Do you need an eye test if you don’t wear glasses?
Do you need an eye test if you don’t need glasses to see clearly?
Definitely. Eye tests are for much more than getting an updated prescription for your glasses.
At a comprehensive eye test, your optometrist checks your eyesight, corrects your vision (usually with glasses or contacts) and diagnoses and monitors eye conditions, including diabetes, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Why you should have your eyes checked regularly
More than 200 million people around the world have some form of vision impairment that might have been prevented, treated or cured with proper care, the World Health Organization says.
The leading causes of preventable vision impairment are uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts (33%), while the leading causes of preventable blindness are untreated cataracts (51%) and glaucoma (8%).
The reason so many eye issues go untreated is many people around the world have limited (or no) access to eye care. If you have optometrists where you live you should get your vision checked.
How often should you have an eye test?
Good Vision for Life – a website run by Optometry Australia says:
“If you wear glasses, most prescriptions expire after two years (less than this in some cases) hence the requirement to re-test before an optometrist can prescribe a new set. In fact, some State laws prevent the dispensing of expired prescriptions. This is to ensure that you are using the lenses with the most appropriate correction for your eyes.” If you are at higher risk for eye health issues your optometrist may schedule more frequent check-ups.
As you age, your optometrist likely will want to see you more often to check for vision issues (cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, for example) as they become more common in the older age groups.
Around age 40, presbyopia (it literally means old eyes) begins to affect everyone, even if you’ve always had excellent vision. Signs of presbyopia include difficulty reading text messages, restaurant menus and newspapers.
Recommended frequency of eye exams by age:
- Children: before the age of two and again just prior to starting school and then every 3 years after that
- 20 - 65 years: Optometrists recommend getting a comprehensive eye exam every two to three years, even if you are not having vision issues.
- 65 and older: Once every two years or more frequently as advised by your optometrist.
What does a comprehensive eye test include?
Comprehensive eye tests are performed by optometrists and ophthalmologists and typically take from 30 to 90 minutes. This routine test includes a refraction to ensure your vision is clear at all distances and a conversation about your eye health and any issues you may be having.
More specifically, your optometrist will check some or all of the following:
- Your visual fields (a test of the extent of your peripheral vision)
- Your depth perception
- Your ocular pressure as part of a check for glaucoma
- The alignment and movement of your eyes
- Examine the front of your eye including your eyelids and the corneas using a device called a slit-lamp
- Examine your retinas and optic nerves for signs of disease or damage – this may include an OCT (ocular coherence tomography)
Bottom line: You see your GP for a regular checkup and you see your dentist every 6 months for regular cleanings and check-ups. Your eyes — and your children’s eyes — need the same care so vision issues can be detected early and corrected.
WHEN WAS YOUR LAST EYE TEST? Find an optometrist near you and get your vision checked, you may need glasses. If your vision is blurry, your optometrist can help.