This is not intended as substitution for medical advice. If you have a question concerning your eyes you should contact your personal eye care provider.

How often should you have your eyes checked?

Infants

All infants should have their eyes examined by a qualified doctor by age six months. Infants' fine stereopsis is fully developed by nine months of age. Any disease or condition which would prevent the infant from seeing clearly and simultaneously during this time with both eyes may result in not developing stereo vision. After nine months of age, intervention to correct the primary problem will be too late for developing stereo vision in the infant.

Toddlers

Toddlers should have their eyes examined at age 3 and age 5, even if there is not a history of eye problems in the family. Children's binocular vision is fully developed by age six years. Any disease or condition which would prevent the child from seeing clearly and simultaneously during this time with both eyes may result in the child having a "lazy eye" or "crossed eyes". Lazy eyes and even crossed eyes are not detectable by simply looking at the child. Special testing by a doctor qualified to exam eyes is required to determine what the problem is. This is a treatable problem and must be detected early in order to ensure a more favorable outcome. After six years of age the prognosis for success is much lower.

Adolescents

Adolescents should be examined every year until they are finished with high school and even college to ensure they are performing well. Poor visual skills can hinder their ability to learn well in school. Many schools have screening programs to detect some children with problems. It is great that some school districts can afford this and take the time to care for children. However, the screenings are only designed to detect some of the problems that children have. This should not be a substitute for a comprehensive examination. A child can pass the screening tests and still need glasses or exercises.

Ages 19 to 39

Most young adults have prescriptions that have stabilized and should be tested every two years. Even if you think you see well, there are many conditions, such as glaucoma, which can cause you to permanently lose up to 90% of your peripheral nerve fibers before you are aware of it.

Age 40 and up

Every year would be prudent at this time. The incidence of ocular complications from glaucoma, high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems, cataracts and arthritis increase substantially with time. Much permanent loss can be prevented by early detection.

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Last revised August 5, 2000
Copyright Dale Barr 2000 all rights reserved