Healthy aging and regular eye exams

Q: I’m an older adult without noticeable vision problems. Why should I visit an eye doctor?

A: In their early stages, many vision-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy have no symptoms. They slowly affect your eyes. If you have regular comprehensive dilated eye exams at Lighthouse Guild, we can find serious eye diseases before they advance and potentially affect your vision.

Q: How does a dilated eye exam differ from an eye chart test?

A: Drops are placed in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupils so the back of each eye can be thoroughly examined for early signs of age-related eye diseases.

Q: How often should I get an eye exam?

A: Based on your overall health, including level of risk for eye and vision problems, your eye doctor will tell you how frequently you should have a dilated eye exam. Risk factors include diabetes, hypertension or a family history of eye disease.

As a guide, the American Optometric Association (AOA) offers these recommendations:

  • Age 60 and younger: If you have no eye or vision symptoms, you should have an eye exam every two years. If you have risk factors schedule an eye exam every one to two years, or as recommended.
  • Age 61 and older: If you have no eye or vision symptoms, get your eyes examined annually. If you have risk factors schedule an eye exam annually, or as recommended.

Q: What symptoms should prompt me to contact my eye doctor?

A: Tell your eye doctor if you notice changes in your eyes or vision such as blurred vision, halos surrounding lights, eyes that itch or burn, black spots or “floaters,” double vision, tearing or watering eyes, or if you are having trouble doing usual tasks that require your vision, like reading or watching television.

Q: When should I seek urgent care?

A: Seek urgent care if you experience sudden and/or severe eye pain, sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes, light flashes, or if your eyes turn bright red. Any of these could indicate a very severe problem and should be addressed immediately.

What can I do to take care of my eyes?

Be sure to schedule regular eye exams.

Lighthouse Guild’s full service Optometric and Low Vision Clinic:


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