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Eye Exam Basics: What to Expect and When to See an Eye Doctor

Optometrist with man getting regular eye exam

Schedule Your Eye Exams Regularly

Do you wear glasses or contacts? If so, you’ve probably been told to have regular eye exams. Even those with good vision should see their eye doctor, just to be sure. But how often should regular eye appointments happen? What signs suggest that you may need an appointment, even if you aren’t scheduled to have one again for months? And, once at the appointment, what tests will the doctor perform and why?

Here we’ll explain when you should plan to make an eye appointment, and what will happen when you arrive.

Eye care professionals often suggest that you have regularly scheduled eye exams. The frequency of visits to your eye doctor depends on a few factors, mainly your age and known eye conditions. A breakdown of how frequent you should visit your optometrist can be found here, and generally is as follows:

Know Your Risk Factors

Some people are more at risk than others for vision problems and eye disease. The risk factors that make vision issues most likely include:

For people with known risk-factors, your eye doctor may suggest coming in more frequently.

Address Your Vision Between Scheduled Visits

man squinting to see computer screen

Any time you experience problems with your eyesight you should consider making an appointment with your eye doctor. Below are some things that would warrant an appointment:

Always contact an eye doctor if you think you have a problem with your eyes. Not going to see the eye doctor could cause vision problems in the future.

Tests Performed During an Eye Exam

Eye doctors perform a wide variety of eye tests. Some are quite simple, while others are far more complex, often requiring specialized equipment. Due to the number of tests, an eye exam often takes more than an hour to complete. With the help of these tests, your doctor can determine how healthy your eyes are and what they need to do to improve your vision.

Simple Eye Exam Tests

child taking an eye exam to improve vision

More Complex Eye Exam Tests

boy having the refraction test at an eye exam

Eye Exams for Contact Lens Fittings

Most of the time, a contact lens fitting is not part of a typical eye exam unless you already wear contact lenses. If you do not yet wear contacts, you will have to ask for a contact lens fitting in order to get a contact lens prescription.

Contact lens fittings cannot be done when your eyes are dilated. This means that your lens fitting will be prior to your eye exam, or on another day.

Most people get a contact lens fitting through the same practice as their general eye doctor. This saves money because tests do not have to be repeated.

Having good vision is fundamental. That’s why it is crucial to have an eye exam regularly. It is also crucial to see your eye doctor whenever you experience an eye issue, no matter how small you think it might be. Don’t risk compromising your vision. See your eye doctor and keep your eyes healthy.

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