How Your Out-Of-Date Glasses Prescription Can Impact Your Vision

light coloured glasses in display box

How long have you been wearing your prescription glasses? If the answer is more than two years, you might want to keep reading! When you last had your eyes examined and a prescription given to you, the optometrist will have fully tested your eyes to look out for any potential vision issues and understand your vision needs. 

Although it might feel easier to simply hang on to your old pair rather than book yourself in for another eye test, the truth is that wearing an out-of-date prescription might be causing you more harm than good.

Do glasses prescriptions expire?

Yes. The expiration date of your prescription will depend on several factors like your age and whether or not you have any eye conditions. 

Why should I keep my glasses prescription up to date?

Prescription glasses are designed to correct or improve vision problems that are sometimes caused by the shape and anatomy of our eyes. As we age, the shape of our eyes and quality of our vision can change. Wearing prescription glasses that were designed for vision you may no longer have won’t help the vision you have now. 

Glasses frames can bend out of shape over time which means they’re no longer properly aligned with your line of vision. The lenses themselves can also become scratched with use and this can affect the clarity of your vision. 

Damaging effects of an expired prescription

Wearing prescription glasses that no longer correct your vision can cause you more eye and health problems. Some of the potential symptoms you might experience by wearing your old glasses are:

Eye strain

If you are wearing the wrong prescription, your eyes must work harder to see correctly through the lens. Eye strain can lead to headaches and blurry vision which will only increase with time and can affect your day-to-day. 

Blurred Vision

Wearing prescription glasses that are no longer correcting your vision might be giving you blurry vision instead. You may not realise your vision is blurred from wearing out-of-date prescription glasses because your eyes often adjust to correct what they see. If your eyes are correcting blurred vision from your glasses, they are actually overcorrecting. 


Wearing an incorrect prescription for too long can affect your depth perception and cause vertigo. Symptoms of vertigo include dizziness, nausea and vomiting. 

Risk of injury

Not seeing clearly puts both your safety and the safety of others at risk. You may not see obstacles in your path which could lead to falls or even car accidents if you can’t see clearly while driving. 

Delayed health diagnosis 

Even if your prescription might not change, skipping your eye exam means missing the chance for your optometrist to detect certain health issues. Certain conditions like diabetes, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease are some of the many problems an eye exam can detect, not to mention eye diseases themselves, like age-related macular degeneration.

Worsen your condition

If you have short sightedness (myopia) and you are wearing expired prescription glasses, you could be worsening your condition. Lenses for myopia redirect peripheral light onto the retina. If your glasses aren’t doing that, your myopia can worsen. 

Children who wear the wrong prescription can accelerate the progression of any refractive errors they might have, including short sightedness, long sightedness and astigmatism. 

How to know if your prescription is wrong

If you have noticed blurry vision, eye strain, difficulty in refocusing your eyes, frequent squinting, or reduced clarity in your eyesight, it might mean your prescription is wrong. Equally, if you last had an eye exam over two years ago, your prescription is likely to be out of date. 

How long is an optician’s prescription valid?

Many specialists recommend an eye exam every two years, but the exact expiration date of your prescription will be included in the document you received at the time of the exam. Contact lenses usually expire after one year. 

Can I get glasses with an expired prescription? 

Wearing glasses with an expired prescription is not recommended. Even if you think your vision hasn’t changed since you were given that prescription, there could be other health issues to look out for. It may be that your prescription hasn’t changed, but a full 3D OCT eye exam will determine that for sure and detect any signs of other conditions. The comprehensive eye exam will assess various elements of your vision, including your eyes themselves. 

Getting the right prescription also means choosing the right frames. If your glasses don’t fit correctly on your head, it could make your prescription useless. An optician will help determine the measurements of your head, your eyes, and your ears to ensure your frames sit comfortably on your cheeks and above your ears without pinching or weighing down. You may even find that the frames you chose for your last prescription glasses are no longer your style. Our frames come in a whole range of styles for you to choose from. Oversized or aviator – the choice is yours. 

Wearing the right glasses or contact lenses is paramount to correcting your vision and helping you see the way you’re supposed to. Keeping on top of your eye exams can ensure you’re consistently wearing the right prescription and detect any eye conditions or health problems in good time. By visiting your local independent opticians, you’re caring for your eyes and preventing future vision problems. 

If you’re concerned your prescription might be out of date, or you’re experiencing any of the symptoms related to an expired prescription, book in for an eye exam today. Let’s keep your eyes seeing clearly. 

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