How to Know When to Get an Eye Exam

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The AOA provides recommendations to which many optometrists around the nation adhere. They recommend eye exam frequency based on age: 

  • birth to two years – at six months of age;
  • two to five years – at three years old, children who wear glasses or contacts should receive an eye exam every year;
  • six to 18 – before first grade and then every two years thereafter;
  • 18 to 60 – every two years, if you wear glass or contacts, you'll want to get an exam every year, though; and
  • age 61 and older – every year. 

When More Frequent Eye Exams Are Advisable 

If a child is at risk for eye disease, an optometrist generally will recommend more frequent eye exams. 

Risk factors that would necessitate a higher frequency of eye exams: 

  • premature birth or low birth weight;
  • mother who was infected with rubella, venereal disease, herpes or HIV when she gave birth;
  • certain developmental delays;
  • a family history of eye disease;
  • crossed eyes; and
  • other conditions or diseases.