How Frequently Should You Have Eye Exams?


Recommended Eye Exam FrequencyComprehensive eye exams play an important role in maintaining clear vision and ocular health. During an eye exam, your ophthalmologist may use special eye drops to dilate, or widen, your pupils to get a clear look at the inside of the eyes. What they find during the dilated exam (as well as other special tests performed during the appointment) can provide vital information about the health of your eyes.

According to Dr. Gregory Johnson, a Wilmington ophthalmologist at Intracoastal Eye, how often you should have eye exams is largely dependent on how old you are and whether you are at risk of certain eye problems. Keep in mind that these routine exams are independent of visits to the eye doctor for the treatment of ongoing eye diseases or injuries. Those visits should be scheduled more frequently as needed.


Children who receive vision screenings at school and/or at the Pediatrician’s office do not necessarily need to have regular comprehensive eye exams.  However, if there are any potential concerns detected during a screening exam, or if your child exhibits symptoms such as sitting close to the television, squinting, frequent eye rubbing, headaches or difficulty reading, then a thorough examination with Dr. Johnson is recommended. Identifying vision problems early can prevent them from interfering with a child’s learning and academic performance.

Most schools schedule vision screenings once a year, toward the start of the school year, to check for vision problems. These screenings are not as comprehensive as a complete eye exam with an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Adults Under the Age of 40

Before the age of 40, you should have an eye exam every two to four years. If you have a family history of eye disease, systemic health problems like diabetes or high blood pressure that raise the risk of eye problems, or other risk factors for certain eye diseases, you should aim to have an exam annually.

Of course, if you experience changes in your vision or eye problems in between your annual exams, you should not hesitate to reach out to Dr. Johnson to be evaluated. It’s better to be proactive than to wait until a problem progresses into something very serious.

Adults Ages 40-55

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends having a baseline eye exam at the age of 40, when your risk of age-related vision problems increases. This is true even if you do not have any signs of a problem or risk factors for eye diseases. Based on the results of this exam, your doctor can specify how often you should have exams. You may be advised to have exams every year or every two years.

Adults Ages 55 and Older

After the age of 55, eye exams are recommended annually or as recommended based on individual risk factors. The chances of developing diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration climb with age.

If you have questions about eye exams or would like to schedule one with Dr. Johnson, please call 910-777-8254 or email Intracoastal Eye today.