How often should you have your eyes tested?
Posted on 28 September 2017
One of the smallest organs in the human body, the eye is also one of the most complex. Proper care is critical in maintaining clear vision and regular testing forms the backbone of this preventative maintenance.
‘All children should have their first eye examination at the age of six months,’ says Johannes van der Meer, a specialist optometrist based in the Western Cape. ‘A further examination should follow at around the age of three years and again just before starting school. Annual checkups are encouraged thereafter.’
While there are many different eye tests pertaining to any number of conditions, Johannes explains that examinations should be age-appropriate.
‘Age is a very important factor when it comes to eye testing,’ he says. ‘This is particularly important where children are concerned. We differentiate between infants, preschool and school-aged children when deciding on appropriate tests,’ he says. ‘For instance, we use pictures to test a child who is not yet able to read. In turn, older children might be able to identify numbers, then progress to letters of the alphabet.’
Regular testing aside, proper eye care extends to a host of practical steps, including safeguarding against various injury types.
‘Always protect your eyes against physical injury,’ says Johannes. ‘Sports like squash warrant the use of protective eyewear. A squash ball is small enough to fit into the orbital rim, which can lead to serious complications. Chemical injuries from school science projects are also commonplace. Then there is the all-important factor of sun. Always wear sunglasses in bright conditions to protect yourself against harmful UV rays.’
‘There are many medications that can have an adverse effect on eyesight,’ he continues. ‘A good example would be Dry Eye Syndrome, which is a very common condition that affects many people as they get older. Antihistamines and antidepressants tend to worsen this condition, so regular eye tests are the order of the day.’