What is an eye exam?

During a complete eye exam, your provider takes a close look at your eyes and does several tests. Some tests check your vision and determine if you need glasses or contacts. Other tests assess your eye health and check for eye disease. An exam can help providers evaluate your overall health.

Your provider will use special equipment, instruments and lights to look in your eyes. These tests don’t usually hurt, but they may be a little uncomfortable. With regular eye exams, your provider monitors changes in your vision, detects eye problems and helps you keep your eyes healthy.

What’s the difference between an ophthalmologist, optometrist and optician?

Optometrists and ophthalmologists are doctors who specialize in caring for your eyes. An eye doctor performs eye exams and diagnoses and treats eye problems. Ophthalmologists can also perform surgery to correct eye issues.

An optician helps you with corrective lenses. An optician isn’t a doctor, but they have training to help you choose eyeglass frames. They also ensure that glasses and contact lenses fit.

How often should I get my eyes checked?

Most children and adults should get a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years. People with a higher risk of eye disease or vision problems may need to get their eyes checked more often. You may need more frequent eye exams if you:

  • Are over age 60.
  • Are of African or Hispanic descent.
  • Carry extra weight or have obesity.
  • Had eye surgery, an eye injury or eye damage from a stroke.
  • Have a family history of eye disease.
  • Have a health condition that can cause eye problems, such as diabetes.
  • Wear glasses or contact lenses.

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