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How Long Do Eye Prescriptions Last

by Dan Hughes
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How Long Do Eye Prescriptions Last

How Long Do Eye Prescriptions Last

Your eyesight is a precious commodity and it’s important to keep an eye on the status of your eyeglasses’ prescription so that you can protect it from damage or deterioration. Your optometrist should check with you about how often you need a new pair of glasses, as well as what type of lenses you prefer. He or she will also give you a recommended follow-up schedule for regular exams and cleanings. Typically, these visits occur every six months; however, this can vary according to age, health and lifestyle factors.
At each visit during those six months, your optometrist will perform certain tests to determine whether you still need your current glasses. Some patients will require additional testing depending on their medical conditions and lifestyles. For example, some people may have to wear sunglasses when driving due to poor night vision, while others may need reading glasses because they spend too much time looking down at screens. The types of testing performed by your optometrist will depend on his or her expertise as well as your needs.
What happens during your routine eye exam? First, you’ll receive a thorough evaluation that includes a visual acuity test (VA) — where you’re asked to read words at various distances, such as 20 feet (6 meters), 40 feet (12 meters) and 80 feet (24 meters). Your VA measurement is averaged out over both eyes. If there is significant variation between them, then your optometrist will likely prescribe corrective lenses to improve your vision. In addition, he or she will measure your refractive error, which refers to the degree in which your lens focuses light onto the retina. This is usually measured using a retinoscope, phoropter or autorefractor. You’ll probably get a trial frame fitted before you leave to make sure it fits properly.
Next, your optometrist will examine your eyelids, lashes and conjunctiva (the mucous membrane that lines the white part of your eyeball). He or she will look at your cornea, iris, pupil, optic nerve and eyelashes, as well as any other structures that could affect your vision. An ophthalmoscopic exam can help detect diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy by taking photographs of your retina. During the examination, your optometrist may use a bright flashlight to illuminate your eyes, even though many doctors now use non-contact 3D imaging technology instead. Finally, your optometrist will wash your hands thoroughly, then put on disposable gloves to prevent exposure to any possible germs or bacteria.
After all that, don’t think you’ve seen everything just yet! Most optometrists offer more services for those who are extra vigilant about maintaining good vision. They can screen for common problems like astigmatism, hyperopia (nearsightedness) and presbyopia (loss of ability to see faraway objects). They also provide contact lens fittings and intraocular pressure checks.
The average person needs to wear glasses for 15 years, but some people need them earlier, especially if they suffer from certain eye diseases or have undergone surgery. It’s important to know how long your prescription lasts. How long do eye prescriptions last? Keep reading to find out.
Eye Changes After Age 50
As you age, your eyesight tends to become worse. While most people experience a slight decline in their best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) with aging, some older adults actually lose their sight altogether. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 12 percent of Americans aged 65 to 74 have been diagnosed with early onset blindness, meaning they lost their BCVA at least 35 years ago. And another 10 percent have low vision, which means they have trouble performing everyday tasks despite having normal eyesight.
While you cannot stop your inevitable loss of eyesight, you can take steps to slow down its progression. One easy way to stave off worsening eyesight is to maintain proper nutrition. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as carrots, spinach and dark green leafy vegetables, contain vitamin A, which helps fight free radicals that damage cells around the eyes. Antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin found in yellow fruits and vegetables are particularly beneficial. Blueberries, oranges, strawberries and tomatoes all contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects against sun damage. Dark chocolate contains flavonols that can reduce the effects of sunlight on the eyes.
A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna, salmon and flaxseed oil, reduces inflammation throughout the body and can strengthen tiny blood vessels near the surface of the eyes. Omega-3s also promote healthy circulation, which keeps nutrients flowing to all parts of the eye. Eating foods rich in zinc and vitamins C and E is essential for producing collagen, a protein responsible for keeping our skin firm and flexible. Vitamins B1 and B2 are necessary for converting vitamin A into its active form. Vitamin B2 promotes healthy nerves, muscles and tissues surrounding the eyes.
You can even slow down the aging process of your eyes through simple lifestyle modifications. Smoking causes permanent scarring in the lungs, heart and kidneys. It also damages the capillaries in the eyes, leading to severe vision impairment. Alcohol abuse leads to liver disease, pancreatitis, diabetes and hypertension, all of which cause increased stress levels and ultimately contribute to impaired vision. So, what does all this mean for you and your eyes? Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption will not only boost your overall health, but also increase your chance of living longer and enjoying better eyesight.

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