Mom always emphasized the importance of regular trips to the dentist, but she may have forgotten to mention the importance of the eye doctor. Eye exams are a window into your overall health and can be great indicators of other health concerns.

But how often should you actually get an eye exam? Here’s everything you need to know.

What happens during an eye exam?
During a full eye exam, your doctor is able to get a clear view of blood vessels in your retina, which is a telltale sign of the health of other blood vessels throughout your body. Health conditions like diabetes, lupus, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and glaucoma can all be flagged based on the appearance of the blood supply to the retinals and the surrounding blood vessels.

In a comprehensive eye exam, your doctor reviews several important things: family health history and any history of eye problems, assessment of your distant and near vision, evaluation of the presence of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, an eye pressure test (to assess for glaucoma), and an examination of the interior of your eye.

How often should you get a comprehensive eye checkup?
Eye care professionals generally recommend regular eye exams every one to two years depending on your age, risk factors, and whether or not you already wear glasses or contacts. Eye health can change a lot over the course of a year, especially for those over the age of 50. If you don’t have any symptoms or eye problems, it is recommended to get eye exams based on your age:

  • Ages 20 to 39: every five years
  • Ages 40 to 54: every two to four years
  • Ages 55 to 64: every one to three years
  • Ages 65 and up: every one to two years

How to know if you’re overdue for an eye exam
If it’s been a long time since your last eye exam, here are some of the important symptoms to look out for:

  • Your eyes are red, dry, itchy, or you see spots, flashes of light, or floaters.
  • You have diabetes or another health condition that affects your eyes.
  • You have a hard time driving at night and seeing objects alongside the road.
  • Eye strain, headaches, or blurred vision occur after staring at a computer for too long.
  • You get motion sickness or dizziness.
  • You hold reading materials further away from your face and squint to see.
  • There are changes in your vision (especially after a head trauma incident).

With all these factors in mind, be sure to check in with your eye doctor about when you need to schedule your next eye exam.

xx, The FabFitFun Team