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EXAM FREQUENCY AND PREPARATION

Eye Exam Frequency

Your eye doctor will advise you on how often you should have an eye exam. This can be based on your age, health, family history, and whether you wear glasses or contact lenses.

While those criteria vary in individuals, there are some general guidelines for eye exam frequency among different age groups.

Adults

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that adults wearing glasses or contact lenses and adults aged 61 and older should see their eye doctor every year or as recommended by their eye doctor. If no vision correction is required, adults aged 18 to 60 should have eye exams every two years. 

Higher-risk adults, such as those with diabetes, hypertension, or a family history of eye disease may need more frequent exams.

Children

Child patient in front of vision chart

Regular eye exams are essential for children as vision problems can interfere with learning. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends children have their first eye exam at 6 months, another at age 3, and again before the start of school (around age 5 or 6).

School-aged children should have eye exams every two years if no vision correction is required, and children with eyeglasses or contacts should be examined annually or as recommended by their eye doctor. If your child is struggling in school, it’s important to have his or her eyes examined to rule out a visual cause. They may complain of other things, like headaches, or they may start performing poorly in school.

Preparing for Your Eye Exam

There are some simple but important ways to prepare for your eye exam. Doing these can alert your eye doctor to your risks of eye and vision problems.

  • When making an appointment, briefly but clearly describe any of your eye or vision concerns
  • If you’re interested in specialty services, such as a LASIK consultation or contact lens fitting, mention this when scheduling your exam and when checking in
  • Note any personal or family history of eye problems
  • Avoid eyestrain on your exam day
  • Be prepared to provide a list of prescription medications or supplements you’re currently taking, or regularly took in the past, and the dosages
  • If you have glasses, bring them to your exam—if you wear contact lenses, bring a copy of your most recent prescription
  • Take your sunglasses to your exam as your pupils will likely be dilated, causing some light sensitivity for several hours
  • Because your eyes will be sensitive afterward, you may want to have someone else drive you to and from your appointment
  • If you have health or vision insurance be sure to bring your insurance card
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