Glasses prescriptions typically expire one to two years after the prescription was written. This time frame generally depends on two things:
- Your state’s required minimum expiration date: Most states have their own laws regulating when a glasses prescription will expire.
- The risk of your vision changing more quickly: Your doctor might write a prescription with a sooner expiration date than what is required by state law. For example, if the prescription is for a child with myopia (nearsightedness) that is getting worse each year, the prescription might expire after a year rather than after two years.
In this article, we’ll discuss more about the expiration date of glasses prescriptions, including why they expire and what to do if your prescription is out-of-date.
Why Do Eyeglass Prescriptions Expire?
Prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses expire to help ensure that you’re seeing as clearly as possible and that your eye health is at its most optimal.
Many eye conditions, like glaucoma, can occur with few or no symptoms. By getting a comprehensive eye exam when your prescription expires (or sooner if it expires after more than a year), you’re not only checking your vision but your overall eye health, too.
Wearing an expired glasses prescription can mean your eyesight isn’t at its best. This can be uncomfortable for you, and it can be dangerous, too.
Glasses that don’t contain a current prescription can cause issues such as eye strain, blurry vision, double vision, headaches, eye pain, and even nausea. These issues make it difficult to do everyday things like watching movies, recognizing someone, or doing your work.
However, in case you were wondering, wearing the wrong glasses prescription (or even the right prescription) cannot make your eyes worse.
So, why are glasses prescriptions only valid for a year or two?
It’s natural for your vision to change as time passes. So prescription changes are natural, too. Needing a stronger prescription each year or every few years—such as for refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism—isn’t unusual. It’s also common in middle age to need a new glasses prescription for reading glasses, progressives, or bifocals to address presbyopia.
Where To Find Your Glasses Prescription Expiration Date
According to the Eyeglass Rule enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), your eye doctor is required to give you a copy of your glasses prescription—at no extra charge—right after completing your eye exam.
When you read the prescription, you should see an expiration date. If you can’t find your prescription, contact your eye doctor for a copy.
Can I Get Glasses With an Expired Prescription?
No. The expiration date of your glasses prescription is the last day you can get corrective lenses using that prescription. If your glasses prescription is no longer valid, you’ll need a shiny new prescription to get new glasses or replacement lenses.