Ask Ken: 7 Signs You Should Visit Your Optometrist

February Ask Ken

The other day I was talking with my co-worker Louise about going to the optometrist. She asked me if it was difficult getting my eyes tested for X-ray vision, and I told her I’ve never been tested for that before (it’s strange, people ask me that all the time!). After I proved to her that I didn’t have telescopic or microscopic vision, I asked her when the last time she visited the optometrist was. She told me it had been a few years, but that she didn’t know how often she should see an eye doctor.

I told her I would shed a little light on the subject. Here’s what the vision pros recommend: 

If you are a generally healthy person (age 18 to 60), you’ll need to visit the eye doctor once every two years. Once you reach 61, doctors recommend that you visit your optometrist annually. Some adults have “at risk” health factors, like a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, which means they should have more frequent eye exams. If you do have some of these “at risk” factors, be sure to consult with your optometrist to determine a regular eye exam schedule.

But wait, there’s more! If you are experiencing any of the following eye-related problems, you may need to visit your optometrist ASAP.

  • Frequent headaches
  • Farsightedness (blurred vision)
  • Nearsightedness (struggle to see things up close)
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Constantly squinting
  • You see halos when you are around light

These are signs that you may need corrective lenses, like glasses. Now don’t worry, if you do need glasses, you’re in good company. Yours truly also wears them, so you know that glasses are hip.

And just in case you are feeling nervous because you’ve never had an eye exam, here’s an overview of what will happen during your appointment:

  • Your eye doctor will ask you questions about your general health and if your family has had any history of eye diseases.
  • He or she will test your close and distance vision (the familiar read-the-small-letters-on-the-wall-type tests).
  • Your doctor will test the pressure in your eyes with a puff of air (this is called tonometry), which will detect glaucoma.
  • Your optometrist could perform other eye exams, which may include dilation, or little drops of liquid that will make your pupils open wide so the doctor can see inside of your eye. Dilation will make your eyes sensitive to light for a few hours, so you’ll need to wear sunglasses, which will also make you look really cool. Your doctor will give you more details.

I’m not a bird … I’m not a plane … I’m just Ken. I may not be a superhero (though I’m always mistaken for one), but I am your friendly, neighborhood vision-advice expert. Visit for more information about why your healthy vision is important.