The eyes are a fundamental tool in our daily lives, but there are many external agents that put our eyes at risk every day: working with computers, mobiles, long exposures to the sun, etc. Here we will try to clarify how often we should have our eyes checked from birth.
During the first 24 months of life
Especially if the baby is premature or born underweight for his age, it is of utmost importance to perform an eye check in the first weeks of life in case the premature retinopathy is detected.
During the two years of life a check-up should be carried out if any of these symptoms are detected in order to be able to treat the child early:
- Deviation of one or both eyes
- Watering eyes or repetitive conjuntivitis
- Photophobia or large corneas
- Leukocoria or whitish-pupillary reflex
- Congenital nystagmus or rapid eye movements
At 3 years old
At this stage children begin to recognise colours and shapes accurately and it is the key stage for doing the child’s first visual check (if no other symptoms have been detected before).
During the ophthalmological check-up, visual sharpness will be evaluated to see if an optical correction is needed.
It will be necessary, in many cases, to perform an exploration under cycloplegia (it is a matter of applying some drops that dilate the pupil) to know exactly the prescription you will need.
Eyes movements will be checked in order to detect strabismus, treat it and thus avoid the appearance of a lazy eye or amblyopia.
Reviews from age 3 to 12
We must bear in mind that 80% of what a child learns enters through the eyes.
Many times learning difficulties can be due to visual defects, either because the child needs glasses or because he or she has problems with binocular vision (use of both eyes, which is necessary for three-dimensional vision) or problems with accommodation-convergence (essential for putting the eyes in the reading position and focusing correctly). In these cases, visual therapy exercises can be useful.
Revision from 12 to 20 years old
Teens are undergoing continual changes in their bodies. With development there is also the possibility of problems or changes in the test that they did not have before, so they need to have their eyes checked every two years to discover these changes.
Monitoring eye health from the age of 20 to 40
The rest should have their eyes checked every three years, even if there are no symptoms indicating visual problems, but this is the only way to detect them in time. Intra-ocular pressure and the back of the eye should also be checked to detect possible eye disorders, such as retinal tears in nearsighted people (who are more likely to suffer from retinal detachment).
Revisions from the age of 40
From that age onwards, it is recommended to have your eyes checked every year or every two years, because from that point onwards the first symptoms of presbyopia or tired eyesight (problems in the ability to focus up close) start.
It may also be necessary to measure the intra-ocular pressure and carry out a study of the optic nerve as well as the visual field, since in this age it is common to find glaucoma in many cases. An ophthalmological study will help prevent irreversible loss of vision by detecting and treating high intra-ocular pressure, one of the main symptoms of glaucoma.
Maintenance from the age of 60
Cataracts are one of the most common visual problems from the age of 60 onwards and can be treated with frequent changes in prescription. Cataract is a disease associated with the ageing of the lens that can be solved with a cataract surgery with an intra-ocular lens implant, correcting also in many cases, the prescription.
AMD is the leading cause of irreversible visual loss in Western countries in people over 50. The symptoms are blurred central vision, altered image shape (metamorphosis) or alterations in image size.
- Bradley S. Henriksen, Gary Chan, Robert O. Hoffman, Mohsen Sharifzadeh, Igor V. Ermakov, Werner Gellermann and Paul S. Bernstein. Interrelationships Between Maternal Carotenoid Status and Newborn Infant Macular Pigment Optical Density and Carotenoid Status. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Aug; 54(8): 5568–5578.
- Mingjuan Lisa Zhang, Phenpan Hirunyachote and Henry Jampe. Combined surgery versus cataract surgery alone for eyes with cataract and glaucoma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2016 Jul 14.