There are a number of reasons why your eyewear prescription changes every year. Some can be due to issues present at birth while others are only temporary changes. On the other hand, some reasons for the change in your vision can signal a serious problem with your eye health.
Refractive errors are some of the most common reasons that your prescription can change. Other reasons are temporary, such as diabetes or pregnancy, which can cause your prescription to fluctuate but return to normal. However, sudden changes in your vision can point to eye diseases that require immediate treatment.
Why Does My Eyewear Prescription Change Every Year?
There are multiple reasons why you or your child’s eyewear prescription changes every year. In certain instances, it’s actually a natural part of aging. This could be due to a refractive error such as being nearsighted or it can be due to having lazy eye (amblyopia).
A refractive error occurs when light is prevented from focusing on your retina due to a misshapen eye. This can be due to your eye being too long or short as well as problems with your cornea. For middle-aged adults, the lens gradually loses its flexibility.
Refractive errors are the most common type of vision problem that people experience, with over 150 million Americans having it in some form. This is why it’s so important to get regular eye exams so you can be diagnosed and receive proper treatment.
The most common types of refractive errors are:
- Nearsightedness (myopia) which makes it hard to see far-away objects
- Farsightedness (hyperopia) which makes it hard to see up-close objects
- Astigmatism that affects both near and distance vision
- Presbyopia which makes it harder for adults 40+ to see up-close objects
Common symptoms of refractive errors include:
- Blurry vision
- Glare or halos around lights
Most cases of refractive errors are treated with prescription glasses or contacts. In some cases, LASIK surgery can be used for qualifying candidates.
To read our blog on the five signs that your child needs a vision exam, click here!
Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
Lazy eye develops from birth to around age 7 and is the primary cause of decreased vision in children. Also known as amblyopia, it’s the result of malfunctioning nerve pathways between the brain and retina. This causes one eye to become weaker than the other and lose its ability to work. The brain then begins to ignore or suppress signals from the weaker eye.
Lazy eye can occur for different reasons, including:
- Muscle imbalance
- Refractive error
- Deprivation due to other issues such as cataracts
It’s important to make an appointment with Dr. Travis Thompson or Dr. Catherine Abbott when you begin to notice a wandering eye. Lazy eye can lead to permanent vision loss if left unchecked, so it’s important to seek treatment right away.
There are a variety of treatments for lazy eye. They include:
- Corrective glasses or contact lenses
- Eye patches to strengthen the weaker eye and block the stronger one
- A Bangerter filter to blur the stronger eye and stimulate the weaker one
- Eyedrops to strengthen the weak eye by blurring the stronger one
- Surgery if your child suffers from deprivation amblyopia due to droopy eyelids
It’s essential that your child receive treatment within weeks or months of diagnosis to protect their eyesight. Treatment can last six months to two years. Amblyopia can return in some cases so it’s important to continue to monitor your child’s eye.
Temporary Changes in Vision
Some conditions can cause your vision to become worse for a short period of time. This can happen for multiple reasons, such as:
- Dry eyes
- Hormonal changes
Diabetes can cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate resulting in blurred vision. It’s important to let us know if you have diabetes so we can schedule an eye exam when your blood sugar is stable. Dry eyes can also affect your vision if not treated properly. According to the Mayo Clinic, severe cases can cause inflammation, corneal abrasion and ulcers, and possible vision loss.
It’s also possible to experience short-term vision changes due to hormonal changes such as pregnancy. This can cause women to need a different prescription while pregnant. Fortunately, your normal prescription should return once you’ve given birth or finished breastfeeding.
Click here to read our blog on the five signs that you need to update your eyewear prescription!
Prescription Changes and Eye Disease
Eye diseases are serious conditions that can have a major impact on your vision. Schedule an appointment with our office immediately if you experience sudden changes in your vision. Our eye doctors will be able to identify the problem and provide treatment to help protect your sight.
Common eye diseases that affect your vision include:
- Retinal degeneration
Glaucoma is a disease that causes fluid to build up in your eye and increase its internal pressure. This will begin to damage your optic nerve over time and cause vision loss. Your vision can’t be restored once this happens, so it’s important to seek treatment immediately.
Cataracts are a common part of aging. As you get older, proteins in the lens of your eyes begin to break down and clump together. This causes your vision to become cloudy, making it hard to see. Cataracts develop slowly so it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to catch them.
Retinal degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration, occurs when your retina begins to deteriorate as you age. Common signs include tunnel vision and night blindness, but it can also result in vision loss. While there is no cure, it is treatable with lasers and medication.
Click here to read our blog on reasons why it’s difficult to see while driving at night!
Comprehensive Eye Exams in Knoxville
Comprehensive eye exams are the best way to stay on top of your eyewear prescription. These in-depth exams don’t simply update your prescription. They also provide our Knoxville eye doctors with a closer look at the structures of your eyes. This allows them to catch problems such as glaucoma and other health issues early on so you can get the treatment that you need.
Do you need to update your eyewear prescription? Contact us to schedule your comprehensive eye exam in Knoxville today!
Your prescription can change for a number of reasons including refractive errors and amblyopia. Short-term changes in vision can occur due to issues such as diabetes and pregnancy, which can lead to a fluctuating prescription that eventually returns to normal. Sudden and drastic changes can be a sign of an eye disease that requires immediate treatment.
Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical has been serving Knoxville since 2009. Dr. Travis Thompson and Dr. Catherine Abbott specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of eye diseases, conditions, and problems and are committed to improving the quality of life in the Knoxville community through enhanced vision. Located at 10904 Spring Bluff Way, you can schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (865) 888-0892.