Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is it necessary to see an optometrist yearly?"
I'm a guy in my late 30s, and my vision has always been perfect. My wife is pushing me to get checkups more frequently, and I've even heard some people recommend yearly checkups. Isn't that excessive? If you're not having trouble, why bother going that frequently?
When and how often to get seen by generalists and specialties is controversial and depends on your past medical history. Hopefully I will be able to give you the answer you're looking for. Since you mentioned vision, I will address that area first. Although seeing an optometrist yearly is not a bad idea (and may be officially recommended), primary care physicians usually do not push their patients to see one unless there is an issue. Usually we rely on patients reporting they've noticed a change in there vision. So if your vision is perfect, don't rush out and find an optometrist, unless you'd like a piece of mind that your vision is okay. Ophthalmologists are MD's who specialize in eye health. Only patients with diabetes and patients with eye conditions (ie glaucoma) or have had a recent eye surgery should see an ophthalmologist regularly. As far as seeing a generalist, it is recommended that you see a primary care physician at least once a year. This is because we begin screening for conditions such as high blood pressure even as early as your 20s. Plus, someone needs to provide you with yearly physicals and needed shots. There are no other specialists that should be seen yearly unless there is a specific condition or illness you are getting treated. So in summary, if you don't have a primary care physician, go out and get one. At your next visit, ask him or her what other specialists they would recommend you see. Good luck.
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