Do You Need an Eye Exam Every Year?

Do You Need a Yearly Eye Exam?

Female optometrist examining mans eyes
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Most doctors recommend a yearly eye exam, although some people feel that an eye exam every year is excessive. Is having your eyes checked every year really necessary? Below, some real life answers and explanations regarding the importance of having an annual eye exam.

An Eye Exam Every Year?

A yearly eye exam is a good idea. Some people actually have concerns that warrant exams or office visits more often than once per year.

One must understand that an eye examination is not only a simple vision check. A comprehensive eye examination is a fairly complicated series of tests that not only checks your eye sight, but also neurological function, eye pressure, eye muscle coordination and health of the external and internal eye structures.

Do Kids Need a Yearly Eye Exam?

Children are not exempt from the annual eye exam. At around six months and again at 3 years of age, most pediatricians screen children for potential eye problems. If you are concerned about something or have a family history of childhood eye problems, then your child should be seen by a pediatric optometrist or ophthalmologist. Otherwise, a full comprehensive eye examination should be performed between the ages of 4 and 6 years of age. At this point, children are entering school. Undetected vision problems at a young age can set a child up for learning disabilities, bad behavior and poor grades.

An Annual Eye Exam for Adults?

Adults that have no family history of eye disease and have good vision, an eye exam every two to three years is recommended for patients under the age of forty. In today’s world, however, technology has increased our visual demand tremendously. If you begin having eye problems using your iphone or while surfing the internet, you may want to schedule your eye exam a bit sooner.

At 40 years of age, a baseline eye examination is definitely recommended. Why 40? Unfortunately, for all of us approaching this mark, this is the time when early signs of disease and changes in your vision may occur. If you wear glasses and are relatively healthy, then an eye examination every 18 months is probably sufficient. Once a year may be a bit too often, and two years may not be often enough. Obviously, if you notice anything different or strange about your eyes or your vision, seek care immediately. If you have a family history of some type of eye disease, then annual eye exams are definitely important.

Annual Eye Exam for Older Adults?

After the age of forty, eye exam every 18 months is generally a good rule to follow. At around 60 years of age, annual eye examinations are recommended because of the increased risk of developing cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other eye diseases.

Diabetics and Eye Exams

If you have diabetes, an annual eye exam should be mandatory. Diabetes is the third leading cause of blindness in the United States. If you have well-controlled diabetes, a dilated eye examination is mandatory every year. If your diabetes is not under control, your doctor may recommend an examination every three to six months.

Diabetic patients have a higher risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Early detection is critical in the treatment of diabetes-related eye disease. (If you have other chronic medical problems such as hypertension, allergies, arthritis or other health conditions, you really should schedule an eye exam annually.)

Contact Lens Wearers Need an Annual Eye Exam

If you wear contact lenses, an annual eye exam and contact lens evaluation is necessary. Don’t give your doctor a hard time about having to come in once a year for your contact lens examination. There are very good reasons why this is common practice.

Besides making sure your prescription is up-to-date, eye doctors check the health of the eye, the curvature of the cornea and inspect the eye for microscopic complications related to wearing a contact lens. Abnormal blood vessel growth related to a lack of oxygen to the cornea is another thing that your eye doctor may check for at your annual contact lens examination. Remember, contact lenses are medical devices regulated by the FDA.

Vision is one of our most precious of senses. Having good eyesight greatly improves quality of life. Make an effort to keep your eyes in their best condition by scheduling an eye exam every year.


Recommendations for Regular optometric Care. American Optometric Association, Aug 1994.