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How Long Is a Contact Prescription Good For?

A patient and optometrist talk about contact lenses in the eye clinic.

When you receive a new contact lens prescription, you may wonder how long it’s valid. This is an important question to ask! 

In most cases, a contact lens prescription is valid for one year from the date it was issued. This duration can vary based on local regulations and the discretion of your eye doctor, who may recommend a shorter validity period if they feel more frequent check-ups are necessary for your eye health. 

Some other factors can cause your contact lens prescription to expire sooner than one year, including changes in your vision or eye health and lifestyle factors such as pregnancy or certain medical conditions. In these cases, scheduling an appointment with your eye doctor for a new prescription and ensuring the best fit for your lenses is essential.

How to Understand Your Prescription Expiration Dates

Your contact lens prescription, whether for corrective or cosmetic purposes, has an expiration date, just like any medication. This date ensures the lenses remain safe and effective for your eyes.

Here’s why expiration dates matter:

  • Vision changes: Our eyes and vision needs can shift over time. An expired prescription might not correct your vision as accurately, leading to blurry vision or discomfort.
  • Lens fit: Just like vision, the fit of your lenses can also change. An outdated prescription may not fit as snugly or comfortably as it used to.

Sticking to the expiration date helps keep your eyes healthy and comfortable, even if you haven’t used all your lenses. 

Factors That Can Affect Prescription Expiration Dates

The expiration date on your contact lens prescription is based on various factors, including: 

  • The type of contact lenses (daily, weekly, monthly): Daily disposable lenses have a shorter expiration date than monthly or extended-wear lenses.  
  • Your eye health and vision prescription: Changes in your overall eye health or vision may require an updated prescription. 
  • The specific brand and type of contact lenses: Different brands and types of lenses may have different recommended replacement schedules, affecting the expiration date on your prescription. 

What Happens If You Wear Expired Contact Lenses?

Wearing expired contact lenses puts you at risk for various eye problems, including: 

  • Eye infections: Bacteria and other microorganisms can build up on the lenses over time, increasing your risk of developing an eye infection. 
  • Dry eyes: As contact lenses get older, they may become less breathable and cause dryness and irritation to your eyes
  • Reduced visual acuity: Expired contact lenses may not provide the same level of vision correction as a fresh pair, leading to blurry or distorted vision. 

It’s important to follow the expiration date on your contact lens prescription and replace them accordingly to avoid these potential risks. 

How  to Renew Your Contact Lens Prescription

You will need a comprehensive eye exam to renew your contact lens prescription. You should have an eye exam at least once a year if you wear contacts to help maintain good eye health and find the best fit for your contact lenses.

During this exam, your eye doctor will check the health of your eyes and determine if any changes have occurred that can affect your contact lens prescription. They will also evaluate the fit and comfort of your current lenses and make any necessary adjustments. 

It is important to follow through with regular eye exams, even if you are not experiencing any issues with your vision. Many eye conditions, such as glaucoma or cataracts, can develop without showing noticeable symptoms until they have progressed significantly. Regular check-ups can help detect and prevent these conditions from causing permanent damage to your eyesight. 

A young man looking into a mirror while he uses his left hand to put a contact lens in his left eye

Expert Contact Lens Services at Eyes on Plainville

Contact lenses have come a long way in comfort and convenience, making them popular for vision correction. However, it is vital to use them responsibly by following the recommended replacement schedule and renewing your prescription regularly. 

At Eyes on Plainville, we offer comprehensive eye care services, including contact lens fittings and prescription renewals. Our experienced optometrists can help you find the right contact lenses for your eyes and provide guidance on proper usage and maintenance. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take a step towards maintaining healthy vision with contact lenses. 

Dr. Sabrina Gaan

Written by Dr. Sabrina Gaan

Dr. Sabrina Gaan is the owner of Eyes on Plainville in Plainville, Massachusetts. She has a particular interest in myopia control and dry eye.

She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biology from San Jose State University while earning her license as a dispensing optician. She decided to move to MA after her VA rotation in Jamaica Plain.

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