Need an Eye Exam?
We can help you decide.

Has it been so many years since your last eye exam that you can't remember when it was?  Then it's time you had your eyes checked. Even if you think it's been "about" two years, it's usually more than that. Our memories are often a little short sighted. Unless you have the exact date written down somewhere, don't trust your memory to remind you when you need to set up an appointment. It is one of those things most people procrastinate on.

How Often Is An Eye Exam Recommended?

What is the rule of thumb for getting your eyes tested? 

Here we refer to the Canadian ophthalmological society's recommendations:

Children under age 5: at least one full eye examination

Adult Patients with no symptoms:

  •   age 19-40: at least every 10 years
  •   age 41-55: at least every 5 years
  •   age 56-65: at least every 3 years
  •   over age 65: at least every 2 years

Patients with symptoms (see below for types of symptoms)

 * all ages should be seen as soon as possible

High risk patients:(family history of eye disease, diabetes, previous vision problems)

  •   age 40+ : at least every 3 years
  •   age 50+ : at least every 2 years
  •   age 60 + : at least once per year

Symptoms are: 

  •   any changes in visual acuity
  •   changes in visual field (ie. perception of peripheral, central vision, shadows, black spots, curtain going over vision)
  •   changes in colour vision
  •   any physical changes (infection, pain, eye turning in)

High risk patients are those with:

  •   thyroid disease
  •   diabetes
  •   cataracts
  •   macular degeneration
  •   glaucoma, potential glaucoma
  •   retinal detachment
  •   family history of above

Most eye care practitioners recommend an eye health exam every 2 years. In British Columbia, Canada, eyeglass prescriptions don't technically expire, but the government has given the public the right to decide if they need their eyes checked or not.  In most cases, here you will have to pay for an optometrist to examine your eyes. Unless you have coverage through your extended health, and your eye doctor bills them directly, you will have to pay up front for this service. BC medical does pay a portion of eye health exams for some people (for example, children under 19), but you still may have to pay some, since optometrists in BC are able to extra bill. Other provinces and countries differ, so check locally as to what the requirements are for eye examinations. In the rest of Canada, most optometrists and optical companies will not release any information that is over two years old.

Another option recently intorduced in British Columbia is an automated refraction, or sight test, performed by an optician. We discuss sight tests here.

How do you determine if you need an eye exam?  Here are some pointers:

  • If it's been over two years since your last eye test, we generally recommend you get your eyes rechecked.
  • If you are finding that when you are driving, street signs are blurry, or you can't see them until you get very close.
  • If you are over 40 and you are finding that your near vision is changing.
  • If you are diabetic or have other health issues that may affect your vision.
  • If you have any eye diseases, your optometrist or ophthalmologist has most likely recommended you have your eye health rechecked more frequently.

If you are currently wearing contact lenses, which you must be if you want to order contact lenses online, then you should have the health of your eyes checked every couple of years. Since contact lenses are in direct contact with your eyes, they can affect the health of your eyes and cause complications that you may not be aware of.

Eye Disease Frequently Has No Symptoms

Another reason to have a regular eye exam is that eye health problems frequently have no symptoms, and you may have a problem but not know about it.  Also, vision usually changes so gradually that even though you may think that your visual acuity is the same, there may be a slight change that would help you see better.

Eye Care Professionals

How do you know who you need to see to get your eyes tested, whether it is for an eye exam, or contact lenses, or if you are concerned about a specific eye related disease? Here we discuss the different eye care professionals and what they do.

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