How Vision Works Eye Health

Although genetics and other factors (including your age) affect your eye health, having healthy eyes also depends on how you care for them. It is up to you to take an active role in keeping your eyes healthy.

Eye Exams: Catching Problems Early

Some eye diseases, including cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration, are contributed, for the most part, to aging. Even if you cannot avoid these eye diseases, you can help your eyes healthy by detecting potential problems in their early stages. Routine comprehensive eye examinations by your eye doctor will not only detect current vision problems but may also discover eye problems and diseases even before they develop. As a result, it is important to have your eye doctor perform a comprehensive eye exam on a regular basis. Below is a recommendation, by age, of how often you should have an eye exam.

  • Less than 3 years old: Eye exams should be part of pediatric exams.
  • 3 to 19 years old: Children should have eye exams every one to two years during regular doctor visits. (Vision screenings by an eye doctor may be needed if child complains of vision loss or blurry vision.)
  • 20 to 29 years old: If no obvious eye problems are noticed, have at least one comprehensive eye exam during this timeframe.
  • 30 to 64 years old: Schedule a comprehensive exam with an eye doctor every two to four years.
  • 65 years old and older: Because of the possible onset of any age-related eye diseases, have a complete eye exam every one to two years to maintain healthy eyes.

The above recommendations are general guidelines. If you have certain risk factors or are experiencing vision problems, have a complete eye exam more often than the schedule recommends. Risk factors that may hinder you from keeping your eyes healthy include:

  • diabetes
  • eye injury (recent accident or history of eye injury)
  • genetic predisposition or family history of eye disease.

Because ethnicity and age can also increase the chances that you will contract an eye disease, increase the regularity of your eye exams if you are an African American who is 40 years old or older.

Keeping Eyes Healthy: Diet