Routine eye exams are important – for everyone.
During a comprehensive eye exam, your doctor will check for common eye diseases and those that may lead to vision loss, determine whether you need a prescription for corrective lenses, assess how your eyes are working together, and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.
Often, eye doctors are the first health care providers to detect signs of chronic health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure. By carefully examining the structures of the eye during a comprehensive eye exam, optometrists and ophthalmologists can evaluate the condition of tiny blood vessels in the eye, which provides clues to how blood vessels throughout the body are possibly being affected by conditions such as hypertension and elevated cholesterol levels. Early detection of these health problems can enable early treatment.
To keep your eyes healthy and maintain your vision, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends a comprehensive eye exam every two years for adults ages 18 to 60, and annual exams for people aged 61 and older. However, if you have a family history of eye disease (glaucoma, macular degeneration, etc.), diabetes, or high blood pressure, or have had an eye injury or surgery, you should have a comprehensive exam every year, unless otherwise indicated by your doctor.
Adults who wear contact lenses or glasses should also have eye exams annually.
Though people tend to have more vision problems as they get older, eye exams are important for children, too. Vision tests for children insure their eyesight is developing normally and that they have the visual acuity and visual skills required for the classroom and other activities.
The US Preventative Services Task Force recommends vision screening for all children at least once between ages 3 and 5 years to detect amblyopia or risk factors for the disease.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the number of blind and visually impaired people in the US is estimated to double by 2050. If everyone takes care of their vision health as part of their overall health and wellness, that number could significantly reduce and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans.