, which will allow the doctor to examine your retina and nerve health
    • The effects can last several hours, so be sure to bring sunglasses

In about 30 minutes, an optometrist will be able to complete a routine eye exam.

Eye Exams for Health and Beyond

Establishing healthy habits and taking preventative measures to ensure your eye health today will contribute to your overall wellness in the long-term. Your eyes are extremely important, do not take your health and ability to function for granted.

 

Be proactive about your eye health and make an appointment with Langley Optometry today!

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