Is it time to get your eyes checked? The answer is probably yes.
The American Optometric Association recommends the following eye examination frequency:
- Birth to 2 years Eye exam at 6-12 months
- 3 to 5 years At least one exam
- 6 to 18 years Annually or as recommended
- 18 to 64 years At least every 2 years or as recommended
- 65 and older Annually
Many parents may be under the impression that a pediatrician does a sufficient eye evaluation as part of the well child visit or that a school screening is adequate for their child as long as their child is not having issues. While these screenings are of benefit they certainly do not replace a comprehensive eye exam. In the infant and toddler population your optometrist will thoroughly assess eye alignment and eye health to rule out conditions such as amblyopia ("lazy eye") and strabismus ("turned eye") to ensure the eyes can develop properly from a neurological standpoint. As a child begins school further evaluation of eye coordination, eye movements and assessing for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism is important to aid effective learning in school.
Most of the population, regardless of age nowadays, are using computer screens and digital devices more often. This increased screen usage may bring with it symptoms such as neck/back pain, headaches, dry eye, and/or blurred vision. Often times at your eye exam your optometrist can provide recommendations ranging from simple eye exercises, ergonomic changes, blue light and glare prevention to specific prescriptions tailored to your specific needs. These simple recommendation can improve and enhance your vision and reduce fatigue.
Throughout our life and into retirement years, the importance of eye exams and the frequency cannot be understated. We are all living longer and our precious gift of sight is so important to maintain. Discussion of ways to prevent eye disease such as cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease starts early with your optometrist and includes protecting your eyes from sunlight as well as eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables. Should eye diseases occur, technologies and treatments are rapidly changing and the importance of frequent exams will allow you to stay abreast of the available options.
by Mitch Albers, OD