Eye Exam Timeline: When Should you have Eye Exams?

Your vision is important to us at Artisan Optics in Boise Idaho

 

We are all aware of the importance eating healthy, regular exercise, annual physicals and twice-yearly dental cleaning, but what about eye exams? There's more to a comprehensive eye exam than just getting an updated glasses or contact lens prescription. A comprehensive eye exam evaluates the function and health of the eyes, and can even detect systemic conditions and disease before symptoms are noticed.

 

Get your child the best vision care at Artisan Optics in Boise Idaho

 

Before we discuss recommended ages and frequency of eye examinations, it is important to keep in mind that vision screenings do not replace comprehensive eye exams. Vision screenings are used by the DMV, schools, pediatricians, primary care physicians, and volunteer organizations to provide a quick cursory check to pick up on any obvious issues that require further testing. A vision screening cannot diagnose a vision or ocular health problem.

 

The primary difference between a vision screening and a comprehensive eye exam are the outcomes they produce. Let's compare eyes to teeth. A vision screening is like brushing your teeth and using mouthwash – a quick, cursory cleaning; whereas a comprehensive eye exam is like having your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist and checked by a dentist – a thorough cleaning and oral health evaluation. Two different approaches with two very different outcomes.

 

Recommended frequency of comprehensive pediatric eye exams.

Young children should have comprehensive eye exams to ensure proper development and detect vision problems early on (such as lazy eye, eye turns, nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, etc).

 

As children enter preschool and kindergarten it is important to detect any vision problems that can impact classroom activities. 25% (1 in 4) of children have a vision problem significant enough to impede academic performance. Why does this matter? Because an estimated 80% of learning is visual, accomplished through eyesight. There are even recent studies that indicate ADHD is sometimes misdiagnosed when vision problems are the actual underlying culprit.

 

Children (low risk), comprehensive eye exams should occur:

 

Children (high risk) require more frequent eye exams. Some of the factors that put children at increased risk for eye disease and vision problems are:

  • Developmental delay

  • Medications (some medications require regular monitoring and follow-up by an eye doctor)

  • Personal or family history of eye disease

  • Premature birth

  • Presence of systemic disease (diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, etc)

  • Previous eye injury

 

Recommended frequency of comprehensive adult eye exams:

Ages 18 – 39 (low risk) every two years

You are considered low risk if you:

  • Do not wear glasses or contact lenses

  • Have no symptoms of vision problems (including eye strain or headaches after reading or working on the computer)

  • Do not have a family history of eye disease (glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal detachments, etc)

  • Do not have a chronic, systemic health condition (hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, autoimmune disease, etc)

  • Do not take prescription medications

Ages 18+ (high risk) annually (every year)

You are considered high risk if you:

  • Wear glasses, contact lenses or both

  • Experience Computer Vision Syndrome (eye strain, headache, blurred vision following computer use)

  • Experience binocular vision dysfunction

  • Have a family history of eye disease (glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal tears, retinal detachments, etc)

  • Have a chronic, system health condition (hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, autoimmune disease, etc)

  • Take prescription medications

Ages 40 – 64 (low risk) every two years

You are considered low risk if you:

  • Do not wear glasses or contact lenses

  • Have no symptoms of vision problems (including eye strain or headaches after reading or working on the computer)

  • Do not have a family history of eye disease (glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal detachments, etc)

  • Do not have a chronic, systemic health condition (hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, autoimmune disease, etc)

  • Do not take prescription medications

     

It is important to remember that even for low risk adults ages 40-64, comprehensive eye exams are important due to the onset of presbyopia which begins occurring at approximately age 40. This is when the majority of people begin noticing increased difficulty reading. This includes increased difficulty using digital devices such as cell phones and tablets. Comprehensive eye exams are necessary to monitor health and vision changes that commonly occur among middle age adults.

Ages 65+ annually (every year)

Adults 65 years of age and older should have annual comprehensive eye exams, even in the absence of visual / ocular symptoms. As we age we are more susceptible to health conditions that affect our vision, and require regular monitoring. The incidence of ocular disease increases with age, as does the occurrence of cataracts. Early diagnosis means that treatment can begin sooner in the disease process, which leads to better long-term outcomes. Annual comprehensive eye exams are the first step to maintaining the best vision possible.

 

The frequency of comprehensive eye exams depends on age, past ocular history (refractive error, eye surgery, etc.), individual and family medical history, and the use of prescription medications. It is important to establish care with an eye doctor that includes regular comprehensive eye exams; just as you establish care with a primary care physician for annual physicals to monitor overall health.

 

If you, or members of your family, have not yet established care with an eye doctor and are not on a regular schedule for dilated eye exams – we invite you to call our office to schedule an appointment. This is especially important if you've not had your eyes dilated within the past 2 years. Establishing a vision and ocular health baseline helps identify future changes that may be signs of eye disease at an early stage when many treatments can have the greatest impact on preserving vision.

 

Get your entire family the best vision care possible at Artisan Optics Boise Idaho

Posted by Artisan Optics at 5/18/2017 4:48:00 AM
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