If going to the eye doctor isn’t already a regular part of your life, knowing exactly why and when to see an eye doctor can be difficult. To make things more complicated, there are multiple kinds of eye doctors to choose from.
Should you see an eye doctor even if you haven’t noticed any vision problems? When should I see an optometrist vs. an ophthalmologist? So, how often should you go to see an eye doctor? We’ll answer these questions and more in this useful overview of why and when to see an eye doctor.
Who should I see: an ophthalmologist or an optometrist?
Before we get into when to see an eye doctor, we should go over what kind of eye doctor you should likely go see. Our post “What’s The Difference Between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist?” answers this question more in-depth. Therefore, we will address it only briefly here.
Optometrists (ODs) typically perform routine eye exams and have the ability to prescribe patients corrective glasses or contact lenses. If you need a basic eye check-up, optometrists are the way to go.
Ophthalmologists (either MDs or DOs) can also perform eye exams and prescribe glasses and contact lenses. Additionally, they are trained to treat more serious eye problems and can even perform surgery. If you are already aware that you have an existing eye condition and/or need surgery, an ophthalmologist can help.
Please note that the doctors at Eye Center of Texas do not perform routine eye examinations. We encourage our patients to visit our partner Optometrists, available on our recommended optometrists page.
How often should I see an eye doctor?
Don’t have a particular vision problem? If you’re looking for just a general idea of when to see an eye doctor, the following schedule is the standard recommendation:
- Children with healthy eyes: At six months, age three, before starting kindergarten, and every two years until the age of 18.
- Children with at-risk eyes: Depending on what your doctor recommends, newborns with vision problems may need to see an eye doctor before they are six months old. They may also need additional eye exams outside of those noted above.
- Adults 18 – 60: Adults with healthy eyes who are between the ages of 18 and 60 should have a routine eye exam performed every two years.
- Adults 61+: Adults who are 60+ years old should have eye exams annually.
Reasons to go to the eye doctor
Even if you don’t have a pre-diagnosed eye condition such as macular degeneration or keratoconus, there are plenty of reasons that make the trek to your eye doctor worth it.
- You haven’t been in a while: Eye appointments can not only save your vision, but they can save your life, too. How? The overall health of your eyes (including the health of your blood vessels and optic nerve) can point to many underlying, seemingly “unrelated” issues. These problems can include skin cancer, brain tumors, UV damage, high blood pressure, diabetes, and neurological problems.
- You haven’t been in a while (pt. 2): A lot can happen in a few years, and the same goes for the technology used to treat vision problems. Surgical techniques and technology have likely improved since your last visit to your eye doctor. Curious? These articles may interest you.
- You’re experiencing eye pain or increased symptoms of prior vision problems: You’d be surprised how many people with eye pain simply try to ignore it. Unfortunately, ignoring your eye pain can lead to more serious problems. For example, eye pressure may be a sign of glaucoma or high blood pressure. Dry eyes increase the chance of a scratched cornea. And an uptick in the number of floaters you see could mean you have a detached retina.
- You have frequent headaches: Yes, you may simply have been staring at the screen for too long. But if your headaches don’t go away when you’ve taken a break from your devices, this could be a sign of additional eye problems behind the scenes.
- You have diabetes: Diabetes affects the health of your eyes in many ways. Patients with diabetes have a higher chance of producing cataracts and having diabetic retinopathy.
Seeing an eye doctor at Eye Center of Texas.
Now that you know why and when to see an eye doctor (as well as what kind of eye doctor to see), chances are you’re ready to find an eye doctor and get this show on the road. Eye Center of Texas is home to some of the best eye doctors in Houston, as well as nationwide
If you have a pre-existing eye condition or are on the lookout for top eye surgeons in your area, request an appointment online or call Eye Center of Texas today at 713-797-1010.
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