General Question

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I had an eye exam done three years ago (I used to have a pair of glasses for seeing the blackboard), do I need to have my eyes tested again?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (9320 points ) September 24th, 2012

I had my eyes tested and the Optometrist’s office has all of my information from that test. Could I call the office to get a prescription, so I can pick up a new pair of glasses, or do I have to be retested again (since it’s been three years)?

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26 Answers

hearkat's avatar

In the USA, prescriptions are generally valid for only 1 year. I’m not sure of the laws in Canada, though.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@hearkat Thanks! I’ll give them a call.

Dsg's avatar

Good question. I was told by my optometrist that I need to come back every yr to renew my prescription for my contacts. I would think the same applies for glasses, but I’m not sure. I wear glasses and contacts and I have to have them re checked about every 2 years because my vision has changed some. I can just tell from looking through my glasses or contacts….things start to look a little blurry.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

This could be wrong, but I doubt that obtaining your old prescription is against the law, be it in Canada or the US. If the lenses are still working for you and all you want is a new frame, then contact the office and ask for the prescription.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Valid for one year in USA. I had to have a duplicate script written for a snorkel mask ( it was two months after the visit to Dr. ) was required to buy a dive mask.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer it is a prescription, it has a limited time it is valid.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think it is against the law for your doc to write or make glasses from your “old prescription” from your chart, but I do think he will likely require you to come in for an appointment. It’s probably more CYA than anything. But, am not 100% sure. Some medications require being seen by a doctor and some don’t, so eye glasses could be either, we need an opthomologist to tell us.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I stand corrected. After looking at the prescription from the last time my eyes were checked, there is an expiration date at the bottom. Note: This is in the US.

wundayatta's avatar

You want to be checked again if it’s been that long since your last check. Your eyes can change quite significantly in three years. Also, you need to be checked for things like glaucoma and other eye conditions. It’s not fun, but it’s worth getting your eyes checked.

In the US, most eye vision plans cover a checkup every other year. I don’t know what the Canadian system covers, but surely it is at least that.

JLeslie's avatar

I came back to basically write what @wunday just did. Three years is too long at your age, ugh, for health reasons. I never used to have my eyes checked regularly, but now that I am over 40 I am better about it.

@Pied_Pfeffer That is the actual prescription, but we don’t know if they will just write a new one from the info on the chart.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Even just for using glasses to see the blackboard? That is the only time that I’d use them.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

If the glasses are only required for seeing the blackboard, the question comes down to, why do you need or want the change? Are they no longer working for you, or do you just want a new frame?

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I lost the glasses years ago. I’m back in school again and need a new pair.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Ah….then it’s time to have another exam. As @wundayatta suggests, it’s time for another exam, whether you can obtain the old prescription or not. Not only is is beneficial for wearing corrective lenses in case the prescription has changed over time, the eyes needed to be tested for other factors.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mama_Cakes I think a doctor will make you come in. He wants the money, and at your age he would remiss in not checking you for glaucoma.

I only use my glasses for seeing subtitles and watching a musical. My eyesight has not changed in over 15 years. Still, I doubt my optomotrist would just make a me a new pair of glasses if I had not seen him in three years.

gasman's avatar

It used to be that ophthalmologists & optometrists had instruments in their offices called lensometers, which could read out a prescription directly off a pair of eyeglasses. No doubt opticians and optical labs have them, too. There’s probably something similar for contact lenses but I’ve lost track. In theory any pair of glasses could be duplicated, but I think the measurement was usually just used by the doctor as a starting point for re-examining your eyes.

In any case you should probably be re-refracted if it’s been 3 years because the lens correction for everybody’s eyes drifts a bit over the years, I think, and because the eyes are organs whose health needs to be checked at least that often anyway. We moderns depend much more on good eyesight than the ancients did. Pay up & feel good about it.

JLeslie's avatar

@gasman They still can get your script from your your glasses. That is how I know my presciption has not changed. The doctor checked my glasses and then checked me to see what script I needed. It matched. I didn’t have any of my old info from when my glasses had been made 8+ years before.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Another way for them to make money.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Mama_Cakes You want to be checked for glaucoma. I worked with a guy that had his vision drop down to the point that if you held a dime at arms length,that was the field of vision he could see nothing else.

woodcutter's avatar

Or you can go to Walgreens and get a pair of their low power readers to achieve your blackboard viewing needs. It’s a good idea to have your eyes checked every few years just to stay ahead of it. Of course the optometrists will scoff at this, just like the makers of Symbalta will be against legalizing weed.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I do have a mild astigmatism, though.

JLeslie's avatar

@woodcutter reading the blackboard, not a book.

RockerChick14's avatar

One year in USA.

echotech10's avatar

I would strongly recommend getting an eye exam, because I would think, from my own experience your Rx has changed. My Rx changed in a matter of months. I had an eye exam back in April, and My Rx changed at that point, but I started a new job back in June, and Just decided now to get new glasses, but the funny thing is, my Rx changed in a matter of 6 months. Admittingly, I work on a computer all day long, pretty good chance that had something to do with the change. side bar here… @woodcutter fyi…those glasses at Walgreens do you no good for myopia (nearsightedness), ther are actually made for reading glasses, I am assuming that @Mama_Cakes is nearsighted, by the staement that she needs them to see the blackboard… Anyways, an eye exam would be beneficial to you, and that way, you can have new glasses with the correct Rx. Hope all turns out well.

gailcalled's avatar

@Mama_Cakes: You can have a quick and dirty exam for Rx changes from a local optician.
An optometrist will do a similar eye exam and can suggest you see a ophthamologist (MD) only if there are signs of cataracts or other serious eye conditions (very rare for one your age).

Astigmatism complicates getting fitted for the right Rx.

JLeslie's avatar

You don’t need to be dialated.

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