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How Frequently You Should Really Change Your Glasses or Contact Lenses (Plus Signs to Watch)

December 15, 2020 | By Dr. Katherine Harkins

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If you wear glasses or contacts, do you know how frequently you need to replace them? The answer can vary, but it is extremely important to recognize specific signs that can indicate a change in your vision or ocular health and the need to update your eyewear. Waiting too long to replace your prescription can lead to even more unwanted vision and ocular health problems. 

Learn just how frequently you need to replace your glasses or your contact lenses so your eyes remain healthy and your vision is as sharp as possible. 

How frequently should you change your glasses?

When it comes to updating your glasses, there is no hard rule on when is the right time, as it is often dependent on the patient’s symptoms. Factors such as your health, lifestyle, and age can ultimately impact the replacement timeline. 

To get a better understanding of when it’s time to replace your glasses, check out the list of signs below. If you’re experiencing any of these, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your optometrist. 

Signs you may need new glasses: 

  1. Your lifestyle has changed.

    Have you ever thought about how a lifestyle change can affect your eyesight? A new job may have you working in front of a computer for several hours a day. If you move to a new state, you may be enjoying the outdoors with more exposure to direct sunlight. These lifestyle changes not only alter your schedule and routine, they can alter your eyewear needs too.

  2. Your quality of vision isn’t the same.

    This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s important to take note of any vision changes, no matter how small. Are you squinting to read things on your computer? Are you holding books further from your face to read the words? Are you having trouble making out every word on highway signs? Vision changes can be subtle, but can also be harmful to your everyday life if not addressed.

  3. Your current glasses have wear and tear.

    If you have had the same pair of glasses for a prolonged time, they can experience wear and tear. Maybe you’ve dropped them on the ground a few times or your dog used them as a chew toy after you absentmindedly left them on the couch. These accidents can cause scratches and the coating on your lenses to wear over time. Eventually, daily use and life’s little accidents can lead to a pair of glasses that is no longer performing at its best.

  4. Your annual eye exam reveals new vision needs.

    It is interesting how people’s perception of their vision can vary so greatly. Occasionally, patients may be happy with the way they are seeing, but we soon discover they are not even safe to drive with their current vision. Meanwhile, another patient may have the smallest change to their prescription but really struggle with the slight loss in quality of vision.

    Your doctor will want to ensure that you are safe enough to do your tasks of daily living, including driving, and will recommend updating your glasses when you are not able to comfortably or safely do these tasks.

    At 2020 On-site, our optometrists have the added ability to quickly compare your old glasses prescription to your new one to help you determine how significant the prescription change could be. Lens technology is constantly evolving and newer lens designs that can improve your visual experience are continuously being developed. 

Remember that your glasses are an integral part of your appearance, and frame styles change over time. We want to make sure you look, see, and feel your best. Your optometrist and optician are your greatest resources for helping you make the decision on when is the right the time to replace your glasses, for you. 

How frequently should you change your contact lenses? 

Like glasses, your contact lens prescription can change depending on lifestyle and visual and ocular demands. However, because contact lenses sit directly over your eye, there are some other factors to consider.

Your contact lens prescription consists of not only the strength, but also the specific brand or type of contact lens.There are unique profiles and materials used in each type of contact lens brand and each contact lens is approved by the FDA with certain guidelines for use. These guidelines are determined by scientific studies on the safety and efficacy of each lens brand.

When a contact lens is approved for monthly replacement and daily wear, for example, it means that studies have shown that this contact lens is proven to be safe for up to a month’s time and to be worn during waking hours only. For your eyes to remain healthy and comfortable in contacts, it is imperative that you follow the guidelines for your specific lenses prescribed by your doctor. 

Check out some signs it may be time to update your contact lenses below. 

Signs you may need new contact lenses: 

  1. Your lenses cause pain or irritation.

    You should never be in pain when wearing your contact lenses. If your eyes begin to feel irritated or become red, the first step is to remove your contacts and give your doctor a call. There may be an acute problem that needs to be addressed, and going forward, it may mean you need a different brand of contacts that better suits your ocular health and lifestyle.

    Studies show that the risk for an eye infection and other ocular health issues drastically increases if contact lenses are worn beyond their recommended use. Since each contact lens brand is different, the time and wearing schedule can vary greatly. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your concerns with contact lens discomfort.

  2. Your contacts are cloudy.

    Are your contact lenses making your sight worse? That should never be the case! If you notice irregular patches or blurriness when putting your contact lenses in, that is a sign you may need a new brand or prescription.

  3. Your contacts cause dry eyes.

    If you wear your contact lenses for long periods of time, you may notice your eyes begin to feel dry or burn. Talk to your optometrist if this issue persists because there are some special contact lenses that can work better for dry eye. 

When you see your optometrist for your annual contact lens evaluation, your doctor will review your goals for contact lens use, as well as past experience with contacts, to determine what type of lens is right for your needs. Be sure to discuss the wearing schedule that is healthiest for your eyes and appropriate for the contact lenses you are prescribed. Most importantly, follow the recommended wearing schedule to maintain proper ocular health and avoid infection and other contact lens-related issues.

Contact lenses are a covered expense in your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) so you can order replacements or an additional supply when you need them. Visit our online store to purchase your contact lenses now

The solution is clear: get a regular eye exam! 

Regular eye exams are recommended not only to determine visual status but also to monitor ocular health. Even when you feel happy with your quality of vision, be sure to see your optometrist on a regular basis to keep your eyes at their healthiest and seeing their best!

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