At Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons, we always recommend that our patients have regular comprehensive medical eye examinations in addition to their routine eye exams. If you wear corrective lenses but have otherwise healthy eyes, we it’s important to have a routine eye exam (to keep your lens prescription up-to-date) every year. If you don’t wear glasses or contact lenses, we still advise having a routine eye exam every two years at minimum. Comprehensive medical eye exams aren’t generally needed as frequently as routine ones, but they are extremely important to the health of your eyes. Depending on factors like age and prior medical history, certain patients may need to have these exams more or less often than others.
It may surprise you to learn that there’s no universally recognized schedule for eye exams. However, based on the recommendations of The American Academy of Ophthalmologists (AAO) and Mayo Clinic, we’ve simplified a timeline that you can use as a guide:
A child should have his or her first medical eye exam at six months of age, but an infant with a family history of eye-related medical problems (childhood cataracts, childhood glaucoma, retinoblastoma, etc.) should have his or her first comprehensive eye exam soon as possible.
If he or she has normal, healthy eyes, a child’s next medical eye exam should occur at age three. We also strongly recommend a routine eye exam just before the child starts school. It’s important that a child’s medical eye assessment be as up-to-date as possible before they start the school year, both for academic performance and overall wellbeing.
As a child goes through his or her school years, routine eye exams should continue to be administered every one-to-two years. As a child’s ability to recognize letters and numbers (as well as their general ability to communicate) improves, optometrists and ophthalmologists will be able to determine an increasingly accurate measure of a child’s visual acuity.
Age 18 through age 40:
For most of life, an individual with normal, healthy eyes, no corrective lenses, and no other complicating conditions should have a routine eye exam every two years and a medical eye exam every five-to-ten years. If you have or have had a medical condition that may affect your eyes, make sure you learn and follow the recommended eye-exam schedule associated with that condition. The necessary frequency of your medical eye examinations will depend upon the severity and stage of your specific condition.
Age 40 through age 54:
At age 40, regardless of their eye-health situation, everyone should have a baseline comprehensive medical eye exam to check for eye diseases and other abnormalities. Based on the results of this test, the eye doctor may recommend more frequent testing. From age 40 to 54, adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease should see an ophthalmologist for a medical eye exam every two-to-four years. They should also continue to have a routine eye exam every two years.
Age 55 through age 64:
During this ten-year period, the AAO recommends that anyone without eye-health risk factors increase the frequency of their comprehensive medical eye exams to once every one-to-three years. At Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons, we recommend having a medical eye exam once every year to ensure that proper treatment can be promptly implemented for any potential eye-health issues.
65 and older:
The incidence of unrecognized eye disease increases with age, so it’s recommended that adults past age 65 see an ophthalmologist every one-to-two years or sooner if needed. Again, we recommend yearly medical eye-health evaluations.
If you have healthy eyes and don’t need corrective lenses, it’s easy to forget to regularly see an eye doctor. Because many eye-health and vision issues don’t have obvious signs or symptoms early on, it’s easy and fairly common for them to go unnoticed for long periods of time. If you think you’re due for a routine or comprehensive eye exam, or if you’d simply like to learn more about us, please contact Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons to schedule an appointment. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for tips for healthy eyes, as well as the latest eye-health news and updates.