Glasses Prescription Expiration: Details You Need to Know

an image of multiple pairs of eyeglasses stacked in diagonal lines

Do you find yourself wondering, “how long are eyeglass prescriptions good for?” The eyeglass lens prescription you receive from your doctor includes an expiration date, which is the final day you can use it to purchase new glasses or replacement lenses.

In this guide, we will dive into everything you need to know about glasses prescription expiration. We’ll cover when you should get new glasses, if you can use your glasses prescription to purchase contacts, and whether you can use your eyeglass Rx at any retailer.

Glasses Prescription Expiration: The Basics

There’s a little something called the eyeglass prescription expiration law, which states that doctors are required to give you a copy of your eyeglass prescription at the end of your eye exam. They must provide you with this information whether or not you ask for it, and they cannot require you to pay an additional fee for your glasses prescription. Basically, writing and giving you the glasses prescription is part of the eye exam.

Can I Get Glasses with an Expired Prescription?

The simple answer is no. Glasses prescriptions have expiration dates because your eyes change over time, causing your current glasses prescription to be inaccurate.

Glasses made with out-of-date prescriptions may cause headaches, eye strain, and blurry vision, resulting in serious accidents. So, you should have routine eye exams to ensure that your glasses prescription still fits your eyes. These exams will also check for conditions like macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, and glaucoma.

How Long Do Eye Prescriptions Last?

When it comes to your glasses, we see a common question:

How long are glasses prescriptions valid?

Eyeglass lens prescriptions are usually valid for at least one year. However, different state laws require different minimum prescription lengths, so we recommend checking your minimum eyeglass prescription expiration by state.

So how long is an eyeglass prescription good for? Typically one to two years, but we recommend checking your prescription expiration date. That being said, if you are at higher risk of vision changes, your glasses prescription expiration date might be one year, rather than two, after your last exam. Also, it’s relatively common for your glasses prescription expiration date to be exactly two days after the day of your previous eye exam (just in a different year!)

A pair of Felix Gray eyeglasses with a teal glasses case propped up on a clear block and ball

When Should I Get New Glasses?

If you’re in the market for new glasses, you should buy them before your prescription expires. However, if you feel like your eyesight may have changed, you may want to get a new prescription before purchasing new lenses.

Getting Glasses After Your Prescription Expires

You should never try to buy replacement glasses if your prescription has expired, as it’s illegal for anyone to sell you glasses if you don’t have a valid prescription. Reputable eyewear websites and retailers will reject expired glasses prescriptions. Plus, if a retailer is willing to sell you eyeglasses based on your expired Rx, you may want to steer clear of them anyway.

However, if you do let your prescription lapse, it’s relatively easy to find an eye doctor to perform an eye exam and write you a new eyeglasses prescription. The eye doctor will likely perform various tests during the exam to test your vision’s quality and eyes’ health.

Getting Glasses if Your Eyesight Has Changed

Even if your eyeglasses prescription is not expired, it might still be time to get a new prescription (and new eyeglasses) if you can tell that your vision has changed. Keep in mind, gradual changes to your eyesight or vision might not be obvious. But, you can watch out for a few common signs.

These include:

If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, we recommend making an eye appointment and getting your vision checked, even if your prescription is not expired.

Can I Use My Glasses Prescription to Buy Contacts?

You cannot use your glasses prescription to buy contact lenses because contact lens prescriptions are different from eyeglass prescriptions. Eyeglass lenses rest a short distance in front of your eyes, while contact lenses sit on your eyes, resulting in very different measurements required to correct your vision.

How long are eye prescriptions good for contact lenses? Contact lens prescriptions also have their own expiration date, usually one year after the eye exam date. Contact lens prescriptions typically have shorter lifespans than glasses Rxs. When you wear contacts, your eyes need to be evaluated on an annual basis to ensure that your contact lenses are not harming the surface of your eyes or putting you at risk for eye infections.

A pair of clear eyeglasses on a white iPad over a mint green background

Can I Use My Eyeglass Rx Anywhere?

Want to know if you can use your eyeglass prescription anywhere? Once you have gone to the eye doctor, had an eye exam, and have your up-to-date eyeglasses prescription in hand, you can order glasses anywhere, including online at Felix Gray.

Want to learn more about glasses prescription expiration? Feel free to contact Felix Gray to learn more about our lens technology and computer glasses.