The frequency at which you should have an eye exam depends on your age and risk level. Infants and children up to age 5 should have an eye exam at six months of age and again at 3 years old. Children ages 6-18 should have an exam before first grade and then every other year after that.
In the pediatric population, patients who are at risk of vision problems should follow their doctor’s recommendations for exam frequency. At-risk children include those:
In adults up to age 60, vision exams are recommended every other year if you’re asymptomatic and yearly if you have symptoms, wear glasses or contact lenses, or are at risk of eye disease. Adults age 61 and older should have an exam annually.
During your comprehensive exam, the ophthalmologist is checking the following:
If abnormalities are noted, your doctor might recommend further testing in order to reach a conclusion diagnosis or draft the most effective treatment plan.
The difference between an optometrist and ophthalmologist is their level of education and training and their scope of work. Both can perform eye exams, but only an ophthalmologist can perform eye surgery. Additionally, many patients suffering from complex or serious eye disease are referred to ophthalmologists for diagnosis and treatment.