The signs that you might need new eyeglasses can often be pretty clear. (Like, your vision is blurry even while wearing your glasses.) But other times, it isn’t as easy to notice when your glasses aren’t cutting it. 

So how do you know when to get new glasses? If your prescription is the problem, the only way to know for sure is to visit an eye doctor. But being able to recognize some of the symptoms will help you know when it’s time to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.

Don’t worry—this handy guide will clue you in on some common signs you need new glasses, as well as give you some reasons you might just want a new pair.

8 Signs You Need a New Glasses Prescription

Infographic showing common signs you need a new glasses prescription

Beyond the more easily noticed vision issues, how do you know when you need new glasses? A range of symptoms, from headaches to light sensitivity, can point to the need for a new prescription. 

Below are eight common signs your eye prescription has changed. But please keep in mind that while these can often be signs of a change in vision, sometimes these symptoms can indicate an underlying eye condition. So if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, seeing an eye doctor should always be your first step. With a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will check your vision for needed changes to your prescription and assess your eye health. 

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1. Your Vision Is Blurry

One of the usual signs of needing a new prescription is blurry vision, especially if you’re experiencing sight issues your glasses used to correct. An updated prescription can fine-tune several new or existing issues that may be causing your blurred vision.

You may be having problems seeing far away, perhaps when reading street signs while driving or deciphering the subtitles on a movie screen (nearsightedness). Or you may struggle to see objects closer to you (farsightedness). Blurry vision can also be a sign of astigmatism which is when your eyes are oval-shaped instead of round. This can distort and blur your eyesight at any distance. 

Another prescription-related cause of blurry vision is presbyopia. This is also known as age-related farsightedness because it happens naturally as we age. Around the age of 40, you might begin struggling to read up close, like when you’re trying to focus on a restaurant menu or make out a text message on your phone. A visit to the eye doctor can help you determine if any of these common vision problems are at play. 

2. You Keep Squinting

Do you frequently squint in order to see more clearly? If you need to squint to put your vision into focus, your glasses probably aren’t working as they should. Most likely, your prescription needs an update. 

Of course, if you squint only when you’re in a bright environment, a good pair of prescription sunglasses might be what you need.

3. You’re Sensitive to Light

Light sensitivity, also known as photophobia, can be a sign of astigmatism. So if your eyes are super-sensitive to light, either indoors or outdoors, an updated prescription could correct the issue. 

As we get older, our eyes can sometimes take longer to transition from dark to light environments and vice versa. To help your eyes transition better, your doctor might suggest light-responsive lenses along with your new glasses prescription. 

4. You Have Tired or Achy Eyes

You know the feeling: Your eyes get so heavy it can be a struggle to keep them open. Sometimes, your eyes can ache or feel sore as well. 

Tired or aching eyes can be a sign of eye strain, which happens when your eyes are working too hard. Fortunately, eye strain is temporary. It usually goes away when you stop the activity causing the strain, like reading in low light

But if you’re experiencing eye strain frequently or for a long time, your eyes might be working harder than usual to compensate for poor vision. A renewed prescription could be all it takes to relieve your overworked eyes. 

Your doctor might also suggest anti-fatigue lenses. These lenses can work well for people apt to get computer vision syndrome (aka digital eye strain)—a type of eye strain that results from prolonged use of digital devices like a mobile phone or computer. 

5. You’re Getting Headaches

Headaches are another possible symptom of eye strain, but they can also be a sign of longer-lasting vision problems. 

The effort of your eyes working hard to help you see can make your head throb. Sometimes you may even have a headache originating behind your eyes, which is doubly fun as your head and eyes can hurt all at once. 

6. You’re Seeing Double

Double vision, also known as diplopia, tends to indicate that the eyes do not align with each other. This may be the result of crossed eyes (strabismus). Or, it can be a more serious issue. 

The treatment for double vision often involves new glasses. Sometimes, glasses to correct double vision are fitted with special prism lenses.

7. You Have Poor Night Vision

Night vision commonly gets worse with age. If you see a halo around lights, particularly when driving at night, you may have astigmatism. Your doctor might suggest new glasses that correct your astigmatism and have an anti-reflective coating.

8. You Haven’t Had Your Eyes Checked in Over a Year

Our expert optometrists suggest getting your eyes checked every one to two years. Why? Your vision can change significantly in that time. Also, a comprehensive eye exam is important to detect eye disorders and diseases and possibly other health problems.

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A new prescription means…

You have a perfectly good reason to shop for new glasses.

Other Reasons To Get New Glasses

Needing to tweak your prescription isn’t the only reason you should get new glasses. If you’re experiencing any of the situations outlined below, getting new glasses can be a good move. 

Your Glasses Are Scratched or Difficult To Clean

If you can never seem to get your glasses truly clean, the lenses may have a series of tiny scratches on them. Or, the lens coating may be damaged and cloud the lens. Scratched lenses can be difficult to see through, and there’s no good way to remove scratches yourself

Replacing your lenses can bring you visual clarity. To avoid damaging the new lenses, be sure you’re cleaning your glasses properly.

The Frames Are Bent

Bent frames can be more than just uncomfortable and wonky looking. They can actually distort your vision if the lenses are sitting in front of your eyes at an incorrect angle. To fix bent frames, you can try to adjust your glasses at home. Better yet, you can bring them to your optometrist to see if they can fix the issue. 

If your glasses are beyond repair, you might just opt to get a new pair and experience the renewed joy of well-fitting glasses!

You’re in a New Career

A new line of work might call for glasses more suited to the job than your current pair. 

For instance, if your new gig involves a lot of physical labor, you might want to get glasses that have a scratch-resistant coating. Or, if you are spending a lot of time at a computer, you could consider computer glasses. Going to be switching between tasks requiring close-up and distance vision? Maybe it’s time to look at progressive lenses.

Your Lenses Could Use an Upgrade 

If your current glasses are on the old side or are lower quality, they might not be taking advantage of the latest lens technologies

Perhaps your glasses lack quality lens coatings. For example, a superhydrophobic coating can help repel moisture to cut down on pesky smudges. And an anti-reflective coating can help cut down on glare. Or, maybe you’re spending a lot more time on digital devices and want to try blue light glasses. Other enhancements like high-index lenses can make lenses thinner and more efficient if the prescription is especially strong.

You Want To Change the Style of Your Glasses

It’s okay to get new glasses for fashion’s sake, especially if your current pair just doesn’t feel like you anymore. Being happy with how you look with your glasses on is a perfectly commendable pursuit.

A different style of glasses can give your look a fresh infusion of whatever vibe you’re looking for. And if you’re not sure what vibe you want, our frames quiz can help you figure it out.

Time for New Glasses?

New glasses can certainly help you see better. But they have additional benefits, too, including comfort, safety, and just plain feeling good while you’re wearing them. 

Do any of the points above apply to you? If so, this is your sign to think about new glasses. Your eye doctor will be happy to help you make your decision.

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