How Often Should You Have A Comprehensive Eye Exam?

The Importance of Extensive Eye Exams

Comprehensive eye tests are essential for maintaining ocular health and monitoring for signs of eye disease injury, allergy, infection, or visual motor deficits and neurological impairment. The question is: How frequently are such examinations necessary?

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Factors Determining How Often You Should Have An Exam

Age and health are important factors in determining the ideal frequency of such testing. While reputable optometric organizations offer general guidelines the most accurate determination should always come from your personal eye doctor. Depending on the nature of the testing, such assessments can take 30-90 minutes

The American Optometric Association recommends the following guidelines for scheduling eye assessments:

Babies/Children

  • 6-12 Months- Low Risk: Once within this period 

               High Risk: Once, or as recommended by an optometrist

  • 3-5 Years- Low Risk: Once

                High Risk: Once, or as recommended

  • 6-7 Years- Low Risk: Once before 1st grade, followed by annual exams 

                High Risk: Once, or as recommended

Adults:

  • 18-39- Low Risk: At least every 2 years

               High Risk: Annually, or as recommended

  • 40-64- Low Risk: At least every 2 years

                High Risk: Every 2 years or as recommended 

  • 65+: Annually for low-risk seniors

               High Risk: Annually, or as recommended

Health Conditions, Age, and Other Factors

Those with higher risk factors requiring more frequent testing include:

  • Those with a family history that makes them vulnerable to ocular diseases such as glaucoma or diabetes 
  •  People taking steroids or other medications that can affect vision 
  • Those who wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, and require more frequent visits to assess changesPreparing for your exam:
  • Bring your glasses or contact lenses to the appointment
  • Be prepared to speak about your personal and family medical history, your diet and exercise, and your current medications  Ask for clarification if you require information
Health Conditions, Age, and Other Factors
Symptoms of Conditions Requiring Immediate Care

Symptoms of Conditions Requiring Immediate Care

If you notice symptoms of eye related injury, infection, allergy, visual-motor, or neurological deficits, contact your optometrist as soon as possible. Depending on the severity, emergency medical intervention may be necessary. Be careful to look for any symptoms following a head injury or trauma. 

Signs that warrant attention include:

  • double vision, loss of vision, or blurriness
  • pain and discomfort of the orbital region
  • Swelling, redness, drainage, discharge, or crustiness
  • a feeling that something is lodged in the eye
  • bulging eyes
  • floaters
  • difficulty with balance or gaifever or nausea
Symptoms of Conditions Requiring Immediate Care

How To Take Care Of Your Eyes

There are several measures you can take to maintain your eye health.

  • Speak with your optometrist to determine how often to schedule routine testing for general visual acuity and comprehensive examinations for a more thorough assessment of overall eye health. Trained optometrists can monitor for diseases and detect symptoms that are missed by laypeople.
  • Wear protective goggles to prevent injuries during sports, or from work environments where there is a high risk for ocular trauma.
  • Maintain proper hygiene by adopting appropriate sanitary habits to prevent infection or the risk of spreading it.
  • Proper diet and exercise are crucial for preventing health disorders such as diabetes, which in addition to other health complications can lead to vision disorders. Smoking, alcohol, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are additional factors that make one susceptible to ocular disease, as are certain medications such as those that are steroid based.
  • Always follow-up with an optometrist after noting any signs of infection, injury, allergy, or visual-motor and neurological deficits.

Common Questions

Yes. While both are important, a regular test assesses vision acuity and monitors current prescriptions for corrective lenses. Extensive testing checks overall visual health. Speak with your optometrist to find out how often you should schedule both types of testing.
An optometrist assesses overall visual health and monitors for such serious complications as glaucoma, infection, injury, or difficulties involving visual-motor or neurological deficits.
A few things can be expected when coming in for an eye exam. Every patient will be greeted by the front desk. For first time patients there will be some paperwork to fill out, namely intake forms. First time patients should also bring their insurance information if applicable. Returning patients need only arrive at the office and wait to be seen. If a patient wears glasses they should bring in their most recent pair so the doctors can take a look. Lastly, everyone should have an enjoyable and safe experience.
You should have your eyes tested once a year if you are 40 or older. The reason is that we are more likely to develop eye diseases as we age, such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, dry eye and presbyopia. An annual comprehensive eye exam can detect these diseases early, even before any symptoms show. However, this is a general rule, and depending on your medical and family history, some patients need to come back as much as every few months, if your eye doctor is monitoring for potential progression of eye disease. It is very important to follow the recommendations of frequency given to you by your eye doctor. Many eye diseases cause irreversible vision loss which could have been prevented if an eye doctor was monitoring the patient more frequently.
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Summary

Regular eye tests assess visual acuity.  Comprehensive eye exams are essential for maintaining overall visual health. While  age, health, and family history are important factors in determining the frequency of testing, speak with an optometrist to determine how frequently you should schedule both types of evaluations to maintain your ocular health.

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Testimonials


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.


Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.


June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.


Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.


Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.


Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.


Amy Fagerness
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