Shore Eye Associates

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Why you should always bring your current glasses to your eye exam (even if you hate them)


Despite requests from our office staff to bring your current glasses to your office visit, many people show up without them.

Sometimes it’s an oversite: “I was rushing to get here and forgot them”, “I left them in the car”, “I picked up my wife’s glasses instead of mine by mistake”.  We’ve heard them all.

Sometimes it is unavoidable: “I lost them”, “They were stolen”, “I ran them over with the car”, “I left them on the roof of the car and drove away and now they are gone”, “The dog ate them (that one was my own son after returning from a friend’s house)”.  We’ve heard all these too.

Frequently, however, it’s intentional.  There is a perception by some people that if they don’t like their current glasses or feel like they are not working well for them that they are better off having their eye doctor start over from scratch.  Why would I want the doctor to utilize a pair of glasses I’m not happy with as a basis or starting point for my next pair of glasses?

There are two main reasons why it is important for us to know what you last pair of glasses were.

The first is to see what type of glasses they are and how you see out of them.  Are they just distance? Just reading? A bifocal?  A trifocal? A progressive?  Even if you feel they aren’t working for you it is important for us to know the type of lens you had previously.  It is also important to know how you see out of them and what the previous prescription was. This can help us determine if the new prescription is going to be better compared it to how you see out of the old one.

The second reason we like to know what was in your last pair of glasses is because the majority of people who wear eyeglasses have some degree of astigmatism in their eyeglass prescription.  A full explanation of astigmatism can be found in our previous blog post Should I worry about astigmatism.  A significant change in either the amount or axis of the astigmatism correction from one pair of glasses to the next is often not tolerated well especially in adults.  If you make too big of a change from the previous prescription many people experience a pulling sensation in their eyes when they wear the new glasses.  It can cause symptoms of eye strain, headaches and can often make flat objects like a table look like they are slanted. 

Many of the problems that occur when you try and give someone a new eyeglass prescription without the benefit of knowing what the last pair of glasses were could be avoided if we just knew the last prescription and how you see out of them.

Anytime you are going to the eye doctor it is important to bring your last pair of glasses (not every pair you have ever owned) with you to the exam.

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Wednesday, 01 December 2021

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