Can Wearing Outdated Prescription Contact Lenses Affect My Eyes?


The short answer to this question is a resounding “yes.” Wearing contact lenses with an outdated prescription can compromise your vision, cause discomfort, and potentially lead to more serious complications.

This is because outdated lenses may no longer provide the correct vision correction due to changes in your eye health or vision needs.

In this blog post, we will discuss the necessity of updating your contact lens prescription, delve into the frequency of updates required, and guide you in recognizing when it’s time for a new prescription.

Why Do I Need to Update My Contact Lens Prescription?


Regular updates to your contact lens prescription are essential for maintaining optimal eye health and vision quality.

Over time, your eyes can undergo subtle changes, influenced by factors such as age, health conditions, and even lifestyle. These changes can affect vision in various ways, necessitating adjustments in your contact lenses to ensure they provide the correct degree of correction.

But an updated prescription isn’t just about clear vision. It’s also about the health of your eyes. Contact lenses that don’t fit properly or don’t correct vision effectively can cause eye strain and headaches and may increase the risk of eye infections or corneal abrasions. This is especially crucial for those with conditions like astigmatism, where precise curvature correction is vital.

Moreover, regular eye check-ups and prescription updates allow your eye care professional (ECP) to monitor the health of your eyes. They can detect early signs of eye conditions that, if left unaddressed, could lead to more serious issues. This proactive approach ensures that any changes in your vision are promptly addressed, keeping your eyes healthy and your vision sharp.

How Often Should I Update My Contact Lens Prescription?

close-up of a contact lens prescription

The frequency of updating your contact lens prescription largely depends on individual factors such as age, eye health, and the stability of your vision.

As a general guideline, ECPs recommend an eye exam every one to two years. For certain groups, more frequent check-ups might be necessary:

  • Children and Teenagers – Children and teenagers should have their vision checked annually due to rapid changes in their eyes. This ensures that any changes in their eyesight are promptly corrected, supporting their development and daily activities.
  • Adults Under 40 – If you’re an adult under 40 with no known eye problems, an eye exam every two years is usually sufficient. However, if you experience any changes in your vision or discomfort with your lenses, you should schedule an appointment sooner.
  • Adults Over 40 – As you age, the risk of developing eye conditions like presbyopia, cataracts, and glaucoma increases. Therefore, annual eye exams are recommended for adults over 40 to monitor these changes and adjust prescriptions accordingly.
  • Individuals with Eye Conditions – If you have eye health issues or a history of rapidly changing prescriptions, more frequent visits may be necessary. Your ECP will give you a personalized recommendation based on your specific needs.

Note that these are general recommendations, so the best approach is to follow the advice of your ECP. They understand the nuances of your eye health.

Remember: regular check-ups are the key to ensuring that your contact lenses are always tailored to provide you with the best possible vision and eye health.

How Do I Know if I Need a New Contact Lens Prescription?


Recognizing the signs that you might need a new contact lens prescription is crucial for maintaining both your eye health and vision quality. Here are some indicators to watch out for:

  • Blurred or Distorted Vision – If your vision isn’t as sharp as it used to be, or if you’re experiencing blurriness or distortion, your current prescription may no longer be adequate.
  • Eye Strain or Discomfort – Symptoms like headaches, eye fatigue, or discomfort while wearing your contacts, especially after prolonged periods of use, can indicate that your lenses are no longer suitable.
  • Difficulty with Night Vision – Struggling to see clearly at night or in low-light conditions can be a symptom of an outdated prescription.
  • Physical Changes in the Eyes – Changes in your eyes, such as redness, dryness, or irritation while wearing contacts, suggest that the fit of your lens might need adjusting.
  • Squinting More Often – If you find yourself squinting frequently to see clearly, it’s likely time to check your prescription.
  • Lifestyle or Health Changes – Shifts in your lifestyle, such as starting a job that requires prolonged computer use, or health changes like pregnancy or diabetes, can affect your vision.

Remember: these signs are indicators that a check-up is due, but only an ECP can provide a comprehensive examination and determine whether your prescription needs to be updated. Proactive attention to these signs ensures comfort and clarity of vision and plays a vital role in preventing potential eye health complications.

Bottom Line

In summary, wearing contact lenses with an outdated prescription can lead to a range of issues, from blurred vision to more serious eye health complications. 

Regular eye exams are crucial for ensuring your prescription keeps pace with changes in your eyesight and overall eye health. By staying alert to signs like vision changes, discomfort, or lifestyle shifts, and adhering to recommended eye exam schedules, you can maintain optimal eye health and vision quality. 

Taking proactive steps in your eyes’ care is a significant investment in your quality of life, so don’t overlook the importance of updating your contact lens prescription. It’s a small action that can have a big impact on your daily comfort and long-term eye health.