Frequency of vision exams
How often you should receive a vision examination depends on your age, predisposition to eye problems, family history, and any vision-related problems you have.
Contrary to popular belief, infants and small children can be given eye examinations. Initially, this should be done prior to the age of one to detect problems that might result in permanent vision loss. During the school years children should be examined yearly as their vision can change rapidly. From age 18 to 40 years individuals should be examined every two to three years, from 40 to 60 every two years, and over 60 annually. Obviously, if you have a vision problem it may be quite important to be seen more often. Likewise, any change in vision or discomfort following an eye or head trauma requires immediate care.
The basic exam
The basic eye examination requires about 30 to 60 minutes. This may vary depending on the number of tests deemed necessary. Generally, most doctors will begin by asking you some common questions. They will inquire about any complaints you currently have with your vision. If you have any, then you will be asked the duration of the problem and the degree that it affects you.
There will also be questions concerning the time since your last eye exam, any preexisting eye problems, your occupation, hobbies, and general health status. In addition, questions about your family’s eye health history, any allergic reactions to medications, and current medications you might be using will probably be asked (you should bring a list of all medications—prescribed and over-the-counter—you are taking). The purpose of this query is to provide the doctor with an idea of what may be affecting your vision. It also highlights any potential problems that may arise based on your family’s eye health history and your occupation.