Preparing for Your Next Eye Exam

Regardless of your age, it’s important to have you eyes examined on a regular basis. Adults between the ages of 18 and 60 should see their doctor every two to four years for a comprehensive exam. Children over the age of 6, should be seen every two years unless there are any problems. If you are over the age of 60 and/or have a family history of glaucoma, diabetes or other eye diseases, you may need to see your doctor once every two years or more frequently.

There are a number of things you can do to prepare for your next visit. If it’s been a few years since you’ve had an exam, take careful note of these questions and considerations.

Before your visit:

If there is a particular reason you are requesting an appointment, such as irritation, poor vision or redness, inform your doctor’s office ahead of time. Keep note of any issues you’ve experienced and bring that list with you to your appointment. If it is a basic comprehensive exam, come prepared with any issues you might have experienced over the last year. You may also be required to disclose if your family has a history of eye problems (e.g. cataracts or glaucoma).

What to bring and what to expect:

If you wear glasses or contacts, prepare to bring those to your appointment. Additionally, your doctor may ask you to provide a list of any medications you may be taking to see if interferes with your vision.  You may also want to call the office ahead of time to find out if your pupils will be dilated so you can plan your day accordingly.  Generally, a dilated eye exam affects your ability to focus on near sighted tasks, such as reading or working on a computer.  Your vision will return to normal within 3-4 hours.  If you are concern about driving you may want to bring a friend or family member with you to your appointment.

Adults going into an eye exam can expect one or more of the following:

  • A conversation about your and your family’s medical history
  • A reading chart to check your visual acuity
  • Tests to measure your depth perception and peripheral vision

Please keep in mind that while these tests are the most common, some advanced screening may also be required. If it’s determined that you need glasses you will be issued a glasses script.  If you want to wear contacts, you will be asked to come back for a fitting. A couple of weeks following, you should plan to report back on how well your glasses or contacts are working. If you are experiencing any difficulty your doctor might need to adjust your prescription. 

If you have any questions about your eye health or the frequency of your exams, please consult with your optometrist, ophthalmologist, or your primary care doctor.