It's important for adults 40 and older to have eye exams every 2 to 4 years to check for problems. Those who have a history of eye problems or who are at risk for developing them should see an eye doctor every year. Regular eye exams are critical for finding:
Treatment of open-angle glaucoma -- the most common form of the disease -- requires lowering the eye's pressure by increasing the drainage of aqueous humor or decreasing the production of the fluid. Medications can accomplish both of these goals. Surgery and laser treatments are directed at improving the eye's aqueous drainage.
If not diagnosed early, open-angle glaucoma may significantly damage vision and even cause blindness. That is why it's so important to have your eye doctor test you regularly...
For adults younger than 40 without any problems, the recommendations vary from routine tests every 2 years to no tests. If you have a health condition such as high blood pressure, work in a visually demanding job, or take medications that can affect eyesight, you may need more frequent exams. People with diabetes type I should get their eyes checked within 5 years of being diagnosed and be examined every year afterwards. Those diagnosed with diabetes type II should have their eyes checked immediately and have a yearly exam after that. Talk to your doctor about what he recommends for you.
Children without risk factors for eye problems need their vision checked as newborns and again at every regular health visit. By the time they are 3 years old, it will be easier to get an accurate eye assessment. After they enter first grade, they should get eye tests every 1 to 2 years.
Preparing for Your Eye Exam
When you call to make an appointment for an eye exam, briefly and clearly describe any vision problem you're having.
Before you go, list questions for the eye doctor. Be prepared to discuss any drugs you're taking and your (and your family's) eye health history.
When you go, take your glasses and contact lenses, if you use them, and sunglasses for the trip home with your pupils dilated.
During Your Eye Exam
Before your eye exam, the eye doctor or an office staff member will take your medical and vision history.
Your eye exam may take from half an hour to an hour. It will evaluate both your vision and the health of your eyes.