When Does an Eye Exam Expire? How Often Do You Need One?

eye exam

Your Local Eye Doctor in Palm Beach County, FL Explains

Are you wondering how often you and your kids should have an eye exam? Several factors determine the frequency of your eye exams, such as your age, overall health, ocular health, risk of developing eye disease, and family medical history. Regular checkups help your eye doctor detect and treat eye conditions when treatment is most effective in preventing vision loss or chronic discomfort. The experienced optometrists at our family eye care center in Palm Beach County, FL have provided some guidelines below.

General Guidelines for Eye Exams

Eye exams benefit more than your eyes. Our eye doctor can often detect signs of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, blood disorders, and some times of malignancies just by examining your eyes. And although many of these conditions are primarily found in adults, it is also important that children are examined routinely.  According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), back-to-school eye exams are essential to helping children succeed in the classroom. The AOA encourages parents to make comprehensive eye examinations a priority, just as they do with school physicals. Children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems can face many barriers in life—academically, athletically, and socially. Outlined below are the key AOA recommendations for eye exams.

  • Birth to 24 months: At 6 months of age or as recommended by your pediatrician or eye doctor.  Although our eye doctors do not begin examining children this young, we recommend that these young children are examined to evaluate for congenital cataracts and malignancies that rarely but characteristically appear at birth and shortly thereafter in this age group.  Early detection can be life saving in some cases.
  • 2 to 5 years: At age 3 years or as recommended.  This period in life is critical for the detection of amblyopia or lazy eye, which for the best treatment outcome, is best diagnosed and treated at a very young age.
  • 6 to 18 years: Before first grade and every 2 years thereafter. Certain factors may require children to have more frequent eye exams. These include prematurity, low birth weight, infection in a mother during pregnancy, difficult or assisted labor which may be associated with fetal distress, a known or suspected central nervous system dysfunction evidenced by developmental delay, etc.  Additionally this is the period in life of greatest growth and development and it coincides with the greatest changes in vision as the eyes develop. Children don’t always perceive vision problems, especially when one eye is performing better than the other. Routine examinations are key in detecting the onset of vision problems.
  • 18 to 60 years: Every 1 to 2 years as recommended.  During this period of life the notorious changes in near tasks that take place during the 40’s and 50’s can have a profound impact on quality of life.  This is especially true in this era of technology where most people utilize smart phones and computers on a daily basis. While some people take advantage of ready-made over-the-counter reading glasses, in most cases prescription lenses made specifically for a patient and for his or her unique work environment can be instrumental in making vision more comfortable and clear for the duration of a workday.
  • 61 and older: Annually or as recommended due to an increased risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, dry eyes, and glaucoma.
  • Adults who need more frequent eye exams include those:
    • With diabetes, hypertension, or a family history of ocular disease (e.g., glaucoma, macular degeneration)
    • Working in hazardous occupations or doing work that is visually demanding
    • Taking prescription or non-prescription drugs with ocular side effects
    • Wearing contact lenses
    • Who have had eye surgery
    • With other health concerns or conditions

10 Signs You Should Schedule an Eye Exam Right Away

An annual eye exam helps you stay on top of your ocular health. However, vision and eye health can change significantly during a year, requiring some individuals to have an eye checkup sooner. Here are some key signs that you should schedule an eye exam as soon as possible:

  1. You are seeing spots, floaters or flashes of light
  2. Your eyes are dry, itchy or red, or you have an eye infection or discharge
  3. You have sensitivity to light
  4. You have difficulty driving at night, you cannot see road signs, objects or other vehicles clearly
  5. You have blurred vision, frequent headaches/migraines or eye fatigue after using a computer
  6. You have diabetes, hyperthyroidism or another condition that can affect your eyes
  7. You get dizzy, have motion sickness or trouble following a moving target
  8. You hold reading material close up or further away
  9. You notice changes in vision after an illness or any type of head trauma
  10. You cannot remember when you last had an eye exam

Vision and eye health issues do not always have recognizable signs, which in some cases only manifest at later stages. Relying on the occurrence of obvious symptoms to initiate an eye examination can expose you and your family to unnecessary risk of long-term complications.

Certainly maintaining eye health is always of greatest concern when it comes to the timeliness of eye examinations, but it may help you to know the legal guidelines for the prescription of eyeglasses and contact lenses.  These guidelines are dictated by state laws and thus vary by state. In the State of Florida, eyeglass prescriptions are valid for a period of 5 years and all contact lens prescriptions with the exception of daily disposable contact lenses are valid for a period of 1 year.  Daily disposable contact lens prescriptions are valid for 2 years given their improved safety profile over reusable contact lenses. Regardless of the validity of a contact lens prescription written by our doctor, we recommend eye examinations annually for our contact lens wearers, as there is significantly greater risk for sight-threating complications when utilizing this medical device.

At SeaView Eyecare, we offer comprehensive eye services for adults and children. Using state-of-the-art equipment, our board-certified optometrists can detect and treat eye problems and correct vision in patients of all ages. Come and see our extensive selection of stylish sunglasses and prescription eyewear.

Call SeaView Eyecare at 561-790-7290 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at our eye exam center in Palm Beach County, FL.

Share:

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This