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How Often Should You Get an Eye Exam?

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An optometrist examines a female patient's eyes while she sits behind a phoropter at the eye doctors office

Our eyes are often referred to as the windows to our souls. They allow us to experience the world and all its beauty in vivid colours and clear images. As we go through life, we must take care of our eyes’ health and prevent any potential issues from arising. 

One way to do so is by regularly getting eye exams. However, there is confusion about how often one should get an eye exam and the duration, which usually takes between 30-60 minutes.

When it comes to how often you should have your eyes checked by an optometrist, we recommend:

  • For children 6-18, a yearly exam is needed to check their eyes. 
  • For adults 19-64, an exam every two years is recommended.
  • For adults 65+, an annual eye exam is recommended. 

Why are Regular Eye Exams Important?

Your eyes are one of your most precious assets, allowing you to experience the world around you in vibrant detail. That’s why it’s important to take care of them properly, starting with regular eye exams. Not only can these exams detect eye conditions like glaucoma and cataracts, but they can also help identify potential problems before they develop into serious issues. 

Plus, keeping up with routine exams helps make sure that your glasses or contacts prescriptions are up-to-date, allowing you to see more clearly. At our practice, we’re dedicated to providing a welcoming, professional environment where you can receive comprehensive eye care. 

How Often You Should Get an Eye Exam Based on Age & Risk Factors

Maintaining good eye health is crucial, no matter your age. According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, adults 19-64 should have an eye exam every two years. However, this can change based on individual needs.

Certain risk factors may prompt more frequent visits to your eye doctor. For instance, individuals with diabetes, hypertension, or a family history of eye disease should schedule eye exams more frequently, around once a year.

Your eye health plays a significant role in your overall well-being, so it’s essential to prioritize scheduling regular check-ups with your eye doctor. Our team of professionals is here to help your eyes stay healthy and happy for years to come.

A female patient gets her eyes examined by an optometrist using a slit lamp

The Recommended Frequency for Children, Adults, & Seniors

Regular eye exams are vital for maintaining healthy vision throughout one’s life. For children, eye exams should be conducted starting from six months old, then at three years old, and before starting the first grade. After this, they should have a yearly appointment between the years of 6 and 18.  

Adults aged 19 to 64 should get an eye exam at least once every two years, while those 65 years old and above should have an exam at least once a year. Seniors aged 65 and above should have their eyes checked once every year, as they are more prone to developing conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. 

Benefits of Regular Eye Exams 

Regular eye exams are an essential aspect of maintaining overall health, as they can identify potential eye diseases and other health issues. These exams go beyond just checking vision clarity, as they can detect conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and even diabetes. 

Early detection of these conditions leads to more successful treatment and can prevent irreversible vision loss. Furthermore, regular eye exams can catch changes in vision that may be subtle but still affect daily life, such as eye strain and headaches. 

By scheduling regular eye exams with a professional optometrist or ophthalmologist, individuals can better monitor their eye health and prevent potential issues from progressing.

The Risk of Skipping or Delaying Eye Exams

Skipping or delaying an eye exam may seem like a minor inconvenience, but it can have significant impacts on overall eye health. Without regular check-ups, issues such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment may go undetected and progress to irreversible stages.

Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to blurred vision and difficulty seeing at night. If left untreated, cataracts can eventually lead to blindness. Glaucoma is a condition where there is damage to the optic nerve, often caused by increased pressure in the eye. If not caught early on, glaucoma can eventually result in permanent vision loss.

Another serious issue that can be detected through regular eye exams is diabetes. Changes in blood vessels in the eyes can indicate high blood sugar levels, which may lead to diabetes or other health problems if not properly managed. In addition, eye exams can also detect signs of hypertension and high cholesterol.

Aside from detecting potential health issues, regular eye exams are also important for managing existing vision problems. Many individuals may be living with undiagnosed vision impairments such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. These conditions can hinder daily activities and impact quality of life if left untreated.

Eye exams provide an opportunity for individuals to update their glasses or contact lens prescriptions. As our eyes age, our vision changes and requires adjustments to maintain clear vision. Without regular check-ups, these changes may go unnoticed and can lead to discomfort or strain on the eyes.

Book Your Next Eye Exam at the Eye Care Centre

If you or anyone in your family is due for an eye exam, The Eye Care Centre in Red Deer, Rimby and Rocky Mountain House can help! We offer a wide range of services and can help monitor your eye health and overall well-being. Book an appointment today.

Written by Dr. Daryl Berger

Dr. Berger was born and raised in Red Deer. After studying at Red Deer College and the U of A, he graduated with honours from the optometry program at Waterloo in 2007. Daryl enjoys music, cars, biking, hiking, snowboarding and travel. He and his wife, Pamela, have twin boys and a dog named Gus.
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