Eye Exam Frequently Asked Questions
I can see clearly. Why do I need an eye exam?
Everyone needs a comprehensive eye exam at one point or another during their life, not just people with glasses or contacts. An eye exam not only assesses the overall health of your eyes, but can also detect conditions like cataracts, diabetes, hypertension, retinal detachments and more before they become a problem.
At what age should children get an eye exam?
Parents should have their children’s eyes checked at three important stages during their early development:
- 6 months old: A pediatric ophthalmologist makes sure that the eyes are working well together and there aren’t any rarely occurring but significant defects, such as cataracts and tumors that could threaten the child’s vision.
- 2-3 years old: A pediatric/general ophthalmologist at this time checks for any signs of developmental disorders, including lazy eye, crossed eyes (strabismus), nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. If a problem is found, effective therapy can usually begin immediately.
- 5-6 years old: An eye doctor tests for sharpness of vision and corrects deficiencies by prescribing eyeglasses. A child’s eyes finish developing by the age of 8-9 years.
Early detection of eye problems can sometimes prevent significant damage to the eye or their vision. If any member of your family has eye problems, then it is important to have your child’s eyes tested at an early age.
How often should I get an eye exam?
For those with excellent eye health and good vision, you should expect to see us at least once in your 20s and twice in your 30s. However, for those with eye conditions or less than stellar vision, you really should be seeing us every 2 to 4 years.
I’m diabetic. Do I need regular eye exams?
Yes. Diabetes can cause severe problems with your sight. It is very important that your eyes are checked every year, preferably with drops to dilate the pupil, so that the retina (back of the eye) can be examined thoroughly.
What is a refractive error? How do I know if I have one?
A refractive error is a type of vision problem that makes it hard to see clearly. Specifically, it means the shape of your eye keeps light from focusing correctly on your retina which causes distortions in your vision. Refractive errors include nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatisms. Only a licensed eye care professional can accurately diagnose a refractive error during a vision exam or comprehensive eye exam.
What does “20/20” vision mean?
20/20 is one of many measurements of sight and refers to optimum or “perfect” vision. Specifically, it means that someone with 20/20 vision can see writing at 3/8 in (9.525 mm) font size at 20 ft away. So, someone with 20/40 vision can only be 20 ft away from an object to see what a person with 20/20 vision can see at 40 ft away. And similarly, someone with 20/400 vision can only be 20 ft away from an object to see what a person with 20/20 vision can see at 400 ft.
Most states require 20/40 or better in at least one eye to get a driver’s license without glasses or contact lens restriction.