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Why Does an Eyeglass Prescription Expire?

After having your eyes examined, you may notice that there is an expiry date on your new eyeglass prescription. Often, people will question why this expiry date is there. Especially, if the individual feels that they are in good health and have good vision. Most optometrists will usually mark a prescription date as valid for 1-2 years after a full eye health and vision check. There are many reasons and factors that an optometrist will consider before determining a prescription’s expiry date. Our blog article examines some of the reasons which determine when an eyeglass prescription expires. 

An Up To Date Eyeglass Prescription Gives The Best Vision!

Expiry dates on prescriptions are in place to ensure that people are seeing their best! This is especially important when getting new eyeglasses or contact lenses. Even people who feel that their vision hasn’t changed should have regular eye exams. Often it is hard for people to discern small amounts of deterioration and changes in eyesight. A small tweak in prescription may be needed to give the clearest vision and help avoid eyestrain. A routine eye exam by an optometrist can detect these small changes.

Eye Health Checks Are Important

For healthy adults (19-64 years of age) routine eye exams are recommended every two years. Having routine eye health and vision checks help to ensure that your eyes are functioning at their best. Many people are not aware that there are many eye diseases and conditions that have no symptoms. Glaucoma and macular degeneration are two common eye diseases which are asymptomatic in the early stages. If left undetected, these diseases can have lasting damaging effects on vision. Once eyesight is lost, damage caused is often irreversible. Because these diseases progress slowly, people are usually not aware of any problems. Often, the only way to detect such problems and conditions is through detection during a routine eye exam.

An Eye Exam Detects Problems Beyond the Eyes

Along with changes in eye health, your eye doctor can detect other medical problems through an eye exam. This is because many problems that affect other parts of the body manifest symptoms in the eyes. I have personally seen optometrists I work with detected diabetes and brain tumors during a routine eye exam. So the eyes are not only the windows to the soul, but they are the window to your overall body health as well! For patients with other health problems and medical conditions (like diabetes), eye exams are an extremely important part of their overall medical care in helping manage their disease.

Some People Should Have Their Vision And Eye Health Checked Annually

A 1-year expiry date is often recommended for people who have eye health problems. Diabetes, family history, high prescriptions, and contact lens wearers, should all have annual eye exams. A person who has one of the criteria aforementioned needs to be monitored closer. Regular exams are the best way to ensure that vision and eye health are maintained.

Children & Seniors Need Frequent Exams

Another reason that your optometrist may assign a 1-year expiry date to your eyeglass prescription, might be because you are at an age where your eyesight and eye health may be changing more frequently. Eye health and vision tend to change more frequently as a child and as a senior citizen. For children, annual eye exams are important for many reasons. Children are often less likely to notice changes in vision, or they may perceive changes to be “normal”. A child with a vision impairment can have problems at school like learning or behavioral issues. These problems arise because the child can’t see properly. An optometrist is the best person to evaluate if a child needs vision correction.

For senior citizens (65 and older), annual eye exams are very important. Age plays a direct relationship with vision changes and eye health problems. We are more at risk to develop health problems because of the natural aging process of the eyes. Also, it is usually into our later years, that cumulative damage from sun exposure starts to present itself. Because of this, more frequent exams for the elderly are essential in the maintenance of eye health, since the elderly need a lot more care of their health, that’s why sometimes the care of this population is made by institutions as NuevaCare that have homes specialized in this.

Cataracts and macular degeneration are both eye conditions which can result from UV exposure.

Presbyopia

People in their early 40’s to late 50’s, may also experience more frequent changes in vision. Again, this is due to the natural aging of the eyes. It is during this period in life when presbyopia occurs. Presbyopia causes changes in near vision. Resulting in the inability of small print to be comfortably read up close. This loss in ability to focus up close often has a steady progression, getting worse into the mid to late 50’s. This is just another reason to make sure an eyeglass prescription is up to date.

So the next time you go to purchase eyeglasses or contacts love your eyes by making sure you have a new eye exam. Because you deserve the best vision and eye health possible!

Alberta Health Care acknowledges the importance of valid up to date eye prescriptions, as well as routine eye health examinations. Therefore, people of the ages of 0-18 (inclusive) and 65 years and older are covered for eye exams annual by Alberta Health Care!

If you would like to book an eye exam with one of our optometrists, please call (403)255-2826. You can also book an appointment through our website online.

Article Written By Trina Vanaalst, Licensed Optician and Contact Lens Practitioner

2 Comments
  1. Reply
    Afton Jackson

    My wife and I want to make sure that we keep our sons healthy in as many ways as possible. I found it really helpful when you stated that eyeglass prescriptions must be regularly done to assess vision overtime because my sons have been using electronic gadgets a lot more often than they used to and it may sooner or later have an effect on their eyes that they may not notice. I’ll be sure to take note of your article while looking for an eye doctor that we can get regular checkups at. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Trina VanAalst

      Hi Afton, thank you for your comment! We are glad that you found our article helpful.

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