The effects of wearing the wrong glasses
Is it that bad? set the record straight on all the habits and behaviors you’ve heard about that might be unhealthy.
Your trusty old glasses are still going strong. The problem is that you’ve had them for a long time and haven’t seen your eye doctor in a while. You’re not even really sure you’re wearing the right Rx anymore. But, they are fine in a pinch, right?
Look, you and a bunch of other people are doing this right now. Completely understandable that it’s just easier to jump on an old pair.
“It’s very common for people to wear glasses or contacts with an expired prescription,” Carol Alexander, OD, Doctor of Optometry and Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, told LIVESTRONG.com.
Why? Most of the time it has to do with delaying or skipping your eye exam.
How often should you update your glasses prescription?
There are many reasons for an eye exam, including examining your eye health, but this visit will also check your current prescription. The American Optometric Association recommends having this exam every two years for people between the ages of 18 and 64, and then every year after age 65 (it is common to have eye problems as you age).
If you are at risk (for example, if you have high refractive error or certain health conditions), you will need to make this an annual appointment.
Unfortunately, only half of American adults at high risk for vision loss have had an eye exam in the past year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
3 effects of wearing the wrong glasses
1. You could be delaying a health diagnosis
Think you know if you need a new Rx? Well, it’s not always obvious, especially to the untrained eye. (Yours.) Sometimes, between visits, your vision won’t change much at all. It’s also possible that it changes slowly but you don’t notice it, says Dr. Alexander.
“In this case, wearing the expired prescription may delay the diagnosis or detection of eye or health problems,” she adds.
Diabetes, certain cancers, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and heart disease are among the many conditions your eye exam can detect, notes the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Plus, you may be missing out on the eye diseases themselves — many, like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of vision loss, can progress slowly, notes the National Eye Institute. .
The eyes also have a way of compensating, so you don’t know if you have a problem until it’s advanced and there’s irreversible vision loss.
Beyond the greater health risks, your vision may suffer from an old Rx. Wearing an expired eyeglass prescription can cause the following, says Dr. Alexander:
In addition to being uncomfortable, all of these can affect your performance at work.
3. You may put yourself at risk of injury
At worst, not seeing clearly can make you more susceptible to injury, from falls if you trip over something to a car accident, says Dr. Alexander.
How to know if your glasses prescription is wrong
Signs that your Rx is out of date include the following, says Dr. Alexander:
- Blurry vision
- Focus problems
- Reduced clarity or sharpness in your sight
Try covering one eye with your hand. Is the other blurry? This is due to eye strain.
What to do about an expired prescription
The good news is that updating your prescription can reverse eye strain, Dr. Alexander says, improving your vision clarity, improving your everyday comfort and allowing you to get back on top of your game at work.
Another option is to ditch glasses altogether, if possible. You can opt for vision correction surgery, such as LASIK, or opt for contact lenses.
If you typically struggle to keep up with visits to your optician, your optician may be the answer: “Contact lens prescriptions typically expire after one year to encourage regular eye care and annual eye exams “, says Dr. Alexander – and, as head of North American eye care professional relations at Johnson & Johnson Vision, she knows a thing or two about contacts.
Just resist keeping those old glasses and putting them back on. Maybe opt for an updated backup pair of goggles, just in case.
So how bad is it really to wear glasses with an old prescription?
Although it won’t harm your eyes, it can lead to eye strain that leads to headaches, dry eyes and trouble concentrating, which can make your day difficult.
It is best to schedule an eye exam every one or two years and keep this appointment. The future looks bright.