An eye examination is a series of tests performed by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist to determine if there are any pre-existing or potential problems with a patient's vision.
Eye examinations measure a person's ocular health and visual status, in order to detect abnormalities in the components of the visual system, and to determine how well the person can see. Eye exams may also reveal the presence of non-eye diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Infants should be examined to detect any physical abnormalities. If a problem is noted the infant can be further examined, generally by a pediatric ophthalmologist. A child without symptoms should have an eye exam before age three. Early exams are important because some conditions may result in permanent problems with vision. For example, amblyopia, more commonly known as a lazy eye, should be corrected before permanent damage occurs, usually between the ages of six and nine. If a child continues to be symptom-free, the second exam should take place before first grade. After first grade, the American Optometric Association recommends an eye exam every two years until age 19. From ages 19–40, an examination every two to three years is recommended, and from ages 41–60, an exam every two years is recommended. After that, healthy persons without risk factors are recommended to have annual examinations. Doctors should advise patients at risk for eye disease that they may need more frequent checkups. Persons with visual problems should seek medical attention right away.
Mary Bekker, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,