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When should I see an ophthalmologist?
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When should I see an ophthalmologist?
Wondering when you or your family members should have their eyes examined by an Eye M.D.? Read below to see when you and your family should visit your Eye M.D. for a complete eye examination. 
If you have any of these risk factors for eye problems, you will need to see your Eye M.D. more often than recommended below:
  • Family history of eye problems
  • African American over 40
  • Have diabetes
  • Personal history of eye injury
Before Age 5
Since it is possible for your child to have a serious vision problem without being aware of it, your child should have his or her eyes screened at age 3 and 5 by an eye care professional, primary care provider, family physician, pediatrician or trained screener for eye conditions such as: 
If there is a family history of vision problems or if your child appears to have any of the above conditions speak to your Eye M.D. promptly about when and how often your child's eyes should be examined.
 
Puberty to Age 39
Most young people have healthy eyes, but still need to take care of their vision by wearing protective eyewear when working in dangerous areas, playing sports, doing woodwork or yard work, working with chemicals or taking part in other activities that could cause 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. You should also be aware of symptoms that could indicate a problem. See an Eye M.D. promptly if you experience any eye problems such as: 
  • Visual changes or pain
  • Flashes of light
  • Seeing spots or ghost like images
  • Dark spot appears in vision
  • Lines and edges appear distorted or wavy
  • Dry eyes with itching and burning
Ages 40 to 65
Even the young adult and middle age groups can be affected by eye problems, so preventive measures should be taken to protect eyes from injury and detect disease early.
Schedule a comprehensive eye evaluation with your Eye M.D. every two to four years.
 
Over Age 65
Seniors 65 and older should have comprehensive eye evaluations by their Eye M.D. every one to two years to test for cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and other eye conditions. 
You should have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist if you have any of these problems:
  • Decreased vision, even if temporary
  • New floaters (black "strings" or specks in the vision)
  • Flashes of light
  • Curtain or veil blocking vision
  • Haloes (colored circles around lights)
  • Eye pain
  • Redness of the eye or skin around the eye
  • Eye discharge or tearing
  • Bulging of one or both eyes
  • Crossed eyes
  • Double vision
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of eye disease
EyeCare America
Founded in 1985, EyeCare America has worked to prevent avoidable blindness by providing free eye health educational materials and access to medical eye care. Also, information on EyeCare America’s low-cost or no-cost vision programs can be found here: