Caring for Your Eyes at Ages 40-54 by Denise Johnson, M.D.

March 3, 2020

Dr. Johnson is an ophthalmologist, dry eye specialist, cosmetic specialist and cataract specialist at the Marietta Eye Clinic.

Your vision is an essential part of your quality of life. Although with proper preventative care most vision loss can be prevented, many people don’t get eye exams as often as they should to ensure long-term eye health. At various stages of your life, you need to take proactive measures to ensure your vision remains at optimal levels. Additionally, your general health may affect the normal measures you should take to maintain great visual health. Keep reading to find out how often it is recommended that you have a comprehensive eye exam.

Baseline Exam

It’s a good idea to get a baseline exam once you’ve turned 40. Around this age, early signs of eye disease and changes in vision start to occur. Even if you don’t notice any vision problems, an ophthalmologist can look at the back of your eye to check for signs of damage that could later result in vision loss. Based on the results of your exam and your overall health, you ophthalmologist can give you a recommended exam schedule personalized to your needs.

How Often to Schedule Eye Exams

The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the doctors at the Marietta Eye Clinic recommend that if you are age 40 to 54, you have no symptoms of eye disease, and you are seeing clearly you have a comprehensive eye examination at least every 2 to 4 years. Comprehensive eye exams are more than updating your prescription for glasses and contacts. Optometrists and ophthalmologists conduct comprehensive eye examinations to check for damage from health conditions such as diabetes and to check specifically for eye diseases that can lead to blindness, such as glaucoma or cataracts.

Risk Factors That Affect How Often You Should Have Eye Exams

Eye exams help you and your doctor detect eye problems and diseases at their earliest stage, when they are at the most treatable. Just like your overall health, your eye health situation is unique to you and affected by a combination of factors. Regular comprehensive exams help you work with your eye doctor to meet your individual ocular health needs and help your doctor know how to guide you in maintaining great eye health and clear, sharp vision.

Some eye disease symptoms may go unnoticed until the disease is advanced, which presents challenges in slowing progression or preventing permanent visual damage. The guidelines above apply to individuals ages 40-54 who present no symptoms or disease risk factors – especially a major disease diagnosis such as diabetes or family history of major disease or eye disease specifically.

Here are some common reasons to increase the frequency of eye exams:

  • You wear glasses or contact lenses.
  • You have a family history of eye disease, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, or cataracts.
  • You have a chronic disease that puts you at greater risk of eye disease, such as diabetes or hypertension.
  • You take medications that may have serious eye-related side effects, such as prednisone or plaquenil.

Routine eye exams have been proven to help combat major eye health issues and prevent blindness. Keep in mind the guidance above, and please reach out to an optometrist or ophthalmologist if you are at a higher risk of developing eye disease or vision problems.

More About Denise Johnson, M.D.

Dr. Johnson is an ophthalmologist at the Marietta Eye Clinic who offers comprehensive care and specializes in cataracts, dry eye, and cosmetic treatments. She serves the Acworth and Towne Lake locations. She is board-certified by both the American Board of Ophthalmology and the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and her medical degree from the Temple University School of Medicine. She is professionally associated with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataracts and Refractive Surgeons, the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, and the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. Read her full bio here.

References and Additional Resources

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. It describes itself as a “global community of 32,000 medical doctors who protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public.” Its website is a great resource to learn more about how to care for your eyes.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) describes itself as the leading authority on quality care and an advocate for our nation’s health, representing more than 44,000 doctors of optometry (O.D.), optometric professionals, and optometry students.

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