If you don’t have any problem with your vision, do you still need to get regular eye exams?

Most people think that if they don’t wear glasses or contact lenses, there’s no point in getting an eye check-up. But an eye exam can uncover several issues about your general health. A complete eye exam can diagnose conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure even if you’re not experiencing symptoms.

That said, how often do you need an eye exam?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has different recommendations based on several factors. These include the patient’s age, family history of eye disease, and the presence of certain risk factors.

Let’s take a closer look at how often you should get regular eye check-ups, depending on your profile.

How Often Do You Need an Eye Exam if You Don’t Have Symptoms?

If you’re not experiencing any symptoms or problems with vision, experts recommend getting regular eye exams based on age. The AAO recommends having a complete eye exam at least once in your 20s and twice in your 30s.

Even if you don’t have any symptoms or risk factors, you should still get a baseline eye disease screening when you hit 40. That’s because early signs of disease and vision issues may start to appear at this age. Think of it as similar to getting a baseline mammogram at 40 or a colonoscopy at 50.

Patients 65 and older will need an eye exam every one or two years. A comprehensive eye exam can detect many age-related eye diseases. These include glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts.

An eye exam can reveal conditions that affect your general health, such as diabetes, hypertension, and thyroid diseases. Your ophthalmologist can treat and manage the ocular repercussions of these conditions. Visit Specs Appeal for more information.

At-Risk Patients

If you’re considered an “at-risk” patient, you shouldn’t wait until you’re 40 to get a complete eye exam. For example, if you’re experiencing signs of eye strain like headache or fatigue, you should visit an eye doctor immediately.

What are the factors that make you at-risk? Here are some examples:

  • Personal or family history of eye disease
  • History of eye surgery or injury
  • History of diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Wearing contact lenses
  • Taking prescription or nonprescription medications with potential ocular side effects.

Depending on the eye exam results, your doctor can recommend how often to have your eyes examined for future visits.

What About Pediatric Patients?

The AAO recommends regular eye screenings as the child grows. The timings of the eye check-ups are: at birth, at 6 to 12 months, at 12 to 36 months, between 3 to 5 years, and at age five and up.

Child vision screenings can be done by a pediatrician or the family physician, not just by an ophthalmologist. If the eye screening reveals problems, the child can be referred to an ophthalmologist for a more comprehensive exam.

Some of the conditions doctors look for include “lazy eye,” misaligned eyes, and refractive errors.

Protect Your Eyes and Vision

How often do you need an eye exam? Your ophthalmologist will consider your age, medical history, and presence of risk factors to determine your schedule for eye consults. Follow your doctor’s recommendation to keep your eyes healthy and preserve your vision.

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