A regular eye exam schedule is critical to ensuring your eyes are healthy and that your prescription is up to date. Optician Claudia Rojas has answered some of our top questions about eye examinations, and the primary differences between glasses and contact lens prescriptions. In addition to these general guidelines, your Eye Care Professional will be able to provide you with a tailored examination schedule based on your eye care needs.
The Importance of Regular Eye Exams
How often should I have my eyes examined?
A Doctor of Optometry will provide you with your eye examination schedule. As a general guideline:
- People under the age of 19 should have their eyes examined every year to check for healthy visual development
- Adults should have their eyes examined at least once every two years for the health of their eye and to determine any changes in refractive power.
- People over the age of 65 should have their eyes examined every year. As people grow older, they are at a higher risk of developing many serious eye conditions that could be avoided, treated, or corrected with regular eye exams.
You should have your eyes examined as soon as possible if there are any changes in your vision, if you feel discomfort, or if you see flashing lights. People who suffer from diabetes should have their eyes examined every year.
What age is appropriate for a child to have his/her first eye exam?
A child should have his/her first vision evaluation by the age of three, and annually thereafter. If there are any concerns regarding a child’s vision an examination should be arranged as soon as possible.
How can I prevent my vision from getting worse?
A regular eye examination is the best way to ensure healthy eyes and good vision. For optimal eye health it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, and refrain from smoking. To avoid eye strain, make sure you are wearing the proper glasses for the task and take frequent breaks from long visual tasks such as computer work. Follow the 20/20/20 rule: for every 20 minutes at the computer refocus on something 20 feet (or further) away for at least 20 seconds.
Contact Lens Prescriptions
Can I use my eyeglasses prescription to buy over-the-counter contact lenses?
No. In order to purchase contact lenses you must first be properly fitted by your Eye Care Professional. Because contact lenses sit on your eye, your prescription will also most likely be modified to correct the difference in where the corrective lens sits. There are also important parameters that are to be taken into account, in addition to your prescription. This includes the base curve and diameter of the contact lenses, which are not included in glasses prescriptions. If you do not have the correct parameters based on your corneal measurements and observations during your contact lens fitting, your corneal health may be compromised.
Why is it important to use a valid contact lens prescription?
It is essential for an Eye Care Professional to assess the health of your eyes, which includes inspecting the corneas and adjacent tissue that is in contact with the lens to ensure the tissue is devoid of any signs of contact lens related complications. Once this has been confirmed, it is important to assess the fit of the contact lens, and ensure optimal vision and comfort.
Have a valid glasses or contact lens prescription?