How long is a contact lens prescription good for?

Medically reviewed by Tina Patel, Contact Lens Optician at Feel Good Contacts.

Contact lens prescriptions are generally valid for up to 2 years, meaning you can buy the contact lenses your prescription recommends for this duration. However, this depends on factors such as the lens type, wearing schedule, replacement schedule and how often you wear your lenses.

After your prescription expires, you should have an eye test and contact lens check-up so your optician can review your lenses and examine your eyesight. After your eye test, you will receive an updated prescription. In the UK, it's your legal right to request a copy of your prescription after your eye test and contact lens check.

At Feel Good Contacts, you can buy contact lenses without a prescription, as we don't need to see proof of your prescription. We trust you have a valid copy and know your visual requirements.

How frequently should you have your contact lenses checked?

Your optician will tell you when you need to return for a check-up; this usually differs depending on the individual. Generally, it is recommended that you have a yearly contact lens check-up to make sure your eyes are not being harmed by wearing contact lenses. However, some may require check-ups every 6-8 months or sooner. The maximum you should wait before a check-up is usually 24 months.

If you have problems with your lenses in between eye check-ups, you should consult your optician immediately.

Why are contact lens prescriptions tied to a specific brand?

Everybody's eyes are different, so contact lenses come in different sizes to fit all kinds of eyes. Every brand of contact lenses has different material properties and fitting characteristics that determine whether they are a comfortable choice for lens wearers.

An optician or ophthalmologist will measure your eyes during contact lens fitting and prescribe a lens type and brand that meets your specific requirements and wearing needs.

Can I use an expired contact lens prescription?

Contact lens prescriptions have an expiration date for a good reason. In the UK, a valid prescription provided by an optician is necessary. However, this does not mean you are obliged to purchase your lenses from the optician who carried out your eye test. It’s your legal right to request a copy of your prescription.

However, we always advise using a valid prescription when ordering your lenses. This will ensure you get the right lenses and level of correction for your individual needs.

Why is a contact lens prescription different to a glasses prescription?

Contact lens prescriptions are different to glasses prescriptions for many reasons, the main being how they're positioned. Whilst contact lenses sit directly on the eye's surface, glasses sit a few millimetres away from the eyes, therefore, the power value for each prescription needs to be calculated differently.

When you go for a lens fitting, additional measurements will need to be taken into consideration by your optician. This includes a base curve, diameter and the name and manufacturer of your contact lenses - all of which contribute to a proper fit. You will not find these measurements in a glasses prescription.

In addition to this, an optician will prescribe different types of lenses based on your individual needs. For example, daily disposables, monthlies, extended-wear, toric, and multifocal.

It's also important to note that sometimes a glasses prescription can have a cylinder value and an axis to correct astigmatism. These values will only appear on your contact lens prescription if your optician has prescribed toric contact lenses.

Those who have presbyopia may also need some additional values when ordering contact lenses for presbyopia.

How long can I wear one pair of contact lenses?

The length of time for which you can wear one pair of contact lenses depends on your wearing type and the advice given to you by your optician. Your optician will usually consider factors such as your age, occupation, lifestyle and daily schedule.

If you've been prescribed extended wear contact lenses, you can wear them day and night for up to a fixed time (usually one week to a month) without needing to remove them.

What happens if you wear the wrong prescription contact lenses?

Wearing the wrong power contact lenses over a long period of time can cause eye strain, headaches and even nausea. Additionally, your vision will most likely be blurred.

On the other hand, if you wear contact lenses that are too strong, this can also cause eye strain as your eyes will work harder to try to accommodate the higher power. To ensure you have optimal vision, you should always wear the correct power contact lenses.

How can I read my contact lens prescription?

Contact lens prescriptions include a base curve, diameter and powers, as well as cylinder and axis for toric contact lenses, this is more than enough to understandably cause confusion.

To make understanding your contact lens prescription easier, we've created a helpful guide on how to read your contact lens prescription.

If you’re still unsure, get in touch with our helpful customer service team who will be more than happy to help.

Quick links:

Can I order my contact lenses without a prescription?
Can I buy my contact lenses online?
How to Read Your Contact Lens Prescription
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