Through your eyes, your eye doctor can gain insight into your overall health as well as determine eye health and vision during a comprehensive eye exam. In fact, some systemic and chronic diseases can be detected with an eye exam. And some diseases, like diabetes, can seriously affect your vision in addition to your overall health. Other eye diseases, like glaucoma, may cause vision damage and eventually blindness without you ever experiencing any symptoms.
Review our Healthy Eyes Healthy People checklist for you and all your family members. Did you check "yes" to one or more questions? If you checked yes to any question, or you have not seen your optometrist in over a year, be sure to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye examination. (See our Healthy Eyes Healthy People Children's Checklist for the kids.)
Someone with diabetes, hypertension, or any other systemic or chronic disease?
At risk for certain systemic or eye diseases, because of family history or other factors?
Having more difficulty reading smaller type, such as books and newspapers?
Experiencing frequent headaches after working on a computer?
A student, and doing a great deal of reading and other close work?
Rubbing your eyes frequently or having tired or burning eyes?
Losing track of a person or objects in your peripheral (side) vision?
Avoiding close work?
Having difficulty driving at night?
Experiencing frequent near misses, accidents, or difficulty parking when driving?
Handling or using chemicals, power tools, or lawn and garden equipment?
Playing eye-hazardous sports like racquetball, softball, or tennis?
Experiencing difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination?
Playing sports and having trouble judging distances between yourself, the ball, or other objects?
Your eyesight and eye health deserves to be protected and monitored. And, even If you didn’t check yes, keep in mind that symptoms of vision problems aren't always apparent. Regular comprehensive eye exams by a doctor of optometry can help you be certain that your eyes are functioning properly and are healthy.
The American Optometric Association recommends visiting your optometrist on the following schedule (more often, if specific problems or risk factors exist). People who currently wear contacts or glasses should have their eyes checked once a year.
Age Group Frequency
6 MONTHS – 18 YEARS At 6 months, 3 years old,
before starting school, then every two years
18 YEARS - 40 YEARS Every 2 - 3 years
41 YEARS - 60 YEARS Every 2 years
60 YEARS & older Every year
Vision problems can be most evident when your child is learning to read. Eighty percent of what students learn is through vision, and yet 86 percent of children who enter school have not had a complete eye examination. The most important step a parent can take to insure optimal learning is a comprehensive eye examination.
Regular eye exams by a doctor of optometry can help you be certain that your child's vision is developing normally. Since vision changes can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the optometrist for a comprehensive eye examination starting at six months, again at 3 years, before starting school and at least every two years, or more frequently, if specific problems, like juvenile diabetes, or risk factors exist. If needed, the doctor can prescribe treatment including eyeglasses, contact lenses, or vision therapy.
Tips for parents scheduling an infant or toddler's comprehensive eye examination:
• Schedule the exam early in the day;
• Have your baby fed and dry;
• Let your older child know that there won't be any shots involved; and
• Make a game of it; practice looking at pictures and making it fun.