How Do You Know You Need An Eye Exam?
Be honest — when was the last time you went to your optometrist or ophthalmologist for an eye exam? If you wear glasses and haven’t been in over two years, it's a good idea to pick up a phone and book an appointment, stat. But in all seriousness, knowing how often to get an eye exam, especially if you aren’t actively suffering from any vision or eye issues, can be a feat in and of itself.
How often should you get your eyes checked?
If your vision is good and your eyes are healthy, the American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests you have a complete exam done once in your 20s, twice in your 30s, and a complete eye exam done at 40, as this is when early signs of a change in vision or disease can manifest. However, there are other factors that come into play that may require you to increase visits to your optometrist, including having a higher risk of eye disease or vision problems.
More frequent visits are recommended for anyone over 60, those who already wear glasses or contacts (prescriptions do change, you know), or people who have had eye surgery, an eye injury, or eye damage. You’ll also want to consider more regular visits to your eye doctor’s office if you have a health condition that can cause eye problems, or a family history of eye disease.
When is it time for an exam?
There are a few things to keep your eyes peeled for (pun intended) as signs that it's time for an eye appointment. If you notice that the quality of your vision is starting to decrease, making it increasingly difficult to read a street sign or a book, take those as a sign to schedule an exam.
Allergies are also a good excuse to book your next appointment with your eye doctor. If you start to notice that your eyes are irritated and appear red, but you can’t see anything physically disrupting your vision, all signs lead to allergies — even if you’re not stuffed up and sneezing. Your eye doctor is able to prescribe, or recommend over-the-counter, eye drops or medications to make a difference with your symptoms.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but if you clock in any changes with your eyes or feel like things may be off, it’s better to be safe than sorry and risk missing the early signs of eye disease, injury, or infection. If you’re experiencing any eye pain, double vision, or redness or draining in your eyes, it's a great idea to get it checked out. Even lesser known symptoms, like seeing flashes of light, circles or halos around lights, or floaters in your vision, are also worth seeing a professional.