How Often Should Adults Get An Eye Exam?

Every one in ten Americans has not had an eye exam in over five years. Regular eye appointments are important for more than just updating your glasses prescription or getting a new set of contact lenses. Even if you have crystal-clear vision, routine check-ups can tell you a lot about your overall health.

At a Glance

  • Regular optical exams can help correct vision problems, detect eye diseases, and more.
  • Adults should get a comprehensive eye exam at least once every one to two years, even if they don't have any vision problems.
  • Individuals at a higher risk for eye problems should visit their local optometrist more frequently or as recommended by their eye doctor.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that at-risk adults get an in-person eye exam at least once a year. But just why exactly are regular eye exams so important?

Keep reading to learn more.

Why an Annual Eye Exam Is Important

It can be hard to fully understand when to book an eye exam if you don't understand why these appointments are important in the first place. Even if you enjoy 20/20 vision, you shouldn't skip regular eye exams.

Here's why.

Eye Exams Correct Problems With Vision

Your brain is excellent at adapting. This ability, known as neuroplasticity, allows your brain to seamlessly adjust to gradual vision loss by enhancing your other senses. This can effectively trick you into thinking your eyesight is fine when your vision is slowly worsening.

Changes in vision usually happen over an extended period of time. Even if you had excellent eyesight in your childhood, it may not remain perfect forever. You might be surprised by what your local optometrist can tell you about your eye health.

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Frequent Eye Exams Help Detect Eye Diseases Early

Your annual eye exam provides the perfect opportunity to renew an existing prescription or get fitted for a pair of luxurious designer frames. But that's not all these appointments are good for. Comprehensive vision screenings can also help detect serious eye conditions.

Eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, or cataracts can often go unnoticed. Early detection and treatment can help preserve your vision and keep your eyes healthy.

Comprehensive Exams Help Uncover Other Health Conditions

At your exam, your eye doctor isn't just checking up on your ocular health and visual well-being. Because your optometrist has a clear view of certain blood vessels and nerve tissues, they might be able to pick up on other health issues that aren't eye-related.

Your eye exam can help uncover medical conditions such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol

Some systemic diseases can affect your eye health, so uncovering them early may save your eyesight. For example, diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes caused by high blood sugar, can damage your retina if overlooked.

How Often Do You Really Need an Eye Exam?

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that at-risk adults have an eye exam at least once a year, or as recommended by their eye doctor. Low-risk or asymptomatic individuals should have an eye exam at least once every two years.

In general, it is a good idea to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year, regardless of your eye health. Individuals with increased risk factors may need to go in for more frequent eye exams.

woman getting fitted for eye glasses eye surgery medical history develop cataracts impaired vision other tests several tests eye chart eyeglass prescription corrective lenses lens prescription wear glasses

Do I Really Need an Eye Test Every Year?

It is widely recommended that adults get a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year. Low-risk, asymptomatic individuals between 18 and 64 can usually get away with having an eye exam once every two years.

Do You Need Eye Exams Even With Perfect Vision?

Eye exams aren't just about checking your eyesight and renewing prescriptions. Your optometrist will also assess your general health and look out for early signs of eye disease. Eye exams also help to identify refractive error or gradual vision loss that has previously flown under the radar.

Early detection and treatment of vision loss and eye conditions help you maintain good optical well-being and can prevent future complications.

Even with 20/20 vision, you might have other symptoms of poor eye health. Some eye issues don't negatively impact your vision and instead manifest in other ways, like dry eyes or irritation.

Eye Health & Age-Related Issues

For pediatric patients, eye exams are especially important. Experts believe that 80% of what children learn is absorbed visually. Because of this, undetected vision problems can hinder your little one's ability to learn in school.

The best way to encourage academic success for your child is by ensuring they can see clearly. If you notice your child struggling to see, it's a good idea to schedule an eye exam.

Changes to vision can be more noticeable in older adults and seniors. After the age of 40, your eyesight will naturally start to change.

You may experience symptoms such as:

  • Reduced tear production. Your eyes might feel dry more often.
  • You need more light. To see clearly when completing a task, you might feel the need to have more light.
  • Changes in color perception. The crystalline lens is located behind the iris and focuses incoming light onto the retina. This lens ages with the rest of your body, which can lead to a change in the way you perceive certain colors.
  • Noticeable issues with glare. During times of low light and high light, you might notice a glare that can make things like driving difficult.
elderly man getting an eye exam family history contact lenses high blood pressure family history of eye strain annual eye exams

When to See an Optometrist

All adults should have a comprehensive eye exam at least once every one to two years, even if they have no noticeable problems with their eyesight.

If you have a pre-existing eye condition, a family history of eye disease, or problems with vision, it's a good idea to see your local optometrist sooner rather than later. At the minimum, you should have an eye exam at least once a year.

Recommended Glasses for Your Vision Needs

Regular eye exams are crucial for maintaining optimal vision and catching any potential issues early. After your exam, you might need to update your prescription or get your first pair of glasses. We've curated a selection of high-quality glasses that cater to various needs, from stylish frames to advanced lenses. Check out these top picks to find the perfect pair for you:

Visit our glasses Collection to explore more options and find the perfect fit for your lifestyle and vision needs.

Final Thoughts

Comprehensive eye exams are important for more than updating your prescription glasses. Getting your eyes checked is crucial for maintaining overall health and detecting early signs of eye conditions. Even if you have 20/20 vision, going in for routine optical check-ups can ensure you enjoy crystal-clear eyesight for years to come.

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Oculus Eyecare is Seattle’s premier optometry practice and optical boutique for those looking to see and be seen in a new way. Located in South Lake Union on Denny Way, Oculus Eyecare offers comprehensive eye care services and exams for individuals and families in Seattle. Click here to schedule an appointment or a personal styling session. To stay connected and learn more, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and X/Twitter.

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