Many people think that they should only have an eye examination when they experience an eye problem. This is a misguided conception. Everyone needs to have regular eye examinations regardless of their health or age. One major benefit of having a complete eye examination as that it helps you to get the right prescription of glasses or contacts when necessary. It also assesses how well your eyes are working together. At the exam, the doctor widens the pupil with eye drops so that he can see the inside of the eyes better.
An eye exam is among the best ways of protecting your vision. Eye problems can be detected at an early stage when they are treatable. When you have regular eye examinations, your doctors gets a chance to help you to correct your vision or adapt to vision changes. You may think you have perfect eyesight because you don’t experience any eye problems but you still need to have eye exams from time to time.
How often should you get eye exams?
The frequency of eye examinations depends on age, general health and environmental or genetic concerns. In most cases, having annual complete eye exams is recommended. Let us see how often different age-groups should have eye exams:
Toddlers: Routine eye exams are vital for kids. They need a good vision for their studies as much of the studies involve visual learning modes. Poor vision or eye health can adversely affect their education. According to The American Optometric Association (AOA), children should have their first eye exam when they reach 6 months. The next exams are done at 3 years of age and when starting first grade. If the child has some risk factors for development of eye problems, it is advisable to have the first eye exam even sooner. These factors include: premature or low birth weight, development delays, turned or crossed eyes, a family history of eye problems, etc.
Children of 6 years and above: The child should have an eye exam when he/she starts school. As children grow, they develop quick physical body changes and the eyes are no different. The child’s vision can change abruptly from time to time. Parents should therefore remain vigilant in making sure that all the visual needs of the child are met as early as possible. If you notice the child adjusting their distance or squinting while watching TV or reading, it is time for an eye exam.
Adults: People of 18 years and above need to have an eye exam after one or two years. You should also have an eye exam any time you experience an acute change to your vision. This helps to monitor changes in vision and make the necessary corrections. As you reach your 40s and 50s, regular eye exams are even more important. You need to constantly update your prescription for contact lenses or glasses and make sure there are no other visual problems.
It is important to understand that many eye problems do not have physical symptoms at early stages of development. You will only experience these symptoms when the problem is quite advanced. Eye problems are treatable when discovered early. The main aim of regular eye exams, therefore, is to help discover and treat these problems as soon as they start to develop.