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Why is my contact lens prescription valid for only a year?

My contact lens prescription has not changed significantly for at least the last five years. I do not have vision coverage on my health plan, so it costs me a small fortune to visit the eye doctor regularly. However, I cannot order new contact lenses without a current prescription, and my prescription is only valid for a year. Why do all eye doctors give prescriptions for glasses and contact lenses that expire within a year when a person's eyesight may not change significantly within that period of time?
This is a good question as we are all trying to save money however we can. However, there is a very valid reason that contact lens and glasses prescriptions are valid for only a year. This happens so that you will return to your ophthalmologist or optometrist to have a complete eye exam every year. This is important as your eye care professional will not only make sure that your contact lens are fitting correctly and that your prescription has not changed, but more importantly, they will check your eyes for serious conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, uveitis, hypertension, macular degeneration, and retina problems just to name a few. Also, even a small change in your prescription can lead to headaches and eye strain if not corrected even if you feel that you can see just fine with your current prescription. So, in summary, the health of your eyes is not something to scrimp on. Discuss your financial concerns with your provider as there are often ways to help if money is tight. Also your eye care professional will be able to explain why it is important for you to not go longer than a year without a complete eye health check up.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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