Adults Eye Care

Don’t get complacent about your vision and eye health in your adult years.

How often should adults get their eyes examined?

In our adult years, our eyes continue to change, which is why an annual eye exam is important. Many common eye diseases have no early signs or symptoms, so annual eye exams are the only way to ensure your eyes are healthy.

Alberta Health coverage for adults 19 to 64

Alberta Health Care does not cover eye exams for adults 19 to 64, however many Albertans have insurance coverage through their employer or their own medical plan. Inquire at your optometrist’s office regarding the cost of the eye exam, and also about direct billing to your insurance company. Alberta Health Care does cover medically necessary services.

Don’t let eye issues linger. Early detection is crucial.

Early detection is always important in treating eye disease and health issues. Your eyes are the windows to your overall health, and an eye exam can also uncover underlying, and sometimes life-threatening, health issues.

What happens during your eye exam

It’s not just about whether you need glasses or a prescription change. During your eye exam, your optometrist will examine the tissues and structures inside the eye, looking for eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration, as well as tears in the retina, bleeding and tumours.

They will also look for early signs of serious medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease during an exam.

Based on the results, your optometrist will advise you about corrective lens options most suited to your personal needs, the treatment options, or will refer you to a specialist if further evaluation or treatment is required.

The most common eye problems among adults

Presbyopia is a natural effect of aging, usually occurring after the age of 40, in which the ability to focus on close objects decreases over time. It can cause headaches, blurred vision, tired eyes and the need for more light. This can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

Cataracts exist when the normally clear lens within your eye becomes cloudy and opaque. Cataracts are a function of aging and are most often found in people over the age of 60, although they are occasionally found in younger people, including newborns.

Diabetes and its complications can affect many parts of the eye, and can cause changes in vision. Detection during an eye exam is often the first indication that a person may have the disease, or that a person with diabetes does not have adequate blood sugar control. The most serious eye problem associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.

Macular degeneration affects the macula¬–the central most part of the retina. It causes the centre of your vision to blur or distort while the side or peripheral vision remains unaffected. It is generally related to the aging process, and is the leading cause of blindness in North American adults over the age of 55. While there is no cure, early detection and prevention measures can delay or reduce vision loss.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada. It is a progressive disease that most frequently occurs in individuals over the age of 40, with the risk of the disease increasing with age. There is a greater risk of developing glaucoma for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, a history of eye injuries or a family history of glaucoma.

Your Alberta optometrist is a skilled professional

  • Alberta optometrists have specialized education. They complete a Bachelor of Science degree, followed by a four-year Doctor of Optometry degree from an accredited university.
  • Alberta optometrists are experts who play an important role in the vision, eye health, and overall health of your family.

Alberta optometrists are trained to:

  • Treat, manage and correct disorders and diseases of the visual system, the eye and its associated structures.
  • Recognize and detect related systemic conditions and manage ocular manifestations.
  • Diagnose, treat and manage binocular and perceptual vision disorders.
  • Prescribe any topical or oral Schedule 1 drug in the context of eye care.
  • Remove superficial foreign bodies from the eye in or below the surface of the cornea.
  • Plus, the independent management of glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
  • Alberta optometrists provide primary eye care.

Find an Optometrist

Adults Eye Care: Additional resources

Further reading

Alberta Association of Optometrists Eye Health Library
Delicious recipes to help keep your eyes healthy