When you think of health, eyesight is often overlooked. Yet visual health is crucial to a good quality of life. But how frequently should you have an eye examination? This question is often asked, and the answer can vary depending on several factors. 

Why are regular eye examinations important?

Before diving into the frequency of eye exams, it's essential to understand why they're so important. Eye exams aren't just about determining whether you need glasses or contact lenses. They are also essential for detecting underlying eye problems, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, which may not present obvious symptoms in the early stages. The earlier these problems are detected, the more likely they will be successfully treated.

Recommended frequency of examinations

According to the College of Optometrists, how often you should have an eye exam depends on several factors, including age, medical history and risk of developing certain eye conditions. Here are some general guidelines:

Children and teenagers: Children should have their first eye exam as early as 6 months, then again at age 3 and before starting school. Once in school, eye examinations should be performed every one or two years unless otherwise indicated by the optometrist.

For adults aged 20 to 40: an eye examination every year or two is generally recommended unless there are pre-existing eye problems or other risk factors.

From the age of 40 onwards: the risk of developing eye diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma increases. Therefore, adults over 40 should consider annual or biennial eye examinations.

For those at increased risk: If you have a family history of eye disease, are diabetic or have other health problems that may affect your eyes, your optometrist may recommend more frequent eye exams.

In addition to following the general recommendations, it's important to consult an optometrist if you notice changes in your vision or experience symptoms such as frequent headaches, difficulty seeing at night or glare. 

Ultimately, the frequency of eye examinations depends on many factors, including age, medical history and current symptoms. Always consult your optometrist for personalized recommendations. Regular eye examinations can not only ensure clear, comfortable vision but also protect the long-term health of your eyes.

Take care of your eyesight - it's precious and deserves your full attention.