How Often People Age 55-64 Need Eye Exams by Denise Johnson, MD

July 24, 2019

Denise Johnson, MD is an ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon at the Marietta Eye Clinic.

Your vision is fundamental to your quality of life and with proper preventative care you can give yourself every advantage possible in the effort to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear. At various stages of your life, you need to take different measures to ensure your vision remains at optimal levels. Additionally, your health status may affect the normal measures you should take to maintain great visual health.

How Often You Need Eye Exams

The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the doctors at the Marietta Eye Clinic recommend, if you are age 55-64, to have a comprehensive eye examination at least every 1 to 3 years. This frequency guidance is for you if you do not have any symptoms of eye disease present and if you are seeing clearly. Comprehensive eye examinations are much more than checking your vision for a need to use glasses and contacts (refraction). Optometrists and ophthalmologists conduct comprehensive eye examinations to check for damage from health conditions such as diabetes and to check specifically for eye diseases which can lead to blindness such as glaucoma and cataracts.

Change in Frequency with Disease Symptoms

Eye exams help you and your doctor detect eye problems and diseases at their earliest stage, when they are at their most treatable state or level. Your health situation is unique to you and the same goes for your eye health. Your vision and ocular health at any given time is a unique 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 not present until the disease is advanced and presents challenges in slowing progression or facing permanent visual damage. The guidelines above apply to individuals 55-64 who present no symptoms or disease risk factors – especially major disease diagnosis such as diabetes and any family history of major disease or eye disease specifically.

Here are some major reasons to increase the frequency of eye exams from every 1-3 years during the 55-64 age years of your life:

  • Wear glasses or contact lenses.
  • Have a family history of eye disease or loss of vision.
  • Have a chronic disease that puts you at greater risk of eye disease, such as diabetes.
  • Take medications that have serious eye side effects.

Routine eye exams have been proven to help combat major eye health issues and prevent blindness. Keep in mind the guidance above and reach out to your local optometrist or ophthalmologist more frequently if you are at a higher risk of developing disease, if you have personal history of visual issues or disease, if your family has a history of eye disease, or if you are a race with specific risks of increased disease. There are times a disease may be progressing even if you don’t notice any particular symptoms.

References and Additional Resources

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. They describe themselves 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.”  Their website is a great resource to learn more about how to care for your eyes.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) The 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.

Eye Exam

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/eye-exam/about/pac-20384655

Eye Exam and Vision Testing Basics

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/eye-exams-101

Frequency of Ocular Examinations – 2015

https://www.aao.org/clinical-statement/frequency-of-ocular-examinations

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