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When Do I Need to Get My Eyes Examined?
When should you or your child come in for an eye exam? The answer varies depending on your age, family history, medical history and various other factors.
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (M.D) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) who is specially trained to provide comprehensive eye care from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to performing eye surgery. An optometrist (O.D.) diagnoses and treats vision problems, eye diseases, injuries or abnormalities, and can also prescribe glasses and contact lenses as well as medications to treat eye disorders. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends that individuals with no known vision problems or risk factors follow this eye exam schedule:
- Adults 20 to 39
Adults should have a complete exam by an ophthalmologist at least once between the ages of 20 and 29 and twice between the ages of 30 and 39.
- Age 40 to 64
A comprehensive eye exam with an ophthalmologist should be scheduled every two to four years.
- Age 65 and Older
Seniors need to have their eyes examined every one to two years. During this period, eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration increase with frequency, and early diagnosis can be crucial.
Exceptions to the AAO Guidelines
There are individuals who may be at greater risk for eye problems and who need to see an ophthalmologist more often than recommended. Risk factors include:
- a family history of eye problems
- being an African American over the age of 40 (increased risk for glaucoma)
- diabetes (requires an annual exam regardless of age)
- history of eye injury that required medical or surgical care
There are also symptoms that could indicate a problem with the eyes. These include:
- visual changes or pain
- flashes of light
- seeing spots
- ghosting of images
- dark spots in vision
- lines and straight edges appear distorted or wavy
- dry eyes with burning and itching
If you experience any of these symptoms, please call The Eye Institute for Medicine & Surgery at (321) 722-4443 to schedule a comprehensive exam as soon as possible.