If you find yourself squinting during your book club meetings or experiencing frequent headaches that require you to pause during daily tasks to rest your eyes, you may want to update your eyeglasses.
While some of us may not even notice our prescription has changed, there are a number of obvious (when you know what to look for) signals that our specs could use a refresh. Keep an eye out for these eight signs that you may need new glasses.
We may not realize that our vision is changing, but our brains immediately take notice and work to correct the issue. When our eyes are unable to focus, we squint and force the small muscles in our eyes to work harder, resulting in eye strain and headaches.
But headaches related to eyewear aren’t just caused by issues like undiagnosed myopia (nearsightedness) or an outdated prescription. There are plenty of other reasons your old glasses might be giving you headaches.
For instance, frames that don’t fit properly can also cause your head to hurt. If the temples (arms) of your frames are too tight against the side of your head or too short and pulling your ears, it can be uncomfortable enough to cause headaches and irritation.
If you suspect that your eyeglasses are to blame for those frequent headaches, it’s time for an exam. Your eye doctor will ensure your prescription is up to date and an optician will be able to adjust your frames or recommend the best fit for your face.
2. Blurry vision
When your eyeglasses aren’t providing that crisp, clear vision that they used to, it’s probably time to update your glasses prescription.
Sometimes blurry vision will call for fresh eyeglasses with multifocal lenses like bifocals or trifocals. If your text messages are starting to appear fuzzy but your long-distance vision is still good, progressive lenses could be a great upgrade. Or maybe it’s just time to introduce reading glasses to the mix.
Whatever your situation, blurry vision calls for a visit to the eye doctor.
3. Squinting at screens
Extended screen time with our computers, phones, and tablets can lead to excessive eye strain. Computer vision syndrome (also called digital eye strain) not only causes sore, tired eyes and headaches, but it can also affect your ability to get a good night’s rest.
So instead of cutting down on your productivity at work (or your social media scrolling), consider a pair of computer or blue light glasses. They’re relatively inexpensive, available with or without a prescription and will work to block harmful blue light* that can cause eye strain. Learn more about computer reading glasses here.
And just as with prescription eyewear, you’ll probably notice an immediate difference. Your sight will be clearer, screens won’t seem so harsh and, after a long day at the office, you’ll likely even get a better night’s sleep.
4. Double vision
Experiencing ghost images with or without your corrective lenses?
Seeing two separate or overlapping images of the same object (diplopia) may be a sign of general fatigue, but it could also be a signal of serious health problems. You may or may not need another pair of glasses, but either way, you should see an eye doctor right away.
If your doctor finds that you have crossed eyes (strabismus), you’ll probably receive a pair of glasses with more prismatic power to reduce the diplopia and correct alignment issues.
Other possible treatments for double vision include patching one eye for periods of time and special contact lenses. More advanced treatments include vision therapy and even surgery.
5. Damaged lenses
If you wear your eyeglasses every day for a year or more, you’ve probably noticed some wear and tear. Some issues like loose temples may affect the fit but perhaps not your ability to see.
On the other hand, scratched lenses can and likely will interfere with your sight and may need to be replaced sooner than later.
Other potential damage to your lenses may not be immediately noticeable. If you’ve ever used hot water to clean your spectacles, you may have unknowingly damaged any lens coatings.
Have your eyeglasses checked by your optician for any scratches or irreparable damage. They may also suggest adding scratch-resistant coatings to help lengthen the lifespan of your next pair.
6. A new job
Sometimes a career change calls for more than just a wardrobe renovation. In addition to helping you stand out in a sea of other employees, a stylish new pair of glasses can also help you get the job done more efficiently.
For instance, if your next venture involves more computer time, you may want to invest in eyewear with anti-reflective and/or blue light-blocking coatings. More physical jobs may call for a durable scratch-resistant coating.
Visit an optician or eye doctor near you to discuss your work responsibilities. A professional will be able to suggest proper eyewear, lenses, and coatings for your new career.
7. Bored with your current glasses
If a just-released style of glasses is catching your eye and/or you’re ready for something different, treat yourself! You don’t have to wait for your prescription to change or your other frames to break down before you purchase another pair.
You’ll also find that some frames work better to complement or even enhance certain styles. For example, a dressier frame will instantly add polish to a professional ensemble. Or you may just want to have a little fun and experiment with a funky new style! Find the best frame shape for your face shape with this simple guide!
8. Skipping annual eye exams
There are plenty of reasons you may be tempted to reschedule your appointments. Maybe your insurance has changed, you’re nervous your prescription is getting worse and aren’t ready to invest in a replacement or you may have even grown attached to your current specs.
But scheduling regular eye exams is more important than just making sure your prescription is current. Your eye doctor may also include some or all of the following eye health tests to look for signs of vision issues:
- Visual acuity test: This exam will test the sharpness of your vision, checking how well you see the details of a letter or symbol from a specific distance.
- Color blindness test: This screening can help detect the presence of a color vision problem and determine the type and severity of color blindness. This test can also detect possible eye health problems that may affect your ability to see color.
- Ocular motility test: This assessment will test your eye’s movements and alignment by covering each eye and observing corneal light reflections.
- Stereopsis test: This test will be able to assess your level of depth perception.
If your prescription has changed and you’re wary of tossing your beloved frames, ask your eye care provider if they can replace the lenses instead. In some cases, it may also be cheaper than purchasing an entirely new pair!
Updating your eyewear may sound like a chore, but it could be vital to both your eye health and your productivity. Whether it’s been a while or it’s just time for your annual visit, it’s in your best interest to book an eye exam to see if your prescription has changed.
*Lenses do not block all blue light. References to “Blue Light Blocking” lenses or readers herein refer to readers having lenses to help reduce the amount of potentially harmful blue light transmitted through the lens and varies between lens types. Harmful blue light refers to the 415-455 nanometer range of the visible light spectrum.