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How Long is an Eye Exam & Prescription Good For?

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A handwritten sunglasses prescription for near sightedness.

An eyewear prescription can only be effective for so long: our eyes are in a constant state of change, and our vision will gradually become different over time. Different age groups require different frequencies of eye exams, and different patients will require different lengths of prescriptions due to a variety of reasons.

By receiving a comprehensive eye exam at Optique Del Mar, you can stay up to date on your prescription and bolster your protection against vision problems and eye diseases. Contact us to start getting the eye care you deserve.

How Frequently Should You Get an Eye Exam?

Infants & Toddlers

In these early formative years, children learn to see much like they learn to talk or walk. They develop the skills to focus their eyes, move their eyes accurately, and use their eyes in tandem to see during this period of their lives. During their development, infants will learn to properly use visual information that their eyes are receiving to understand the physical world around them.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that your infant or toddler receives their first eye exam at about 6 months of age. During this exam, one of our eye doctors will conduct a multitude of tests focused on visual issues such as:

  • Myopia
  • Hyperopia
  • Astigmatism
  • Eye movement ability
  • Eye alignment
  • The overall health of your child’s eyes

Preschool Children

Preschool-aged children are granted the ability to grow and develop visual skills while using them to learn and observe others in a controlled environment before they attend primary school. By ensuring that children this age have healthy eyes, they can receive a head start on their visual aptitude before they start attending school.

The AOA recommends that your child receive another comprehensive eye exam between the ages of 3 and 5 — this is to protect the development of their vision and to ensure that their eyes remain healthy.

A young female optometrist fits a young boy for a pair of glasses inside the examination room.

School-Aged Children

During their time at school, your child will learn to read, write, use technology, and complete a variety of other duties — all of these tasks can require strong, healthy vision to be successfully completed. Your child’s vision during this period of their life will be an irreplaceable tool in their ability to learn and grow, so it is important to protect their visual health by receiving regular eye exams.

Children ages 6-17 should receive an eye exam every year according to the AOA. This frequency allows your eye doctor to continue closely monitoring your child’s visual development. If your child is experiencing any particular vision issues or diseases, they may need to come in for more frequent examinations upon recommendation from your eye doctor.

Adults & Seniors

Upon recommendation from the AOA, adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should receive an eye exam every year. For adults over age 65, the AOA also recommends that they should receive an eye exam annually due to the fact that they are more susceptible to developing eye conditions related to aging like presbyopia.

At Optique Del Mar, we also recommend booking an eye exam as soon as you start to have any concerns about your vision. If we can see you more often, we can track the development and treatments that you are currently undergoing more accurately and effeciently.

How Long Do Prescriptions Last?

Prescriptions for eyeglass lenses are usually valid for a minimum of one year, unless otherwise stated by state law. Typically, these prescriptions will also be given an expiration of 2 years from the date of your eye exam. The expiration date of your eyeglass prescription might be shorter than 2 years if you are at higher risk of developing vision problems or your eye doctor has noticed your eyes changing more rapidly during your appointments. 

For contact lenses, the prescription you receive after your eye exam typically expires one year from the date it was written. They have this shorter expiration date because the frequency of your eye exams should be every year if you wear contact lenses — this is to help your eye doctor ensure that your contacts are not causing any damage to your eyesight and putting you at risk to develop visual issues.

Why Do Prescriptions Expire?

Eyewear prescriptions expire because our eyes gradually change over time. This causes current prescriptions to become either inaccurate, inadequate, or not functional after a certain amount of time has passed.

In some cases, the same prescription can be received for many years in a row, but it is still important to get our eyes evaluated to see if any changes have occurred. Receiving regularly scheduled eye exams also helps prevent the development of eye conditions and diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Eyewear with out-of-date or inaccurate prescriptions can cause eye strain, headaches, and even serious physical harm due to accidents caused by blurry vision.

Written by DR. KIM ADMIRE

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