5 signs you may need new glasses
When you wear the same glasses every day for years, they can almost feel like part of your face, an integral part of your personal style.
You’re so used to the way you look in them (and through them), that making a switch can feel like a big decision, even if doing so will improve your ability to see.
Deterioration in vision can occur due to normal aging or because of illness or genetic factors. It’s fairly common for people to wear glasses with outdated prescriptions but doing so can cause eye strain and lead to other issues like headaches and dizziness.
No matter how attached you are to your current specs, watch for these five signs you need a new pair of glasses:
1. You are having trouble seeing
If you experience a sudden vision change, it’s time to see the eye doctor for an exam. That’s true even if you’ve recently had your vision checked.
Sometimes, vision change occurs more slowly, so it’s harder to notice it happening. However, if you are having trouble reading movie subtitles or having to increase the font size on your computer or phone (or bringing your face closer to make it easier to see), your vision may have changed.
Less obvious signs that your vision might be changing include having trouble driving at night and frequent squinting.
Headaches are another sign that you might need new glasses. That’s because when your prescription is inaccurate, your brain and eye muscles will adjust to help you see. But, if they’re overworking, headaches might occur.
If you get headaches after reading or looking at your computer, you may be experiencing eye strain.
Since children might not be aware of changes in their vision, keep an eye on them for behavior that might indicate an issue. Trouble seeing the whiteboard at school, for example, or moving closer to the television at home could mean their vision has changed. Poor eyesight can be hereditary, so if you wear glasses, pay extra attention to your kids.
HAVING TROUBLE SEEING? Find an eye doctor near you and schedule an eye exam.
2. It’s been more than a year since your last exam
Even if you don’t think your vision has changed much, you should schedule an exam with your eye doctor around once per year. (Seniors or those with specific vision issues may need eye exams even more frequently.)
In addition to checking your overall eye health and screening for diseases, your eye exam may reveal subtle changes to your vision that can be fixed with a new glasses or contact lens prescription. Your eye doctor will talk to you about your lifestyle and other issues to advise you on the best type of lens and frames for your situation.
If your vision was changing gradually, you may not even notice the difference until you see the world through your new pair of glasses.
3. Your glasses are damaged
Unless your glasses are held together by masking tape (in which case you definitely need a new pair), you may think a little damage is no big deal. But the effects of everyday wear and tear on glasses can build up over time.
Some glasses become more difficult to keep smudge-free over time as their lens coating breaks down, making them less effective. While small scratches, smudges and warping may not seem to affect how you see through your glasses, they may be causing subtle, unnecessary eye strain.
If it seems like you can no longer properly clean your glasses, you may need to purchase a new pair.
4. You don’t have a backup pair
If your glasses are an indispensable part of your life, having just one pair is risky. No matter how careful you are with them, there’s always a chance they’ll be lost or damaged.
Having a backup pair of eyeglasses can give you the peace of mind that you’ll never be left completely unable to see.
Consider going with a second pair in a completely different style, allowing you to switch it up depending on the look that you’re going for on a given day.
Or, if you’re often outside in the sun, you might consider a pair of prescription sunglasses. They’ll make you more comfortable when it's bright out and make it safer to drive at certain times of the day.
5. It’s just time for an update
If you’ve been holding on to the same eyeglasses for too long, there may be better options available now. Eyeglass manufacturers are constantly developing new technology to improve the experience of the wearer and provide further eye protection.
Some new glasses, for example, have blue light filtering that can reduce the eye strain that can occur from prolonged exposure to digital screens.
Plus, like every other accessory, fashion trends in eyeglasses change over time. If you’ve had the same pair for several seasons (or years), they may be looking a bit dated.
Since your glasses are one of the first things people see when they meet you, getting a new pair that's more in line with current styles can boost your entire image. While improving your vision is the primary goal of any new eyewear, improving your look isn’t a bad side effect.
READY TO SHOP FOR NEW GLASSES? Find an optical store near you or shop online.
Page published in December 2019
Page updated in October 2021