Do you need an eye exam if you don’t wear glasses?

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Do you need an eye exam if you don’t wear glasses?


Do you need an eye exam if you don’t need glasses to see clearly?

Definitely. Eye exams are for much more than getting an updated eyeglasses prescription.

At a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor checks your eyesight, corrects your vision (usually with glasses or contacts) and diagnoses and monitors any serious eye conditions, including diabetes, glaucoma and macular degeneration.


Why you should have your eyes checked regularly

More than 1 million people around the world have some form of vision impairment that might have been prevented, treated or cured with proper care, the World Health Organization says.

The leading causes of preventable vision impairment are uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts (33%), while the leading causes of preventable blindness are untreated cataracts (51%) and glaucoma (8%).

The reason so many eye issues go untreated is many people around the world have limited (or no) access to eye care. If you have eye doctors where you live you should get your vision checked.


How often should you get an eye exam?

The International Council of Ophthalmology says comprehensive eye exams should be scheduled at least every five years, more often if you are at higher risk for eye health issues.

As you age, your eye doctor likely will want to see you more often as vision issues (presbyopia, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration, for example) become more common.

Around age 40, age-related farsightedness (presbyopia) begins to affect everyone, even if you’ve always had excellent vision. Signs of presbyopia include difficulty reading text messages, restaurant menus and recipe instructions.

Recommended frequency of eye exams by age:

  • 40 and 54: Eye doctors recommend getting a comprehensive eye exam every two years, even if you are not having vision issues.
  • 55-64: Every one to three years.
  • 65 and older: Once every year or two.


What does a comprehensive eye exam include?

Comprehensive eye exams are performed by optometrists and ophthalmologists and typically take from 45 to 90 minutes. This routine exam includes an eye exam to ensure your vision is clear at all distances and a conversation about your eye health and any issues you may be having.

More specifically, your eye doctor will likely:

  • Test your peripheral vision
  • Check your depth perception
  • Look for signs of glaucoma with an "air puff test"
  • Observe the alignment and movement of your eyes
  • Examine your retinas and optic nerves for signs of disease or damage

Other vision issues your eye doctor will be checking and recommending treatment for include dry eyes, digital eye strain and sun damage.

Bottom line: You see your medical doctor annually for a physical or checkup and you see your dentist once a year (or more if you have regular cleanings). Your eyes — and your children’s eyes — need the same regular care so vision issues can be detected and corrected.

WHEN WAS YOUR LAST EYE EXAM? Find an eye doctor near you and get your vision checked, you may need glasses. If your vision is blurry, your eye doctor can help. Or you may want to get prescription sunglasses or blue light computer glasses.