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Comprehensive Eye Exams

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Regardless of your age or physical health, it is important to have regular eye exams.

Routine eye exams are essential to maintaining optimal health at any age. A thorough eye exam not only assesses your visual acuity but looks at the overall health of the eye. This includes a retinal assessment to rule out common eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. Some examples of functional testing of the vision system includes: coordination of ocular muscles, depth perception (how our brain fuses and interprets what we see) and pupillary reflexes.

A comprehensive eye exam includes a number of tests and procedures to examine and evaluate the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. These tests range from simple ones, like having you read an eye chart, to complex tests, such as using a high-powered lens to examine the health of the tissues inside of your eyes.

Eyecare experts recommend you have a complete eye exam every one to three years, depending on your age, risk factors, and physical condition.

Annual eye exams are recommended. Approximately 5% to 10% of pre-schoolers and 25% of school-aged children have vision issues. According to the Alberta Association of Optometrists (AAO), all children should have their eyes examined yearly starting at 6 months of age. Children without vision concerns should still have annual exams to ensure that their eyes stay in optimal health and that if they do need any treatment it is caught early before school or other areas of life are affected.

Children with existing vision problems or risk factors should have their eyes examined more frequently. Common risk factors for vision problems include:

  • premature birth
  • developmental delays
  • turned or crossed eyes
  • family history of eye disease
  • history of eye injury
  • other physical illness or disease

The AAO recommends that children who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses should have their eyes examined at least every 12 months or according to their eye doctor's instructions. Read more about Pediatric Eye Exams.

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Adults. The AAO also recommends an annual eye exam for any adult who wears eyeglasses or contacts. If you don't normally need vision correction, you still need an eye exam every two to three years up to the age of 40, depending on your rate of visual change and overall health. Doctors often recommend more frequent examinations for adults with diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders, because many diseases can have an impact on vision and eye health.

If you are over 40, it's a good idea to have your eyes examined every one to two years to check for common age-related eye problems such as presbyopia, cataracts and macular degeneration. Read more about Vision After 40.

Because the risk of eye disease continues to increase with advancing age, everyone over the age of 60 should be examined annually. Read more about Vision After 60.