When was the last time you saw your optometrist? According to the Canadian Association of Optometry (CAO), it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly. Provided you have no risk factors, this is how often the CAO says you should have an eye exam:
- Infants should have their first exam when they’re about six months old. They should be checked again around the age of three.
- Children (between the ages of six and 18) should get an eye exam once a year.
- Adults (between the ages of 19 and 64) should see their optometrist once every two years.
- Seniors (65 and older) should get their eyes checked once a year.
Signs you need an eye exam soon
There’s always a chance that you’ll need an eye exam between regular appointments, even if you visit the eye doctor regularly. Here are five signs you should schedule an appointment with your optometrist as soon as possible.
1. You see floaters and flashes. See an eye doctor if you’ve noticed tiny spots, lines or cobwebs floating in your field of vision (called floaters), especially if they’re accompanied by bright flashes or loss of peripheral vision. This could indicate an issue called retinal detachment that needs immediate care.
2. You receive a new health diagnosis. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a health issue that could affect your eyes, it’s important to see your eye doctor to discuss the diagnosis and figure out an appropriate plan. Some illnesses that can affect your eye health are diabetes, lupus and certain types of thyroid conditions.
3. Your vision changes. Schedule an eye exam if you find yourself squinting to see things clearly, you’re experiencing more frequent headaches or you’re having a hard time driving at night.
4. You experience prolonged eye fatigue. Eyestrain is normal after reading or spending too much time working on the computer, but it should go away after you’ve rested. If you continue to feel eye fatigue for more than three days, it could be a sign of an infection or a condition.
5. Your eyes are more sensitive to light. A sudden, strong sensitivity to light is an indication that you should be seen by an eye doctor immediately. This can be a symptom of a larger problem such as an eye infection, a corneal abrasion or something more serious.