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  • Eye Health Information for Adults Under 40

    Reviewed By J Kevin McKinney, MD
    Published Aug. 02, 2023

    By the time we reach our early 20s, our eyes and vision system are fully developed. Most people find their vision and eye health generally remain stable throughout their mid-20s and 30s. One exception: women, who often find vision can change during pregnancy.

    At this stage of life, it is important to establish good eye health habits for a lifetime of healthy vision. For example, people with diabetes or pre-diabetes need to have regular eye exams to make sure they don’t develop diabetic eye disease. A big part of diabetic eye care is working with your doctors to control weight and blood sugar, as well as blood pressure and cholesterol.

    Preventing Eye Injuries at Home

    Eye injuries are a major source of eye problems for young adults. About three out of four eye injuries happen to men aged 18 to 40. Nearly half of all eye injuries happen in or around the home, most often during improvement projects or sports. The good news is that nearly all eye injuries can be prevented by using protective eyewear. Every household needs to have at least one pair of certified safety glasses on hand.

    Vision Correction Surgery

    Eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions change only slightly or not at all during your 20s and 30s. For that reason, if you are considering having refractive surgery to correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism, this would be a reasonable time to do it, if your ophthalmologist agrees. Like any kind of surgery, refractive procedures like LASIKSMILE and others have both benefits and risks. Talk with your ophthalmologist and research your options carefully before making a decision.

    When to Have Regular Eye Exams

    Adults under 40 years old whose eyes are healthy and vision is good should have a complete exam by an ophthalmologist every five to 10 years. Or remember it this way: have a complete eye exam once in your 20s and twice in your 30s.

    There are some exceptions to this recommendation. If you wear contact lenses, see your eye specialist once a year. If you have diabetes or a family history of eye disease, talk with your ophthalmologist to see how often your eyes should be examined.

    No matter what your age, if you have an eye infection, injury, eye pain or see unusual flashesfloaters or patterns of light in your field of vision, call your ophthalmologist.