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Eye Health Center

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A Visit to the Eye Doctor

What Will Happen During an Eye Appointment? continued...

Eye exams can sometimes detect early signs of glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis. If the doctor finds anything unusual, you may need a follow-up with your regular doctor or a specialist.

How long will it take? If it's your first visit to your new eye doctor, allow an hour or two. That includes time to get examined and to get fitted for a prescription if you need it. Later appointments won't take as much time.

Before You Leave the Office

  • Make sure you have a copy of your eyeglasses prescription, if you need one.
  • Understand where you should go to get your glasses or contacts prescription filled.
  • Make sure you have instructions about how to use any medication if you need it.
  • Schedule your next appointment or check-up.

How Often Should You Go to the Eye Doctor?

Everyone needs eye exams. Different medical organizations have different schedules. The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests:

  • Young adults should get their eyes checked once in their 20s and twice in their 30s.
  • Adults should get their eyes checked at age 40 with regular follow-ups, depending on their health.
  • Adults age 65 and older should see an eye doctor every 1-2 years.
  • Children need their vision checked at birth, 6 months, 3 years, and before entering grade school. This is often incorporated into pediatrician and pre-school checkups.

You will need more frequent check-ups if you have health conditions, such as diabetes, or a family history of vision problems, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and corneal diseases.

When else should you see the eye doctor? If you have any sudden symptoms -- such as sudden vision change, eye pain, or severe irritation -- see an eye doctor right away.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD on January 26, 2016
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