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How Often Should You Get an Eye Exam?

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Through all stages of our lives, keeping our vision healthy is of utmost importance. When we are young, we need to protect our vision so we can ensure that it develops properly; when we are older, we need to examine our vision to make sure that our visual health stays intact for as long as possible.

At Total Vision Solana Beach, our team is dedicated to monitoring your eye care with the greatest level of diligence. Whether you are receiving an eye exam yourself or are bringing your child in for their first exam, our team of friendly professionals will be there to guide you through the process of maintaining healthy vision every step of the way.

Why is Receiving an Eye Exam Important?

An eye exam not only helps you see more clearly by helping you discern your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, but it also helps discover budding vision problems and eye diseases. Many visual issues and eye diseases do not have immediately apparent signs or symptoms, so you may not even know if you are being affected by one or not. By getting a vision or eye problem diagnosed early through an eye exam, you will be able to receive an effective treatment plan and prevent potential vision loss.

How Often You Should Get an Eye Exam by Age

Infants & Toddlers

In their youngest years, infants learn to see over an elongated period of time similar to how they learn speech or how to walk. The ability to focus their eyes, move them accurately, and use them together as a team are learned abilities — infants also need to learn how to use the visual information they are receiving to understand their perception of the world around them.

If your toddler has any eye or vision issues, it may cause developmental delays. To avoid these delays, it is important to detect these issues early with a comprehensive eye exam. An eye exam will ensure that your toddler has the proper opportunity to develop their visual abilities.

It is recommended by the American Optometric Association (AOA) that your infant child receives their first eye exam at about 6 months of age. At this exam, one of our eye doctors will test for a variety of things including:

  • Myopia
  • Hyperopia
  • Astigmatism
  • Eye movement ability
  • Eye alignment
  • The overall health of your child’s eyes

Preschool Children

During this time in a child’s life, they have significant opportunities to grow and develop their visual skills and aptitude, as well as use their newfound visual prowess to learn from other perceptual experiences. Ensuring that preschool-aged children develop healthy vision can provide them with a good head start before primary school. 

As a parent of a preschool-aged child, you will need to be aware of the presence of potential vision problems like strabismus or amblyopia that commonly develop around this age. Strabismus, more commonly known as crossed eyes, is when one or both eyes turn inward or outward. Amblyopia, or lazy eye, occurs when there is a clear lack of vision in one eye that cannot be corrected by visual aids like eyeglasses.

Between the ages of 3 and 5, the AOA recommends that your child receive another in-depth eye exam to ensure that their vision is still developing properly and that their eyes are remaining healthy.

Close up portrait of girl testing her eyesight covering her left eye with her hand. There is an out of focus test chart in background on the wall.

School-Aged Children

While at school, children are expected to read, write, use computers, and complete other daily activities that can involve significant involvement from their vision. Your child’s eyes will be an important tool in their ability to receive information at school, and if their vision is not functioning properly, then their education and socialization can significantly suffer.

The following visual skills are important for your child to effectively read and learn at school:

  • Visual acuity — this is the ability to see clearly at different distances. Visual acuity is important for things like viewing a whiteboard at a long-range, viewing a computer at an intermediate distance, and for reading a book up close.
  • Eye focusing — this is the ability to quickly and accurately maintain clear vision as an object’s distance changes. Eye focusing allows your child to maintain clear vision over time when performing their school work.
  • Eye tracking — this is the ability to keep the eyes on target while switching focus from one object to another. This ability is important for activities like taking notes in class.
  • Eye teaming — this is the ability to coordinate and use both eyes in tandem while moving them and viewing different things in succession. This ability is used heavily when reading
  • Eye-hand coordination — this ability uses visual information to inform and direct the movement of our hands. This coordination is integral to most physical activities at school.
  • Visual perception — this ability allows the organization of images or symbols on a printed page to become understandable letters, words, and ideas.

On recommendation from the AOA, children ages 6-17 should receive an eye exam every year as to continue monitoring their visual development and eye health. More frequent exams may be necessary if your child is undergoing specific eye or vision issues.

Adults & Seniors

Once we have reached adulthood, the frequency of necessary eye exams decreases. The AOA recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 attend a comprehensive eye exam every 2 years. Adults over 65 are recommended by the AOA to receive a comprehensive eye exam every year due to being more susceptible to developing age-related eye conditions.

At Total Vision Solana Beach, we want to see you annually for an eye exam, even if you’re not over 65 — this allows us to really get to know you and your eyes. After receiving your first exam with us, we can recommend a more personalized exam schedule based on your unique eye care needs.

Written by Carlton Chan

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