Eyewear prescriptions change as your eyes change, especially during growth. By 18, most people experience stabilized vision, but gradual deterioration may still occur over time. Prescription expiry dates are implemented to monitor these slow changes accurately.
How Long Do Glasses Prescriptions Last?
Eyeglass prescriptions typically remain valid for a maximum of two years unless there is faster-than-normal deterioration in your eyesight which would reduce expiration dates to one year instead. For contact lenses specifically though all prescriptions expire after one year.
The Evolution of Eyewear and Prescription Laws
Over the past few decades, eyewear has evolved significantly with numerous brands offering stylish options. In the past, glasses were only available at eye doctor's offices and lacked variety or fashion appeal. Back then, prescriptions lasted up to five years.
However, government regulations have reduced this validity period to provide more accurate prescriptions through shorter intervals between exams. These laws now require eye doctors to provide patients with their prescriptions after each examination while prohibiting opticians from providing eyewear based on an expired prescription.
Why Do Prescriptions Have Expiry Dates?
Prescriptions ensure optimal vision for different stages of life as our eyes undergo natural changes over time. Maintaining good eyesight is crucial for daily activities and ill-fitting eyewear can lead to unwanted side effects.
Consequences of Using Outdated Eyewear
Using an expired prescription may not immediately affect your vision but could result in several noticeable side effects, such as eye fatigue, double vision, squinting, light sensitivity, headaches, nausea, eyestrain, or blurred vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should update your prescription promptly and consider seeking an eye exam due to possible underlying conditions.
Can You Obtain New Eyewear with an Expired Prescription?
Unfortunately, no; laws prohibit filling an expired prescription. It's important to adhere to these regulations as new eyewear is only provided after a valid and up-to-date prescription is obtained.
Importance of Regular Eye Exams
Even if your vision seems stable, it's crucial to have regular checkups for minor changes and overall eye health. During an eye exam, optometrists not only measure your prescription but also assess the health of your eyes through various tests. Some eye conditions may not initially affect vision but can be detected early on with routine examinations.
We strongly recommend annual eye exams for children and at least biennial exams for adults to maintain optimal eye health.