Regular eye exams serve two functions:
- Diagnosis of visual problems (commonly called refractive errors)
- Identification, treatment and monitoring of eye conditions/diseases
Refractive errors can include:
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
- Hyperopia (farsightedness)
Individually or collectively these errors distort clear vision and can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or vision correction surgery (such as LASIK).
Eye conditions that an eye exam can help identify include:
- Diabetic retinopathy
Dr. Dianne Dao, who is a licensed optometrist in the state of Texas, has undergone extended education and training to perform these tasks.
The American Optometric Association recommends the following frequency for eye exams:
For asymptomatic, risk-free patients:
- Ages 0-6 – at 6 months, age 3, and before 1st grade
- Ages 6-18 – Every 2 years
- Ages 18-60 – Every 2 years
- 61 and older – Every year.
At risk adults should be examined every year (or as recommended). Risk factors include:
- Family history of ocular disease (such as glaucoma or macular degeneration)
- Working in occupations that are highly demanding visually or eye hazardous
- Persons taking prescription or nonprescription drugs with ocular side effects
- Wearing contact lenses
- Having had eye surgery
- Other health concerns/conditions.
For at risk infants and children the benchmark times are annually between ages 6 and 18 (or as specially recommended). Risk factors include:
- Low-birth weight or low oxygen at birth
- Grade III or IV intraventricular hemorrhage
- Family history of retinoblastoma
- Congenital contacts or metabolic or genetic disease
- Infection of mother during pregnancy (rubella, toxoplasmosis, venereal disease, herpes, etc.)
- Difficult or assisted labor
- High refractive error
Known or suspected central nervous system dysfunction (such as development delay among others).