So you want some sassy new specs, eh? Can’t blame you. Frames come in a beautiful variety of styles, colors, shapes and attitudes. Having an eyewear wardrobe makes at least as much sense as having a shoe wardrobe. Or a blouse or dress wardrobe. Different looks and designs for different moods and occasions, right?
When ordering your next pair, you’ll need to provide your current eyeglasses prescription. If the latest Rx in your files is expired, yes, you really do need an exam.
Why? Two basic reasons:
- Your vision. Is your prescription expired? Most printed Rxes include either an expiration date, or the date of the exam, along with a duration that Rx is valid. Typically, one year for some, two for others. Once expired, a fresh exam will reveal whether your vision has changed significantly or not since your last exam. If not, woo hoo! You can still safely wear your old specs. Of course, you can order new ones too, since that prescription will be current. If your exam shows a significant change, your old prescription is no longer helping you see adequately.
Good eyeglasses aren’t cheap (if they’re cheap, they’re not so good – for some items, you really do get what you pay for). You should see as clearly as possible with your new glasses.
- Your health. Eye doctors keep their eyes on changes in your eyes from visit to visit. Your eye exam gives the doc the opportunity to clear you for another year or two of good health, or to investigate any concerns your exam might evoke, catch and treat any issues and refer you for proper care when necessary.
But I see fine with my current glasses
That may seem true, until you put on glasses with your updated prescription. Then you’ll see the clarity of vision that’s best for you. Even if you can see plenty clearly with your old Rx, if your doctor recommends updating your lenses, it’s to avoid eye strain that occurs when your eyes have to work harder than is comfortable for them. Eye strain can be subtle. You may not notice it until you take those two aspirin for the headache that develops when you wear your old glasses. Or you feel fatigued earlier than is typical. Or your concentration suffers.
Sometimes your doctor will observe a change in your prescription that is not significant enough to justify updating your lenses. They will tell you when that’s the case. And sometimes your exam will show that your prescription hasn’t changed at all. Best to know, though.
Eye exams check the health of your eyes, naturally
A few years ago, my optometrist detected a “nevus,” or freckle, on my retina (at the back of my eye). To be certain that’s all it was, he referred me to a retinal specialist, who examined my eye and evaluated the images. Since he looks at retinas in all conditions all day long every day, the optometrist and I agreed his opinion about my retinal aberration would be pretty valuable.
Upon inspection, the specialist agreed it was probably a harmless nevus that had been present, but changed little, for years and years. He recommended monitoring it to see if it changed over a couple of six-month periods. During the following year, I returned a couple times for fresh images that indicated the mark on the back of the eye was not changing, thankfully. It’s a very slowly developing, benign freckle, as suspected.
I’d rather have that information than not. If it proved of concern, I’d want to address it.
Eye exams also check your overall physical health
Doctors can diagnose quite a few medical conditions by looking at the eyes. Because the eye is the only part of the body where the blood vessels are directly visible, systemic conditions that affect their appearance might show up in an eye exam. The sooner a patient knows about conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and other diseases an examination of the eye might reveal, the sooner treatment can mitigate the condition.
Don’t you want to know if there’s a way to improve your health or preserve your quality of life? I do!
We’re so happy …
… that you’re interested in a new look for your lovely face. It’s the first thing about you that people see, and keeping your look fresh can keep you fresh. We want your new lenses to do their best work for you. So we’ll need that current prescription to give you the best results.