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Eye Care for Adults over 40

Adults-over-40-eyecareIf you or a family member would like to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled eye physicians, please take a moment to call (360) 733-4800.

Northwest Eye Clinic provides routine and preventative eye care in Bellingham and Whatcom County, as well as treatment of many eye diseases from simple to complex. Baseline disease screening is recommended for adults over 40. The physicians at Northwest Eye Clinic are recognized for providing skilled surgical and medical disease management services using the newest technology to better track and manage eye disease. EyeCare America has issued the following guidelines for adult eye exams for individuals over 40:

Age 40 to 64

As of July 2007, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has issued a new eye disease screening recommendation for aging adults.

The Academy now recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40, the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. Based on the results of the initial screening, an ophthalmologist will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams.

For individuals of any age with symptoms of, or who are at-risk for, eye disease – including those with a family history of eye disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure – the AAO recommends that they see their ophthalmologist to determine how frequently their eyes should be examined.

The new recommendation does not replace regular visits to the ophthalmologist to treat ongoing disease or injuries, or for vision examinations for eye glasses or contact lenses. Much like mammograms at 40 or colon screenings at 50, this new eye disease screening recommendation is a reminder to adults as they age that they need to maintain their eye health.

Why the new recommendation?

A baseline evaluation is important because it may detect eye diseases common in adults over age 40, as many eye conditions become more prevalent as we grow older. An early evaluation is important for early disease detection and preservation of vision.

A thorough ophthalmologic evaluation can uncover common abnormalities of the visual system and related structures, as well as less common but extremely serious ones, such as ocular tumors. This evaluation can also uncover evidence of many forms of systemic diseases that affect the eyes, like hypertension and diabetes. With appropriate intervention, potentially blinding diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy often have a favorable outcome. Several common eye diseases, such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, can affect people age 40 and older who may not notice symptoms until the disease is relatively advanced.

Age 65 and Over

Seniors age 65 and over should have complete eye exams by their Eye M.D. every one to two years to check for cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and other eye conditions that can lead to vision loss.

Eye Care for Young Adults Under 40

Under-40-eyecareIf you or a family member would like to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled eye physicians, please take a moment to call (360) 733-4800.

Northwest Eye Clinic provides routine and medical eye care services for young adults in Bellingham and Whatcom County, ranging from comprehensive eye exams for healthy adults to medical and surgical management of eye diseases.

EyeCare America has issued the following guidelines for adult eye exams:

Age 20 to 39

Most young adults have healthy eyes but still need to take care of their vision by wearing protective eyewear when playing sports, doing yardwork, working with chemicals, or taking part in other activities that could cause an eye injury.

If you are between the ages of 20 and 29, you should have a complete eye exam at least once. If you are between the ages of 30 and 39, you should have an eye exam at least twice.

Also, be aware of symptoms that could indicate a problem. See an Eye M.D. if you experience any of the following eye conditions:

  • Visual changes or pain
  • Flashes of light
  • Seeing spots or ghost-like images
  • Lines that appear distorted or wavy
  • Dry eyes with itching and burning


Recommended Intervals for Regular Eye Exams

If you have any of these risk factors below, you may need to see your Eye M.D. more often than recommended above:

  • Family history of eye problems (glaucoma and macular degeneration)
  • African American over age 40
  • Diabetes
  • History of eye injury

Eye Care for Children

Children-eyecareIf you or a family member would like to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled eye physicians, please take a moment to call (360) 733-4800.

In addition to providing many eyecare services for adults, Northwest Eye Clinic also provides eye care for children in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Our services include your child’s first complete eye exam, prescribing glasses and contact lenses, and treating other common childhood eye diseases.

Most children are born with healthy eyes. There are, however, serious eye diseases and congenital defects that may threaten your child’s vision. Some problems may be identified and possibly treated within the first few days of your child’s life. Other eye problems, without early identification and appropriate treatment, may cause a child to suffer from permanent vision loss. Every child, even those without noticeable eye problems, should have their first eye exam or vision screening from an ophthalmologist before his or her fifth birthday.

A very young child might not be able to tell you if he or she has an eye problem, but parents are usually the first to recognize the signs of eye disease in their children. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has resources for parents who have concerns regarding their child’s vision. If you would like more information regarding what signs may indicate a problem with your child’s eyes, follow the link below. If you are concerned that your child may have a vision problem (including thick glasses worn at an early age), or if eye diseases run in your family, then your child should be examined early by an ophthalmologist.

EyeCare America has issued the following guidelines for children’s eye exams:

Before Age 3

Since it is possible for your child to have a serious vision problem without being aware of it, your child should have his or her eyes screened during his or her regular pediatric well child appointments. Vision screening is recommended for all children starting at approximately 3 years of age.

Speak to your Eye M.D. promptly about when and how often your child’s eyes should be examined if there is a family history of vision problems or if your child appears to have any of the following conditions:

  • Strabismus (crossed eyes)
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid)

Age 3 to 19

To ensure that your child or teenager’s eyes remain healthy, he or she should have his or her eyes screened every one to two years during regular pediatric or family physician check-up appointments. If your child fails this vision screening, he or she should be referred to your Eye M.D. promptly for a complete eye exam. If your child already wears glasses or contacts, they should have a yearly eye exam with their Eye M.D.

Contact Information

P: 360-733-4800
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F: 360-733-2879


Northwest Eye Clinic
3015 Squalicum Parkway
Suite 260
Bellingham, WA 98225