Regular eye exams are one of the most important things a person can do to ensure good vision and optimal eye health, as routine exams allow optometrists to look for specific eye and eye care problems. Many people, however, are uncertain how often they should have an eye exam or what to expect during the examination. As we in the optometry industry celebrate National Eye Exam Month in August, here’s an overview of how eye exams can help improve your vision and potentially save your sight.
Frequency of Eye Exams
Adults aged 18 to 60 who are free from symptoms of or risk for eye problems should undergo an eye exam every two years, according to the American Optometric Association, depending on the patient’s age, vision risk factors and current use of prescription eye-wear. Adults in that age group who have eye problems or at risk for developing them should have an eye exam every one to two years as recommended.
Conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration, can increase the risk for eye problems. Certain medications and occupations can increase this risk, as can wearing contacts or having a history of eye surgery.
Children should undergo their first eye exam at six months of age and another at about 3 years old. Children without risk factors for vision problems should go once more before the first grade and then every two years thereafter. Risk factors for eye problems in children include premature birth, low birth weight, family history of eye problems, and other medical disorders.
The Comprehensive Eye Exam
A comprehensive eye exam will include a review of personal and family history (especially as it relates to eye health), an evaluation of distance and near vision acuity, and testing for the presence of nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. The ophthalmologist will look for signs of cataracts and macular degeneration, as well as perform an eye pressure test and optic nerve examination to rule out glaucoma.
Periodic eye exams are essential to good vision and overall health because many vision problems cause no symptoms. As the result, many people live each day unaware of their own serious vision problems. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent vision loss or even permanent damage to the eyes.
Celebrate By Exploring a New Career
For some, National Eye Exam Month is a good reminder to schedule an eye exam with a licensed optometrist. For those in the industry, it’s proof that we’re making a difference in the lives of others. Interested in taking the first steps towards a career as an Optician? Click here to learn more about the online Optician career diploma program at Penn Foster Career School.