How Often People Ages 40-54 Need Eye Exams by Amy Cherof, M.D.

June 22, 2020

Dr. Amy Cherof is a comprehensive ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon at the Marietta Eye Clinic.

Your vision is an essential part of your quality of life, but unfortunately, risk of ocular disease increases with age. Although with proper preventative care most vision loss can be prevented or treated, many people don’t get eye exams as often as they should to ensure long-term eye health. Keep reading to find out how often it is recommended that you have a comprehensive eye exam.

Baseline Exams

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends getting a complete baseline eye exam at age 40. Around this age, early signs of eye disease and changes in vision may begin to appear. Even if you do not notice any changes in your vision, an ophthalmologist can look at your eyes to examine for early signs of disease that could later result in vision loss. Based on the results of your exam and your overall health, you ophthalmologist can then give you a recommended exam schedule personalized to your needs.

How Often to Schedule Eye Exams

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that if you are age 40 to 54, you have no symptoms of eye disease, and you are seeing clearly that 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. Ophthalmologists and optometrists conduct comprehensive eye examinations to look for ocular disease caused by health conditions such as diabetes and to look for other eye diseases that could lead to blindness, such as glaucoma and cataracts. If you have symptoms of eye disease or cannot see clearly, your ophthalmologist may recommend that you have more frequent exams.

Risk Factors That Affect How Often You Should Have Eye Exams

Comprehensive eye exams allow your doctor to detect ocular diseases at their earliest stage, when they are the most treatable. Just like your systemic health, your ocular health is unique to you and affected by many variables. Some ocular diseases may not cause noticeable symptoms until the disease is advanced. If not detected until advanced stages, it may be more difficult to prevent progression of a disease or permanent visual damage.

The guidelines above apply to individuals ages 40 to 54 who present no symptoms or disease risk factors. Here are some common reasons to increase the frequency of eye exams:

  • You wear glasses or contact lenses
  • You have a known ophthalmic disease
  • You have a family history of eye disease or loss of vision
  • You have a chronic disease that puts you at greater risk of eye disease, such as diabetes
  • You take medications that may have serious eye-related side effects, such as steroids or hydroxychloroquine

Routine eye exams have been proven to help combat eye disease, visual impairment, and blindness. Keep in mind the guidance above, and visit your local ophthalmologist more frequently if you are at a higher risk of developing disease, if you have personal history of visual problems or disease, or if you have a family history of eye disease.

More About Cataract Specialist Amy Cherof, M.D.

Dr. Cherof is an ophthalmologist with the Marietta Eye Clinic who specializes in cataracts in addition to offering comprehensive care. Dr. Cherof graduated summa cum laude with highest honors with her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia. She received her medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. She is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and the Georgia Society of Ophthalmology. 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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