Eye exams are routine procedures in which the healthcare professional assesses your vision and checks for potential eye diseases. The doctor can use various instruments, like lenses and lights, to determine how well your eyes function, if you need corrective lenses, and if you’re free of potential eye conditions or problems. Eye exams are important because they can help you receive the corrective lenses you need to see properly while completing everyday tasks, and they can also help you identify eye conditions and problems early so you can begin treatment.
A personalized eye exam considers factors like age, vision history, conditions, family eye history, visual expectations, and preferences. The tests an eye doctor conducts can vary depending on which factors most impact your eye health and corrective lens needs. For example, you may prefer to wear contact lenses, in which case an eye doctor may conduct a measurement to fit you for lenses and help you choose the ones that work best for you.
Though many schools conduct vision screenings for students, it’s still important for children to have their eyes assessed by an eye doctor in a clinical setting. Screenings may not identify all potential problems in a child’s vision or eyes, and an eye doctor can help children receive the corrective lenses they need to properly develop. The eye doctor tests for eye diseases and visual acuity when conducting examinations. They also examine the retina, optic nerve, and cornea to ensure they’re developing correctly.
Babies can have their eyes assessed between 6 and 12 months to ensure they’re properly developing, toddlers can have their eyes assessed between the ages of 3 and 5, and children and teens can have their eyes assessed before the first grade and each year following that to ensure their corrective lenses effectively support their eyesight. Some common conditions children may experience include amblyopia, myopia, and strabismus.
Adults over the age of 60 years should have their eyes examined at least once a year. Seniors with conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure can receive regular vision check ups to ensure their eyes are healthy. If you have a family history of eye disease, it’s also important to have your eyes examined frequently to ensure the eye doctor can identify the problem early and begin treatment before it can develop.
The frequency at which you have your eyes examined can depend on a variety of factors, including your age, specific conditions, and concerns. For most healthy adults, it’s best to schedule an exam every one to two years to ensure your prescription is current and accurately corrects your eyesight. Assess your own family history to determine if you have a history of eye disease like macular degeneration or glaucoma, as this may require you to schedule more frequent checkups. These are some other factors to consider when planning how often to get your eyes checked:
- Medications that have vision-related side effects.
- Visually intense occupations, like a seamstress, welder, or firefighter.
- Previous eye surgeries or injuries.
- History of diabetes and high blood pressure.
Whether or not insurance fully covers eye exams depends on the type of insurance you have. While a health insurance plan may only partially cover routine eye exams, an insurance plan for vision may fully or almost completely cover eye exams. Some insurance plans may cover or partially cover corrective lenses like contacts and glasses, while others may require a copay from the patient. Many insurance plans place a limit on the number of eye exams you can receive without paying for it out of pocket.
How much you pay for an eye exam without insurance depends on the type of eye doctor you see, the practice you visit, and the services you require. For example, seeing an ophthalmologist may be more expensive than having an appointment with an optometrist. If you have health or vision insurance, you may pay between $10 and a $50 copay for a visit to the eye doctor. Without insurance, you may pay between $50 and $250 for a routine eye examination.
Medicare does not cover the cost of eye exams conducted with the purpose of providing corrective lenses like glasses or contacts.
Eye exams can take differing amounts of time depending on the patient’s specific needs. Many eye exams take between 30 minutes and 45 minutes.
To prepare for your eye exam, make a list of eye-related questions you’d like to ask your doctor, learn more about your vision or health insurance benefits, and learn more about your family’s medical history.
Over-exerting your eyes, forgetting your corrective lenses, and drinking coffee or alcohol are all things not to do before you visit the eye doctor. Learn more practices and habits to avoid here.
Most patients can drive following their eye exams, but it’s always important to pay attention to the way you feel following the appointment. If your vision blurs substantially, you may feel more comfortable having a friend or family member help you home.
Learning more about eye exams can help you fit them into your budget and properly take care of your eyes. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment with our eye experts.