How often do I need to have an eye exam?

Knowing when to visit an eye doctor to get your eyes checked is important. Not only is this information valuable, but it could also save you from potentially developing advanced eye conditions that might not have symptoms at early stages. Only your optometrist can determine how frequently you should be seen for eye examinations.

However, the Canadian association of optometrists recommends the following as the minimum frequency for routine eye examinations: Infants and toddlers should undergo their first eye examination between the ages of 6 and 9 months. Preschool Children 2 to 5 years of age should undergo at least one eye examination in this period. School children aged 6 to 19 years should undergo an eye examination annually. Adults aged 20 to 39 years should undergo an eye examination every 2 to 3 years; Adults aged 40 to 64 years should undergo an eye examination every 2 years; Adults aged 65 years or older should undergo an eye examination annually.

The risk of developing ocular disease is higher at 65 years of age and older. Our doctors at 360 Eyecare in Toronto strongly advocate for following the recommended frequency of visits by your optometrist. These exams will detect early signs of many age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.


A complete eye exam will typically take anywhere between 20 to 45 minutes depending on each case. 

The exam will check the following:

Visual Acuity

This test checks on how well your eyes can see. It involves reading a standardized eye chart that determines how well you see letters at various distances.

Glasses prescription

Through a series of subjective and objective tests, the optometrist will determine your final glasses prescription. If a contact lens fit is also performed then a contact lens prescription will also be issued at the time of your visit.

Peripheral vision assessment (side vision test)

One of the most common diseases that impairs peripheral vision is glaucoma. The reason why many patients do not detect any early signs of loss is because glaucoma at an early stage is typically asymptomatic. These tests can also detect other eye complications that you might not be aware of such as neurological disorders.

The anterior segment of your eye

Examination of this part of the eye is necessary to detect if you are developing cataracts in your crystalline lens.  Other parts of the eye tested through the slit lamp examination are the cornea, conjunctiva, iris, lids and adnexa.

The Retina and Optic Nerve (the posterior segment of the eye)

This test is typically conducted by administering eye drops into your eyes. The drops cause your eyes to dilate. Dilation will allow for the examination of the retina, optic nerve and surrounding structures and this testing helps detect conditions such as macular degeneration, nerve damage and retinopathy.

Other common tests performed at your eye exam:

Your eye exam visit to the optometrist will also include eye pressure test, cover test, pupillary test, color vision test, stereo test and other specialty tests your optometrist might need to do depending on each case.