Routine eye exams go far beyond scanning for vision problems and disease. An eye exam can also be used to identify general health problems and spot serious issues before they even exist. That’s why it’s important to get an eye exam regularly, and as recommended by your doctor. But how often is often enough? Read on to learn more about eye exams and how often you should be getting your eyes checked for optimal vision health.

Why You Need an Eye Exam

An eye exam can detect any eye problems when they are still treatable. It can also identify other serious health conditions that you may have, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cancer. The eye care professional will also help you adapt to any vision changes and provide you with information on how to better care for your eyes.

When to Have an Eye Exam

Several factors will determine how often you need to have an eye exam, such as your overall health, age, and risk factors. The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) recommends having your eyes examined as follows:

Guidelines for Adults

If you’re between 20 and 39 years of age and are of low risk, you should undergo an eye examination every 2 to 3 years or when you notice any changes to your eyesight. If you’re a mature adult aged 40 to 60, you should visit your optometrist every 2 years unless otherwise directed.

When You’re Over 60

Getting a regular eye exam is even more important during your senior years. Vision changes occur more rapidly as you get older and seniors are more prone to health problems like diabetes and hypertension which can affect their vision. Many medications also have eye-related side effects that put seniors at greater risk. If you’re over the age of 60, make sure to have your eyes checked at least once a year or when you notice any changes to your vision. 

When You Should Start Taking Your Children

Infants and toddlers should have their first eye exam completed between the ages of 6 and 9 months to check for any developmental issues. Then they should return for an eye examination before they start school, between the ages of 2 to 5, depending on your eye doctor’s recommendation. If you have school-aged children, they should undergo an eye examination annually until the age of 20, even if they do not have any vision conditions of concern. Their eyes are still developing during this period and an eye exam can catch vision issues well before there are any obvious symptoms. The sooner issues are detected, the more likely it can be treated.

What to Bring to Your Eye Exam

You should bring any eyewear that you currently wear so your optometrist can make sure the prescription is still the best one for you. If you take any medications, you should also bring a list of these for your eye doctor to review. The eye doctor will also ask you about your health and your family history, so you may want to bring a list of previous medical procedures and health issues that run in the family.

Many factors can influence the frequency of eye examinations and only an optometrist can determine when a patient should return for their next one. Visit us today at Laurier Optical for your next eye exam.