More than 12 million Americans over 40 suffer from some form of vision impairment. A further 93 million American adults are considered at risk of serious vision impairment.
And it is not just older people at risk. 6.8% of people under 18 suffer from a vision impairment condition. Everyone should be getting their vision tested.
But how often do you need an eye exam? Here is your guide to eye exams and maintaining your vision.
Why Get an Eye Exam?
Getting an eye exam is really important because often we do not notice slow degeneration of our eyes.
Our brain is excellent at adapting. As our vision fades, our brain adapts to accommodate the vision loss. You will be tricked into thinking your vision is just fine.
So even if you think your vision is fine, getting an eye exam is important, as you may be unaware of changes in your vision.
How Often Should I Get an Eye Exam?
Most optometrists recommend a complete eye exam once every two or three years. But different factors such as your age, pre-existing eye conditions, eye trauma, family medical history, and overall health may mean you need to get them more or less regularly.
Six Months to 20 Years
Unless your doctor notices signs of vision impairment, you should have your baby’s vision tested at 6 months. After that, another test before kindergarten is a good idea—especially since children learn visually.
If your child is diagnosed with vision impairment, it is important to test their vision around every six months to ensure the prescription is appropriate.
After this, it is recommended that you have your child’s eyes tested once every two years. Parents can follow the advice of their pediatrician. Parents should also be aware of signs of eye strain to catch any issues early.
Age 20 to 39
Most adults aged 20 to 39 won’t have had an eye exam in years if ever. It is recommended that all adults get an exam every two to three years. This is the age group least likely to experience sudden vision loss, so any impairment is likely to go unnoticed.
There are some who are at greater risk. African-Americans are at higher risk of vision loss, and testing every one to two years is recommended.
If you have a family history of vision loss, suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure, or have experienced any eye trauma, you should get your eye exams more often.
Age 40 to 64
At around 35 years of age, the lens of the eye begins to harden. This impacts near vision and is why many adults in their 40s need reading glasses.
General eye deterioration is more common in this age group. And those with prescriptions are increasingly likely to have changing needs.
Adults in this age group are also more likely to experience other health conditions that impact eye health, such as diabetes.
Eye exams every two years are still recommended unless you are directed otherwise by your doctor or optometrist. It is important you have an open discussion of your visual needs with your doctor in this age group.
From the age of 65, an eye exam is recommended every year. Seniors are more likely to develop cataracts and other vision conditions as a result of general health issues.
It is important to know your family history when it comes to eye health to help your optometrists catch any issues immediately.
Your Eye Health
While vision impairment is one of the top disabilities among American adults, eye exams every two to three years can help prevent and minimize the impairment. For some, factors necessitate more regular exams.
If you found this post useful, check out the rest of our health blog.