Eye health is one of those crucial things we tend to take for granted. It's easy to let it slip and wait until the next year to schedule an exam. However, keeping tabs on your eyesight is an important part of your health and needs regular monitoring. You might not notice a slight change in your eyesight, but regular exams can catch changes early before they start to have a negative impact your everyday activities.
An outdated prescription can lead to eyestrain and headaches, which can further damage your sight. Knowing how often you should get an eye exam is essential, and while a trip to the eye doctor might not be the most exciting item on your to-do list, it's a trip your future self will definitely thank you for.
Keep reading to learn exactly how often you should get an eye exam.
Just like regular doctor and dentist visits, how often you should get an eye exam has a lot to do with your age and health. According to the American Optometric Association, healthy, low-risk adult patients between the ages of 18 and 60 should undergo an eye exam once every two years. Individuals who are considered at-risk should schedule eye exams annually, or as frequently as their optometrist recommends.
"At-risk" factors can include previous eye injuries, high blood pressure, jobs that are visually demanding—including those that require all-day computer use—previous eye surgery, or a family history of eye-related health conditions, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma. Annual visits are also recommended for individuals who wear glasses or contacts.
Where to Go
You’ll want to schedule your visit with either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. An optometrist is a licensed eye doctor who can assess vision concerns, prescribe glasses or contacts, and write prescriptions for eye medication. An ophthalmologist, on the other hand, is a medical doctor with a specialty in eye care. The main difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist is that the latter can perform eye surgery (and is a bit harder to spell).
What to Expect
Depending on where and with whom you choose to get your eye exam performed, you should plan on spending anywhere from $50 to more than $200. If you’re scheduling your appointment someplace new, it never hurts to ask about cost when you call to book the appointment. Make sure the exam includes certain standard tests: an eye chart evaluation eye coordination testing; pressure test and optic nerve evaluation; testing for farsightedness, nearsightedness, presbyopia, and astigmatism; and a review of personal and family health history. How often you should get an eye exam will depend on your personal history and needs, so connect with an eye doctor you trust.
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