Vision enriches your life and is an important factor in maintaining your physical and mental health. Therefore, regular visits to an eye care professional (ophthalmologist or optometrist) are an important step in preserving your sight. How often should you see an eye doctor? The answer depends on your age, race, and general health.

Important Note: If you are experiencing decreased vision, eye pain, excessive drainage from the eye, or double-vision contact an eye care professional immediately.

Children and Young Adults

happy childVision screening can be performed by your child’s pediatrician to identify problems that could lead to visual impairment so that a referral can be made to an eye care professional (an optometrist or ophthalmologist). Eye care professionals and pediatricians recommend a vision screening at the following age ranges: Newborn to 6 Months; 6 Months to 3-1/2 Years; 3-1/2 to 5 Years; 5 Years and up. Early detection is the key to correcting many vision problems as well as preventing frustration for your child. Young adults need to see an eye care professional only if they have a problem – such as the need for eyeglasses, an eye injury, or a change in vision.

Adults (40-60 years old)

Even if you are a healthy adult, you should get a comprehensive eye examination from an eye care professional at or around age 40. Your initial exam will establish a baseline for your eyes that will be helpful in monitoring your sight in the future. The doctor should examine your eyes through dilated (wide open) pupils. After that, get follow-up checkups from an eye care professional every 2 to 4 years until age 60.

Seniors (60+ years old)

If you are over 60, get a thorough eye exam, through dilated pupils, at least every 2 years, even if you are symptom-free and at low risk. The reason is because as people age they have an ever-increasing risk for getting major, blinding eye diseases: cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. Noticing the early signs of these diseases, especially glaucoma, is key to treating many eye diseases.

Other Factors to Consider

Get to know your family history – some eye diseases are hereditary as well as more prevalent in different races of people. If you have a family history of eye disease you should visit an eye care professional regularly. If you have other health problems, especially diabetes or any of the autoimmune diseases, you should be under the care of an eye doctor.

How to Find an Eye Doctor

The National Eye Institute offers tips and links to help you locate an eye care professional, see:

What to Expect at the Eye Doctor

Explore the Women's Eye Health eye exam checklist for a handy guide to your next eye doctor visit.

Women’s Eye Health