Why it's doneBy Mayo Clinic staff
An eye exam helps detect eye problems at their earliest stage — when they're most treatable. Regular eye exams give your eye care professional a chance to help you correct or adapt to vision changes and provide you with tips on caring for your eyes.
When to have an eye exam
Several factors may determine how frequently you need an eye exam, including your age, health and risk of developing eye problems. General guidelines include:
- Children 5 years and younger. For children under 3, your pediatrician will likely look for the most common eye problems — lazy eye, crossed eyes or turned-out eyes. Depending on your child's willingness to cooperate, his or her first more comprehensive eye exam should be done between the ages of 3 and 5.
- School-age children and adolescents. Have your child's vision checked before he or she enters first grade. If your child has no symptoms of vision problems and you don't have a family history of vision problems, have your child's vision rechecked every two years. If your child does have vision problems or a family history of vision problems, have your child's vision rechecked as advised by your eye doctor.
- Adults. In general, if you're healthy and have no symptoms of vision problems, you should have your vision checked every five to 10 years in your 20s and 30s. Between ages 40 and 65, have your vision checked every two to four years. After age 65, get your eyes checked every one to two years. If you wear glasses, have a family history of eye disease or have a chronic disease that puts you at greater risk of eye disease, such as diabetes, have your eyes checked more frequently.
- Pediatric eye evaluations. San Francisco, Calif.: American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://one.aao.org/printerfriendly.aspx?cid=2e30f625-1b04-45b9-9b7c-c06770d02fe5. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- Comprehensive eye and vision examination. American Optometric Association. http://www.aoa.org/eye-exams.xml. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- Clinical practice guidelines: Comprehensive adult eye and vision examination. St. Louis, Mo.: American Optometric Association. http://www.aoa.org/eye-exams.xml Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- Riordan-Eva P, et al. Vaughan & Asbury's General Ophthalmology. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=720. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- What is a doctor of optometry? American Optometric Association. http://www.aoa.org/x4891.xml. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.