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HomeHealth & FitnessDon't Lose Sight: Why Eye Exams Matter at Every Age |2024

Don’t Lose Sight: Why Eye Exams Matter at Every Age |2024

Last Updated on June 13, 2024 by Silvy

Regular eye exams are essential for detecting vision problems and eye diseases early. Unfortunately, many people underestimate the importance of these exams, only seeking care when they experience avoidable incidents.

Early detection can prevent long-term vision problems and promote overall development. Eye exams are beneficial for individuals of all ages, from birth through adulthood, and involve specific tests that are crucial for obtaining good results.

Newborn (0-3 months)

A newborn should have their first eye test at birth, performed by a paediatrician or optometrist, before being taken home. The Red Reflex Test checks for abnormalities such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinoblastoma.

A normal symmetrical red reflex indicates healthy eyes, while any asymmetry or absence warrants further investigation.

Infant (3-6 months)

Between 3-6 months, a baby should have their next eye check performed by an optometrist. The Pupillary Light Reflex and Fixation Behavior are evaluated to note the ability to track objects and respond to light expected at this age.

The test enables early detection of strabismus or amblyopia, which can prevent vision problems. Pupils should constrict equally in response to light, and the infant should be able to fixate on and follow a moving object by around 3-4 months of age.

6-12 months

In addition to the former tests, a positive Corneal Light Reflex Test (Hirschberg Test) and Cover Test are the markers for healthy eyes at this age.

These tests identify misalignment of the eyes (strabismus) and early treatment is critical to prevent amblyopia (lazy eye). The light reflection should be centered on both corneas, and in the cover test, the covered eye should not move, indicating proper alignment.

Toddlers (1-3 years)

At this age, children are visually curious and can be easily engaged. An optometrist needs to conduct visual acuity tests using picture charts and an ocular health examination to assess their vision and eye health. This can help detect any refractive errors or other eye conditions.

Proper vision is crucial for their development, and their visual acuity should be within the normal range for their age. A complete ocular health examination ensures that there are no underlying conditions.

Preschool (3-5 years)

Visual Acuity tests (using picture or letter charts), stereopsis tests, and Color Vision tests must be performed as these detect refractive errors, depth perception issues, and color blindness.

Early intervention can improve learning and development, and at this age, visual acuity should be 20/40 or better in each eye with stereopsis and color vision expected to be normal.

School Age (6-12 years)

At this age, the Visual Acuity Test (Snellen chart) and Comprehensive Eye Examination should become an annual event.

Regular vision screening is crucial as children grow and their visual demands increase, identifying and correcting vision problems can enhance academic performance. With visual acuity, it should be 20/20 or better, and a comprehensive exam ensures all aspects of eye health are monitored.

Teenagers (13-18 years)

Visual Acuity Tests, Comprehensive Eye Examinations, and Screening for Eye Health Issues Related to Growth (e.g., myopia progression) are vital as adolescents may experience changes in vision due to growth.

Annual eye exams can detect conditions like myopia (nearsightedness) that often progress during these years. The benchmark for visual acuity should be 20/20 or better. Monitoring for changes in refractive errors and overall eye health is essential.

Adults (19-60 years)

Annual Comprehensive Eye Examination (including visual acuity, refraction, intraocular pressure measurement, and dilated eye exam) becomes vital because, as we grow older, eye conditions like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration become prevalent, and early detection is important.

Visual acuity should be 20/20 or corrected to 20/20. Intraocular pressure should be within the normal range (10-21 mmHg), and the eye should be free from signs of disease.

Seniors (60+ years)

These age groups are mostly at higher risk of having certain eye conditions that can lead to vision loss. Therefore, a Comprehensive Eye Examination is most vital, comprising tests for cataracts, macula degeneration, and glaucoma. Regular exams are equally necessary to manage these conditions when diagnosed.

Conclusion

It is not accurate to claim “I have good vision” if you have never had an eye exam. Often, people with preventable eye conditions only seek care when the problems have progressed significantly, as they miss important milestones for eye checks.

Regular eye examinations specific to different age groups are crucial for preserving eye health and identifying vision issues early. These tests provide essential information that can prevent vision loss and support overall development.

It is important to make an annual visit to your optometrist for an eye examination.

Source: Bellanaija

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