Adult eye exams are necessary.

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What to Expect

As with all medicine, early diagnosis and treatment can help people with their overall health. Just as with a physical, it makes sense to visit an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) for a routine eye exam.

A series of tests will be performed to assess acuity, refraction and potential eye disease.
Your Insight Eye M.D. will begin by asking a series of questions about your medical and eye health history, including any noticeable eye problems. Next he will evaluate your visual acuity by determining the smallest letters you can read on a standardized eye chart.

Your Insight Eye M.D. will also test for refractive errors. A refractive error means that the shape of your eye doesn’t refract the light properly, so that the image you see is blurred. Although refractive errors are called eye disorders, they are not diseases. The four types of refractive errors are myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery can be used to correct refractive errors.

In addition, an Insight Eye M.D. will test:
  • Eyelid health and function
  • Coordination of eye muscles
  • Pupil response to light
  • Side, or peripheral vision
  • Intraocular pressure, the pressure inside the eye
  • Anterior segment of the eye, the area in front of the lens, including the cornea and iris
  • The interior and back of the eye, including the retina

After the examination your Insight Eye M.D. will discuss the results with you. If there is any eye disease, treatments with medication, including eye drops, may be recommended. In some cases, certain eye diseases require laser surgery or other surgical procedures. Some of the treatments are taken care of by your regular Insight Eye M.D. or, you may be referred to a subspecialist, such as a cornea or retina specialist.

Recommended Intervals for Regular Eye Exams

If you have any of these risk factors for eye problems, you may need to see your Insight Eye M.D. more often than recommended below:

  • Family history of eye problems
  • African American over age 40
  • Diabetes
  • History of eye injury

Age 20 to 39

Most young adults have healthy eyes, but they still need to take care of their vision by wearing protective eyewear when playing sports, doing yard work, working with chemicals, or taking part in other activities that could cause an eye injury.
Have a complete eye exam at least once between the ages of 20 and 29 and at least twice between the ages of 30 and 39.
Also, be aware of symptoms that could indicate a problem. See an Eye M.D. if you experience any eye conditions, such as:

  • Visual changes or pain
  • Flashes of light
  • Seeing spots or ghost-like images
  • Lines appear distorted or wavy
  • Dry eyes with itching and burning

Age 40 to 64

As of July 2007, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has issued a new eye disease screening recommendation for aging adults. The Academy now 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.

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.
The new recommendation does not replace regular visits to the ophthalmologist to treat ongoing disease or injuries, or for vision examinations for eye glasses or contact lenses. Much like mammograms at 40 or colon screenings at 50, this new eye disease screening is a reminder to adults as they age that they need to maintain their eye health.

Why the New Recommendation?

A baseline evaluation is important because it may detect eye diseases common in adults aged 40 and older. The evaluation creates greater opportunity for early treatment and preservation of vision.

A thorough ophthalmologic evaluation can uncover common abnormalities of the visual system and related structures, as well as less common but extremely serious ones, such as ocular tumors. This evaluation can also uncover evidence of many forms of systemic disease that affect the eyes, like hypertension and diabetes. With appropriate intervention, potentially blinding diseases such as glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy often have a favorable outcome.

Several common eye diseases can impact people 40 and older without them knowing there is any problem with their eyes.

Age 65 and Over

Seniors age 65 and over should have complete eye exams by their Insight Eye M.D. every one to two years to check for cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other eye conditions.

(Used with permission from

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