Optometrist Questions Vision Impairment and Blindness

Why does my eyesight get worse every year?

I have worn glasses for 10 years. I get my eyes checked every year and each time my eyesight is slightly worse. So my lens prescription changes every year. Could it be an underlying problem? What could be causing this?

11 Answers

It is common for people that spend more than half their waking hours on close work, phone apps, and computer screens to have the optical system increase the nearsightedness. This blurs distance vision periodically, and can only be remedied by stronger lenses. There is a hereditary component to this as well. Look up often, get an hour of outside activity a day, and avoid positioning your close work in front of a wall.

Robert C. Layman, O.D.
In most cases, the eyes just naturally change over time. Just as your muscles and joints and the rest of your body changes with time and age, the eyes do the same. If you are going in for annual eye exams with an optometrist, they are also checking to make sure that no eye diseases are popping up over time. If there was an underlying problem or something
abnormal, your doctor would let you know. Please try not to worry, it is normal for the eyes to change, but please continue seeing your doctor every year to stay on top of any health problems that could arise.
Not necessarily an underlying problem, depending on your age our eyes tend to change a little bit as we get older until we reach a sort of plateau. It is common, and annoying for patients, for their prescription to change even a little bit each year. However, it never hurts to follow up with your PCP and make sure your health is in order.
This is perfectly normal for your prescription to change a little each year. Prescription normally stabilize in your 20's.
There are many reasons your vision can change as often as every year or even MORE frequently. First lets do what your doctor does: RULE OUT DISEASES.

Do you have Diabetes, or any other blood sugar disorder, High Blood pressure, Elevated cholesterol, thyroid disease,cancer or neurodegenerative disease? If the answer is no GREAT. Lets take the next step and review your refraction or measurement of the focusing capability of the eye far and near.. Does the refraction relatively stronger or weaker than last year? Has your job changed? Are you spending ore time on a digital device for work or recreation? Are there additional or fewer stresses on your vision now? Are you approaching your 40s? Does the problem show up reading or driving? Is glare worse at night? So the answers range from body and health issues, work and recreation tasks, developing cataracts or the normal processes of adding that extra year.
Hello, thank you for your question.
During an eye test, the health of the eyes are generally checked out as well, so if there was an underlying issue, we would be able to pick it up.
If you're not sure, get a second opinion.
Also, with regards to the glasses, it's very hard to predict when the vision will stabilise, please be assured that vision and health can be 2 different things, and even someone with very healthy eyes may need stronger glasses every year.
The human eye can continue to grow throughout life, and can be influenced by things like near work and undue visual stress. Occasionally, vision disorders that are inheritable - such as myopia - can be progressive because of the underlying structural problems within the retina itself.

If a person has very high amounts of myopia, this could be cause for concern of excessive thinning of the retina and subsequent problems with best-obtainable vision. This should be evaluated annually with a dilated retinal examination.

If you are a person who spends a lot of time on near work and/or computers, I would suggest trying to take visual breaks so as to relax your visual system. Letting your eyes defocus throughout the day may help in preventing progressive changes in your vision.
This is a good questions and I understand your concern. The answer can vary
depending on the type of refractive error you have and your age. If you
are under the age of 22 years and if you are near sighted (myopic) (blurred
distance vision without glasses), this slight change each year is very
normal. Typically a myopic person's refractive error (glasses prescription)
will be fairly stable throughout your 20s and 30s. After age 40, a person's
eyes will go through changes requiring the need to add a bifocal to your
lenses. Again, this is completely normal. If a person if far sighted
(hyperopic) (blurred near vision without glasses and/or eye strain with
reading), a slight change each year is normal, even throughout your 20s and
30s. After 40, a bifocal will help you see optimally at distance and near.
If you have astigmatism (especially high astigmatism) it is not unusual to
find slight changes each year. An increase in astigmatism every year
throughout your 20s and 30s would trigger an investigation of the health of
your cornea to rule out corneal dystrophies such as keratoconus. No matter
what your age, large, frequent changes or fluctuations in your prescription
could possibly indicate systemic issues such as high blood glucose levels
or can occur with some medications such as oral steroids. Since you mention
slight change yearly, it is unlikely due to systemic issues or to a corneal
dystrophy. As you can see, the answer to your question can vary based on
your age and type of refractive error you have.

Keep getting your eyes checked annually and let me know if you have further
questions...

Dr. B
It is not uncommon to have a prescription change each year. Usually these changes are slight to fine tune your vision. At ages earlier than 20 years old you can have more changes, then usually it stabilizes between age 20-40. At around age 40 your near vision changes and this may also affect your distance vision. This does not mean there is an underlying problem. If you are seeing a professional optometrist, your eye exam includes a careful eye health assessment. Make sure to listen to the recommendations of your doctor and get exams at least yearly.
If you are near sighted ( myopic) and in your teens /early 20s it's normal for a change in glasses /contacts Rx. it should stabilize in mid to late 20s. Myopic progression usually happens in teen age years
As we physically keep changing , due to age, career, health... etc. , so will our vision. It's normal. We all do.