The need for periodic optometric examination has been recognized for many years. Vision and ocular health conditions are not always accompanied by recognizable symptoms.
There is often an increased risk to the patient if treatment is not initiated. Relying on the occurrence of obvious symptoms in order to initiate an eye examination exposes the patient to an unnecessary risk.
Many factors will influence the frequency of optometric examinations and only the examining optometrist, upon the analysis of all factors,
can determine when a particular patient should return for another examination. However, certain guidelines have been established which
can assist the patient in determining the need for examination.
Patients in each age group may be classified as being at low risk or high risk for ocular or vision problems. The minimum frequency of examination for those at low risk is as follows:
PRESCHOOL (birth to 5 years) At age 3 and prior to school entry.
SCHOOL AGE (6 to 19 years) Every one to two years.
ADULT (20 to 64 years) Every two years.
OLDER ADULT (65 to 69 years) Every one to two years.
SENIORS (70 years and older) Annually.
The frequency of examination for those at high risk should be determined by the examining optometrist on the basis of the patient's health, ocular and visual status at the time of examination.
Some of the factors which would indicate high risk are as follows:
Family history of high refractive error or eye disease; turned eyes; or congenital eye disorders. Children failing to progress educationally; children exhibiting reading and/or learning disabilities.
Diabetes; hypertension; family history of glaucoma; those who work in visually demanding or eye hazardous conditions; those taking medication with ocular side effects.
adapted from: "Register of Public Policies 1.13", Canadian Association of Optometrists, Nov. 1992.