Have your eyes tested (examined) regularly to help find problems early, when they may be easier to treat. The doctor will also do tests to make sure you are seeing as clearly as possible.
How often do I need an eye exam?
How often you need an eye exam depends on your risk for eye disease. Talk to your doctor about how often to get your eyes tested.
Get an eye exam every 1 to 2 years if you:
Are over age 60
Have a family history of glaucoma
People with diabetes may need eye exams more often.
If you have diabetes, it's important to get your eyes tested at least once a year. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.
What happens during an eye exam?
The doctor will ask you questions about your health and vision.
You will read charts with letters and numbers so the doctor can check your vision.
The doctor will do tests to look for problems with your eyes, including glaucoma.
The doctor will put drops in your eyes to dilate (enlarge) your pupils. A dilated eye exam is the only way to find some types of eye disease.
Am I at risk for a vision problem?
As you get older, your eyes change. This increases your chance of developing a vision problem. You may be at higher risk if one of your parents had a vision problem, like needing to wear glasses.
Common vision problems are:
Nearsightedness – when far away objects are blurry
Farsightedness – when far away objects are easier to see than near ones
Astigmatism – a condition that makes it hard to see fine details
Presbyopia (“prez-bee-OH-bee-uh”) – a condition that older adults can get that makes it hard to see things up close
Am I at risk for eye disease?
Getting older increases your risk of certain eye diseases. You may be at higher risk if you have diabetes or high blood pressure – or if you have a family member with diabetes or an eye disease.
Eye diseases like glaucoma can lead to vision loss and blindness if they aren’t caught and treated early.
Depending on your age and medical history, the doctor may look for eye problems that are common in older adults, including:
Age-related macular degeneration (or AMD)
Diabetic eye disease
What's the difference between a vision screening and an eye exam?
A vision screening is a short checkup for your eyes. It usually takes place during a regular doctor visit. Vision screenings can only find certain eye problems.
An eye exam takes more time than a vision screening, and it’s the only way to find some types of eye disease.
These 2 kinds of doctors can perform eye exams:
Protect your vision. Get regular eye exams so you can find problems early, when they may be easier to treat.
See an eye doctor right away if you have any of these problems:
Sudden loss of vision
Flashes of light
Tiny spots that float across your eye
Redness or swelling
Lower your risk of falling.
Poor vision or the wrong glasses can increase your risk of falling. One in 3 older adults will fall each year. Falling can cause serious injuries and health problems, especially for people over age 64.
Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses and a hat.