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Eye Exams for Adults

Topic Overview

Use the guidelines below to schedule routine vision checks and eye exams with an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

If you know that you are not at risk for eye disease and you don't have signs of vision problems, have a complete eye exam to check for eye disease and vision problems:1

  • Every 5 to 10 years if you are younger than 40.
  • Every 2 to 4 years if you are age 40 to 54. (Starting at age 40, presbyopia is likely to develop.)
  • Every 1 to 3 years if you are age 55 to 64.
  • Every 1 to 2 years if you are age 65 or older.

Your eye doctor may also suggest that you get exams more often just to check for refractive errors.

If you are at risk for or have signs of eye disease, you may need complete eye exams more often.

Eye diseases and refractive errors include:

For people who have diabetes, experts recommend a yearly eye exam.

For adults who are at risk for glaucoma, see these glaucoma screening recommendations.

After reviewing all of the research, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concluded that more evidence is needed to find out if the pros outweigh the cons of routine visual acuity screening in older adults.2

References

Citations

  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology (2010). Comprehensive Adult Medical Eye Evaluation (Preferred Practice Pattern). San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology. Available online:
  2. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2009). Screening for Impaired Visual Acuity in Older Adults. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Available online:

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Last Revised June 24, 2011

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