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How Long Are Eyeglass Prescriptions Good For?

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A pair of eyeglasses sitting on a eyeglass lens prescription paper with the letters RX visible through the lens

Millions of Americans wear eyeglasses or contact lenses daily to help achieve clearer vision. During an eye exam, your optometrist will likely provide you with an eyeglass prescription and an expiration date, which notifies you of how long the prescription is valid. 

An eyeglass prescription is typically valid for 1 to 2 years before it’s recommended that you rebook an appointment with your eye doctor. 

At Total Vision Tierrasanta, our friendly staff and doctors are happy to book you an appointment to learn more about your ocular health. 

How Often Should You Get an Eye Exam?

Booking a regular eye exam is one of the best ways to stay on top of your ocular health. The American Optometric Association (AOA) suggests that adults aged 18 and older should have an eye exam annually. 

You may need to have more frequent eye exams based on factors like genetics or lifestyle habits. If you are experiencing any discomfort or issues with your vision or eyes, booking an appointment with your optometrist is important. 

What Are Eyeglass Prescriptions?

An eyeglass prescription typically contains a series of letters and numbers written out to be used as instructions for creating your eyeglasses. 

How to Read an Eyeglass Prescription?

Eyeglass prescriptions will commonly include the following abbreviations

  • O.D. = Oculus Dexter (Right Eye)
  • O.S. = Oculus Sinister (Left Eye)
  • CYL = Cylinder
  • SPH = Sphere 


The sphere portion of your prescriptions helps determine the lens strength needed to correct your vision. It is measured in diopters up to 9, and the further from zero in the negatives or positives indicates the strength of the prescription. For example, a negative sign next to the sphere number would indicate that you have nearsightedness, and a positive would indicate farsightedness. 


The cylinder number in a prescription indicates your astigmatism level and your Eye’s shape. An oval-shaped eye is more likely to have astigmatism and generally needs glasses to achieve clear vision. 


Axis is a number written between 1 and 180 degrees. It determines the position of your astigmatism. 

A hand reaching out to try on a pair of eyeglasses chosen from an eyeglass display after an eye exam

Eye Exams 

Your doctor will likely recommend having annual eye exams to check up on your ocular health and look for any problems developing in your eyes. Here is some helpful information about eye exams and why you should consider getting yours:

What Happens at an Eye Exam?

An eye exam generally involves a doctor examining your eyes and vision through a series of tests. Some of these tests may include the following:

  • Refraction Test
  • Slit-Lamp Test
  • Visual Acuity Test
  • Visual Field Test
  • Retinal Tomography
  • Applanation Tonometry

These are only a few of the tests your optometrist may perform during a regular eye exam. For more information, visit our website or book a consultation with our team at Total Vision Tierrasanta. 

Why Should You Get an Eye Exam?

Eye exams are important for helping to maintain your ocular health. It allows your doctor to check your eyes for any developing or current vision issues. Here are some common conditions found at a regular eye exam:

  • Myopia: A common vision condition where far away objects appear blurry and difficult to see 
  • Hyperopia: A common vision condition where objects that are close by appear blurry and difficult to see 
  • Astigmatism: A curvature in the eye that can cause blurred or distorted vision
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration: An age-related issue that typically damages the central vision
  • Cataracts: Clouding of the eye’s lens and a leading cause of blindness

Eye exams have also been known to help doctors identify more serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. Your eyes are part of a complicated system of nerves and connective tissues that can allow doctors to identify early signs of underlying health issues. 

Where to Get an Eye Exam?

Please book an appointment with our team at Total Vision Tierrasanta to work with one of our friendly optometrists. We have years of experience helping patients learn more about their ocular health and work towards achieving clearer vision. 

Alternatives to Eyeglasses

Eyeglasses are not the only method of correcting your vision, but you can choose from some of the other available treatment options

Contact Lenses

Contact lenses are another popular option for people looking for a convenient way to correct their vision. Generally, contacts come as soft or hard lenses that can be worn for varying lengths. For example, extended-wear contacts can be worn for several days before being removed and thrown away. 

Vision Correction Surgery 

Laser eye surgeries like LASIK, LASEK, PRK, and SMILE are more permanent solutions to correcting different vision conditions. If you are interested in laser eye surgery, book an appointment with your eye doctor and discuss your options. 

Book an Eye Exam Today

If you need an updated prescription or haven’t had an eye exam, book an exam with Total Vision Tierrasanta today and have an experienced optometrist evaluate your ocular health.

Written by Total Vision

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