When should you see an ophthalmologist?
Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.s) are medical doctors who specialize in eye and vision care. They are specially trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to complex and delicate eye surgery. Many ophthalmologists are also involved in scientific research into the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision problems.
For individuals at any age with symptoms of or at risk for eye disease, such as those with a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, the Academy recommends that individuals see their ophthalmologist to determine how frequently their eyes should be examined.
If you have no known symptoms of or risks for eye disease, you should have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist at the following intervals to maintain healthy vision:
20 to 29 years of age: at least once during this period; African Americans, because of greater risk for glaucoma, should be seen every three to five years.
30 to 39 years of age: At least twice during this period; African Americans, because of greater risk for glaucoma, should be seen every two to four years.
40 years of age: The Academy recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40 — the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. Based on the results of the initial screening, an ophthalmologist will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams.
40 to 64 years of age: Every two to four years.
65 years or older: Every one to two years.
In addition, you should visit an ophthalmologist if you experience:
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