Eye Examinations for Adults

Topic Overview

Use the guidelines below to schedule routine vision checks and eye examinations with an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

For adults without vision problems:

  • Some experts do not recommend routine screening.
  • Starting at age 40, when presbyopia often develops, screening every 2 to 5 years may be appropriate.
  • Starting at age 50, some experts recommend yearly examinations for glaucoma and other age-related vision problems. Other experts recommend starting regular glaucoma screening at age 65.
  • For people with diabetes, experts recommend a yearly eye examination. If you have type 2 diabetes and your eye examination results are normal or you have a very small amount of retinopathy, your doctor may consider follow-up examinations every 1 to 2 years.footnote 1
  • For people with a disease that affects the eyes, yearly eye examinations may be appropriate.

For adults with refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism) or other eye problems:

  • At ages 19 to 40, have an eye examination every 2 years, or more often if needed.
  • At around age 40, or when signs of presbyopia develop, schedule an appointment.
  • At age 50 and older, have yearly eye examinations, or more often if needed.

For more information, see the topics Nearsightedness (Myopia), Farsightedness (Hyperopia), Strabismus (Cross-Eyes), Amblyopia (Lazy Eye), and Glaucoma.



  1. Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee, et al. (2018). Retinopathy. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 42(Suppl 1): S210–S216. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2017.10.027. Accessed October 15, 2018.


Current as of: August 31, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Christopher J. Rudnisky MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

Thanks to our partners and endorsers: