Eye Exams – Who Needs Them?
Taking into consideration your age, risk factors and physical condition many eye care professionals do recommend that you have a comprehensive eye exam every one to three years.
Children. Vision problems are not limited to adults, some experts believe approximately 5% to 10% of pre-schoolers and 25% of school-aged children are affected in some way by vision impairment. The American Optometric Association (AOA) has stated that every child should have an eye exam at 6 months, 3 years and again at the start of school. After that point every two years through the school years should be sufficient if the child does not have vision problems or risk factors. If problems or risks should occur then more frequent exams are strongly recommended.
Some of the most common risk factors for vision problems for children include:
- premature birth
- developmental delays
- turned or crossed eyes
- family history of eye disease
- history of eye injury
- other physical illness or disease
If a child wears contact lenses or glasses the AOA states that they should have eye exams at least every 12 months or according to their eye doctor’s instructions.
Adults. The AOA also states that an annual eye exam is recommended for any adult who wears eyeglasses or contact lenses. Here in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley, all adults up to the age of 40, and even those who don’t normally need vision correction, still need an eye exam every 2 or 3 years depending on your personal amount of change you have in your vision and your overall health. Many doctors recommend more frequent eye exams for adults with certain health conditions such as; diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders, because many diseases can have a large impact on your vision and eye health in a shorter amount of time.
After the age of 40, it is generally recommended to have eye exams every one to 1 to 2 years to check for normal, age-related eye problems such as; presbyopia, cataracts and macular degeneration.
Everyone over the age of 60 should be examined annually because the risk of eye disease only increases with time.
Who should I see for my eye exam?
Here in Northern Colorado two different types of eye doctors exist – ophthalmologists and optometrists. Your vision wants and needs as well as your preferences will dictate who you should see.
If you are looking for an eye care specialist, a surgeon who can perform eye surgeries an Ophthalmologists (who are medical doctors – MDs or DOs – are the people you will want to talk with. Not only can ophthalmologists prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, they are licensed to treat medical conditions of the eye. Ophthalmologists usually have 8 or more years of training after college.
Eye doctors who can treat medical conditions of the eye with eye drops and other forms of medicine as well as prescribe glasses and contacts are known as Optometrists (ODs). They are not surgeons and are not licensed to perform eye surgery. Optometrists usually have 4 or more years of training after college.
How much does an eye exam cost?
In Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley the cost of having an eye exam can vary greatly from place to place because some offer specialized services while others are known as general discount optical centers, while still others are very established in the community. Also, the services and specialized services that are given during an exam and if the eye examination was conducted by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist and increase or decrease the cost.
Most often we see that a contact lens exam will come with a larger fee than an eye exams for glasses. A higher cost may be associated for specialized eye care like a laser vision correction evaluation.
We generally see most insurance plans offer coverage for at least a part of eye exam fees. It is always a good idea to check to see what your insurance benefits will cover and to find the eye doctors in your area who participate in your insurance company’s plan before you make an appointment. Then when you call to schedule an appointment, be sure to give your doctor’s office your insurance information so that they can verify coverage.
What information should I take with me to my eye exam?
There is a basic list of information and things that you will need to bring to any eye exam. It is a good idea to bring the following items to your exam:
- All pairs of eyeglasses and contact lenses that you routinely use, including reading glasses.
- A list of any medications you take (including dosages).
- A list of any nutritional supplements you take (including dosages).
- A list of questions to ask the doctor, especially if you are interested in contact lenses or laser vision correction surgery.
- Your medical or vision insurance card (if you will be using it to pay for a portion of your fees)
We would love to hear from you. If you live in the Northern Colorado area, you can call our office to schedule an appointment at 970-204-4020. You can also simply click on the link at the side of the page and contact us that way as well.