Eye Exam Basics:
Important Eye Exam Milestones
When it comes to eye care, early detection is the name of the game—and that extends to all ages. For children aged 3 or younger, examining their eyes early helps avoid the most common childhood eye complications, such as:
- Lazy Eye
- Misaligned Eyes
Additionally, having their eyes examined again before their first year of kindergarten ensures that poor vision won’t get in the way of their education.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a complete eye exam once you turn 40 because eye diseases usually develop around that time. Once you hit 60, have your eyes checked every year or two, or more frequently if you:
- Wear glasses or contacts
- Have a chronic disease that increases your eye disease risk level (such as diabetes)
- Have a family history of eye disease or vision loss
Beyond the critical milestones above, we recommend adding eye checkups to your regular health routine by visiting an eye clinic yearly.
How Are Eye Specialists Different From One Another?
There are three kinds of eye specialists, and they all start with the letter ‘O’.
This is the most common eye doctor you’ll see. They give complete eye exams, test your vision, write prescriptions, and can diagnose and treat common eye disorders and diseases.
This is a medical eye doctor. They do all the same things an optometrist does, except they’re qualified to tackle more complex eye diseases and can perform eye surgery.
This optical specialist handles the procurement, assembly, fitting, and sale of eyeglasses. Occasionally they’ll sell contact lenses as well. They are not medically trained eye doctors and do not provide evaluations.
What Happens During An Eye Appointment?
Eye exams include various tests depending on your reason for scheduling. However, the process is relatively consistent if your main goal is a simple prescription update.
This type of same-day eye exam usually starts with a routine health evaluation focusing on each eye, checking their:
- Blood Vessels
- Dilation Response
- Synchronization With The Other Eye
Next, there’s the classic visual acuity test:
- The well-known vision test (a Snellen Test) has big lettering near the top and small lettering near the bottom.
If all goes well, your provider will quickly review the results with you, and you’ll leave the appointment in no time with a new prescription in hand.
Eye Exams Available Next Door
We’re partnered* with talented, professional eye doctors—setting them up next door so you can have a hassle-free, all-in-one-place experience every time you visit. They’re happy to take walk-ins and, in most cases, can see you immediately!
See below to find an eye doctor near you.
*Eye exams are available by an Independent Doctor of Optometry at or next to our stores in most states. Doctors in some states are employed by Eyemart Express LLC.
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Optometrists are considered primary care providers and family doctors, so you don’t need a referral to see one. On the other hand, ophthalmologists generally require a referral since they’re more specialized and can perform eye surgery.
Eye exams are comprehensive and require a licensed eye doctor (optometrist or ophthalmologist) to perform. The eye doctor diagnoses eye-related health issues and prescribes treatment. Their expertise is necessary for a cohesive eye health diagnosis.
An eye test involves automated equipment and can therefore be performed by almost anyone, assistants or otherwise. The automated equipment detects abnormalities without diagnosing them or understanding the big picture.
*The information provided above has been provided by a licensed optometrist, is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be used to diagnose any specific eye or vision condition.