Why did my glasses prescription change?

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Answers provided by Dr. Mitchell Gossman, M.D., ophthalmologist at Eye Associates of Central Minnesota, St. Cloud


Answers provided by Dr. Mitchell Gossman, M.D., ophthalmologist at Eye Associates of Central Minnesota, St. Cloud


Why did my glasses prescription change?


The eye is like a camera. The light that enters the front of the eye through the pupil is focused on the retina to produce an image that is delivered to your brain where you sense the image. The retina is like the film or digital sensor in a camera.


The light is focused in part by the lens of your eye, which sits behind the pupil. This natural lens is what often becomes cloudy, at which point we call it a cataract. However, the cornea, the clear, round window overlying the pupil, does 2/3 of the focusing.


So, things are complicated. The light enters the eye, first focused by the cornea, then passing through the pupil where it’s focused again by the lens, and finally, the focused image falls upon the retina. (If you’re into photography, the eye has a “multi-element lens.”)


The focusing power of the cornea and lens must have the exact power necessary to focus precisely at the distance to the back of the eye where the image is formed. If there’s a mismatch between the power of the cornea and lens and the distance to the retina, you have what is called a “refractive error,” and your eye needs a little help with a third man-made lens in the form of a contact lens or glasses.

One reason your glasses prescription might change is because of the length of your eye changes. This can happen when we get older, are injured, develop cataracts, or some other medical issue or life change. Stock photo

The reason the glasses prescription may change is that the length of the eye changes, the power of the natural lens of the eye changes, or the power of the cornea (which depends on its curvature) changes. This can be due to getting older, injuries, cataract development, and a lot of other factors such as even diabetes and pregnancy.


As you see, you need an eye doctor to navigate this to get the right glasses prescription and determine the reason for the change.


When do I need to change glasses?


The time to get new glasses is if you’re troubled by blurry vision, and the evidence points to a new glasses prescription helping with this. Even then it’s optional because with the eye being like a camera, there’s no harm living with a blurry image any more than taking a blurry picture harms a camera. You may suffer with the blur, but it’s harmless otherwise. Of course, it’s good to always have a valid glasses prescription in case you lose or damage your glasses.

There is one exception where you may think your vision is fine but you should still get new glasses: If your vision isn’t at least 20/40 in one without glasses, or with the glasses you have. If you don’t have this 20/40 or better vision, you will flunk your next driver’s license exam.




Find Out More:

Dr. Mitchell Gossman is a comprehensive ophthalmologist at Eye Associates of Central Minnesota. The office is located at 628 Roosevelt Road, Suite 101, in St. Cloud. To make an appointment or to learn more, call 320-774-3789 or email info@eaofcm.com.


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