What to Expect
It’s important for everyone – young, old and all ages in between – to get a routine eye exam by an ophthalmologist, also known as an eye doctor. Just like any other part of your body and any other disease, early diagnosis and treatment is important.
Your eye doctor will ask you questions about your medical and eye health history. Be sure to tell them about anything unusual you’ve noticed about your vision, even if you don’t think it’s important – it could tell your doctor a lot about you.
Next he will check your visual acuity – a test that tells the doctor how sharp things look to you. You will be asked to read the letters on an eye chart. The doctor will determine your acuity by the size of the letters you can read on the chart. View a standardized eye chart.
Your eye doctor will also test for refractive errors. A refractive error is an eye disorder that the shape of your eye doesn't allow the light to reflect off your retina correctly. This makes images blurred.
To correct a refractive error, your doctor may recommend glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.
Your eye doctor will also exam you to determine:
After the exam, your eye doctor will discuss the results with you and if there are any concerns that he would like to address.
Frequency of Eye Exams
Before Age 3
Your pediatrician will likely do a standard vision test around age 3. If there is a family history of vision problems or if your child appears to have any of the following conditions they should be examined by an eye doctor right away:
Your pediatrician will continue to screen your child’s vision periodically during their regular pediatric checkups.
Most young adults have healthy eyes, but they still need to take care of their vision by wearing protective eyewear when they’re outside, playing sports, working with chemicals or taking part in other activities that could cause an eye injury.
Have your eyes examined by an eye doctor at least once between the ages of 20 and 29 and at least twice between the ages of 30 and 39.
If you experience any of the following, regardless of your age, see your eye doctor as soon as possible:
Adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40. This will give your ophthalmologist an idea of where your vision is at. The evaluation creates greater opportunity for early treatment and preservation of vision. Based on the results of the initial screening, your doctor will give you a recommended eye exam schedule.
Several common eye diseases can affect people 40 and older without them knowing there is any problem with their eyes.
Those who are age 65 and over should have complete eye exams by their eye doctor every 1-2 years to check for cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other eye conditions.