At a complete eye exam, called a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor widens the pupil of the eye with eye drops to allow a closer look at the inside of the eye. This exam may not be part of an eye exam for a new pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Be sure to ask your eye doctor for a dilated eye exam.

Prevent Blindness recommends that everyone receive a comprehensive eye exam through dilated pupils regularly as recommended by your eye doctor.

In general, the recommended frequency of comprehensive eye examinations for people without symptoms or special risk factors is:

20-39 Years Old

If you are 20-39 years of age and African-American, you should get a complete eye exam every 2-4 years

If you are 20-39 years of age and Caucasion, you should get a complete eye exam every 3-5 years

40-64 Years Old

If you are 40-64 years of age and African-American, you should get a complete eye exam every 2-4 years

If you are 40-64 years of age and Caucasion, you should get a complete eye exam every 2-4 years.

65 Years Old or Older

You should get a complete eye exam every 1-2 years.

People with Special Risks

People with special risks, such as diabetes, a previous eye trauma, surgery or a family history of glaucoma, may need an eye exam more frequently.

People with symptoms of eye trouble should see an eye doctor right away.