The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that adults wearing glasses or contacts and adults aged 61 and older should see their eye doctor every year or as recommended. If no vision correction is required, adults aged 18 to 60 should have eye exams every two years.1
A cataract is a cloudiness of the lens in your eye that prevents light from passing to the retina, which can impair your vision. Cataracts form naturally as you age and sometimes remain small and unnoticeable. But with more developed cataracts, it’s like constantly viewing the world through a foggy window.2
An annual visit to your eye doctor can help identify cataracts early on, but there are symptoms you can look out for, including:3,4
  • Cloudy vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Halos around lights
  • Frequent changes in glasses or contacts prescriptions
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Seeing faded colors
You should begin by consulting your eye doctor. He or she will review your medical history and perform tests to determine if you need corrective surgery. Then you can begin to discuss which specific surgery option is best for you.5
Nearsightedness, or myopia, causes objects in the distance to be blurry while farsightedness, or hyperopia, causes near objects to appear blurred.6
Presbyopia is the hardening of your eyes’ natural lenses. This makes it harder to see sharp images at all distances.9
One of the early indicators of presbyopia is trouble with reading fine print. If you find yourself having to hold books farther away to see them clearly, you should talk to your eye doctor. Other symptoms include:9
  • Blurred vision at normal reading distance, including while wearing your normal glasses or contact lenses
  • Holding reading materials at arm's length to focus properly
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Fatigue while reading or doing close-up work such as sewing
You should provide your doctor with a list of prescription medications and any vitamins or dietary supplements you’re currently taking or regularly took in the past. You should also bring your glasses or contacts and a copy of your most recent prescription. Your eye may be sensitive to light for a few hours after having your pupils dilated so you may want to bring sunglasses.10
The only way for you to know is to be examined by a doctor. Glaucoma has no symptoms until there is damage to your optic nerve. But there are many routine tests that can identify risk factors and/or presence of glaucoma.11
Not necessarily. But it does indicate that you may be at risk for glaucoma, which may lead your doctor to recommend an appropriate treatment to lower IOP.12
Yes, you can, simply because both often result as a natural part of aging. But they are not related to one another. And though most people with glaucoma are not at any greater risk to develop cataracts as those without it,13 there are some exceptions. Ask your doctor if you are concerned.
Yes. While the aim of any treatment is to reduce elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), how this is achieved can vary patient to patient based on his or her disease severity, tolerance to side effects, past history with IOP-lowering medications, additional health conditions, or other factors.14
Nearsightedness is a refractive error that makes distant objects look blurry. It typically happens when the eye is longer than normal causing the focal point to fall short of the retina.
Farsightedness is a refractive error that makes close-up objects look blurry. It typically happens when the eye is shorter than normal causing the focal point to fall behind the retina.
The difference is cause and age. Hyperopia is usually caused by an eye that is shorter normal, while presbyopia is a result of the normal aging of the eyes’ lenses. Hyperopia can happen in childhood and later while presbyopia only occurs after 40 years of age.
No. These common focusing errors are the result of a defect in the mechanism of the eyes that is most likely hereditary. However, in the case of myopia, there is some evidence that visual stress caused by too much close work may exacerbate an existing condition.

All surgery – even LASIK – has risks, but most people who undergo LASIK treatment do not suffer from serious side effects. The most common risks of LASIK surgery include dry eye syndrome; the possible need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery; visual symptoms including halos, glare, starbursts, and double vision; and loss of vision. Be sure to talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of LASIK surgery before you decide whether it is the right option for you.

Cataract surgery also has risks, but it is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures, as well as one of the safest. More than 95 percent of the 3 million cataract surgeries are performed without complications.16

Dry Eye is a condition caused by changes in the quantity or quality of your tears. Tears are composed of three main layers that work together to keep your eyes comfortable and protected. If anything affects the balance of these elements, your tears may evaporate too quickly, causing your eyes to feel dry and irritated.
You can buy contact lenses from a variety of sources (your eye care professional, optical retailers or online resellers) but only after you've been evaluated, fitted, and provided a contact lens prescription by an eye care professional. If you already wear lenses, you'll need a copy of your contact lens prescription from your eye care professional in order to buy.17
During a contact lens fitting, your visual acuity is tested using an eye chart. A number of tests are performed to determine your eye health and whether prescription eyewear is required to correct refractive errors like myopia or hyperopia. After testing is completed, your eye care professional may gather additional information so you can be fitted with contact lenses. You may be asked general questions about your lifestyle and preferences regarding contact lenses, such as daily disposables vs. monthly replacement lenses.19
Some contact lenses are not approved to sleep in or for overnight wear. Others are only approved for 6 nights for continuous wear. If you are sleeping in your contact lenses, it is important that you talk to your eye care professional and be honest about your sleeping habits so that you can get the contact lens that is right for you.18
Soft contact lenses are made of soft, flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea, while GP lenses are made of rigid plastics that are more durable and resistant to deposit buildup. While soft lenses are often regarded as more comfortable and easier to care for, GP lenses are able to correct certain vision problems that soft lenses cannot.18
Yes. It is illegal to sell contact lenses without a prescription, and for good reason. A contact lens that is poorly fitted or made from a material not well suited to your eyes can cause distorted vision, discomfort, infection, inflammation, and in rare cases, permanent eye tissue damage.19
Your contact lens prescription should state when it expires. In general, contact lens prescriptions are valid for one year, but certain states allow for contact lens prescriptions to expire earlier or later, sometimes up to two years after they are written. When your prescription expires, you won't be able to buy more lenses until your eye care professional gives you an updated prescription.19


1. Recommended Eye Examination Frequency for Pediatric Patients and Adults. American Optometric Association. Accessed July 24, 2012.

2. WebMD. Cataracts and Your Eyes. Accessed July 24, 2012.

3. Surgery Education Council. Cataracts. Accessed July 24, 2012.

4. WebMD. Cataracts. Accessed July 24, 2012.

5. All About Vision. Cataract Surgery. Accessed July 24, 2012.

6. Surgery Education Council. Common Vision Problems. Accessed July 30, 2012.

7. Slonim, C. All About Vision. Laser vision correction FAQ: LASIK and PRK. Accessed August 23, 2012.

8. Heiting G. All About Vision. Choosing an Eye Doctor. Accessed July 24, 2012.

9. Dubow, B. All About Vision. Presbyopia FAQ. Accessed August 23, 2012.

10. Heiting G, Palombi J. Eye Exam Cost and When To Have an Eye Exam. All About Vision.
Accessed July 24, 2012.

11. The Glaucoma Foundation. Frequently Asked Questions: What is the role of the optic nerve in glaucoma? - 192. Accessed February 21, 2013

12. National Eye Institute, What You Should Know. Accessed February 21, 2013.

13. Glaucoma Research Foundation, Cataracts and Glaucoma. Accessed February 21, 2013

14. Glaucoma Research Foundation. Glaucoma Medications and Their Side Effects. Accessed February 21, 2013.

15. Eye Surgery Education Council. Surgery Options: LASIK Surgery. Accessed February 21, 2013.

16. Eye Surgery Education Council. Cataract Surgery, After Cataract Surgery
Accessed August 20, 2012.

17. Cost of Contact Lenses. American Optometric Association. Accessed December 2, 2013.

18. Types of Contact Lenses. US Food and Drug Administration. Accessed October 10, 2013.

19. Contact Lenses: What to Know Before You Buy. Mayo Clinic. Accessed September 26, 2013.