Common Questions About Eye Exams

common questions about eye exams

Here you'll find the answers to some common questions about eye exams.

The Importance of Eye Exams

I don't wear glasses. Do I still need to go to the eye doctor?

Yes! Preventive eye exams do a lot more than correct your vision; comprehensive eye exams allow the eye doctor to look directly at your blood vessels, thereby revealing potential warning signs of serious health problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes before the symptoms show up anywhere else in the body. Visit the Importance of Eye Exams section to learn more about the benefits of eye exams to your whole body.

How often should I go to the eye doctor?

As with any ongoing health care, annual eye exams are a good rule of thumb unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Risk-free adults age 18 to 40 should see an eye doctor every two to three years. At-risk adults should have an eye exam every one or two years. Healthy adults age 41 to 60 years old need to schedule an appointment every two years, and those who are at risk need to make a visit every one to two years. The American Optometric Association recommends people ages 61 and over visit an eye doctor annually regardless of other risk factors. Following these simple guidelines is an easy way to protect your eyesight.

At what age should children first visit the eye doctor?

Parents should take infants to an eye care professional before 6 months of age and again at 3 years in order to detect and prevent eye problems, according to the American Optometric Association. After the exam at age 3, the AOA recommends children be examined at least every two years. Up to 25% of school-age children may have vision problems that can affect learning, according to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. It is crucial for children to have their eyes examined because 80% of learning in a child's first 12 years comes through the eyes, according to the American Optometric Association. To help your child prepare for an eye exam, let them watch our video about what children can expect at the eye doctor.

What to Expect at the Eye Doctor

How long does an eye exam typically take?

The duration of an eye exam varies depending upon various factors. The average appointment takes between 30 minutes and one hour. If your eyesight requires multiple tests or if you have a more complex problem, the exam may run longer or require subsequent visits. Plan for an hour to be on the safe side.

Why does the eye doctor perform so many tests?

Eye doctors perform various tests to examine all parts of the eye, as well as to gauge your overall health. Some procedures are designed to evaluate your vision, others allow the doctor to look at the structure of the eye, and still others help detect specific diseases.

Where to Go for an Eye Exam

Can I get the same quality of care at a retail provider as I can an independent doctor?

Yes. In fact, optometrists who practice in retail settings generally share space with a dispensary but operate separately. On your vision panel, only 5% of providers are employed by a retail chain. All optometrists, regardless of the setting of their practice, must meet the same state licensing and credentialing requirements. In addition, due to the finite number of optometry schools in the United States, optometrists are trained consistently regardless of the practice model they eventually choose.

How can I find out what eye doctors are near me?

In addition to local or regional directories, you can locate an eye care provider who participates on your vision network by using our Provider Locator.

What's the difference between an optometrist, an ophthalmologist and an optician?

Optometrists and ophthalmologists are two types of doctors who can administer preventive eye exams.

Optometrists receive their degrees from schools of optometry and examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the eye as well as prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses and other medication and eyewear to treat eye diseases.

Ophthalmologists are physicians who specialize in eye surgery and may also diagnose and write prescriptions for eye diseases and disorders. You can obtain routine eye exams from a network ophthalmologist at no additional charge.

Opticians are trained in the fit and usage of eyewear and work in dispensaries.