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How Long Is an Eye Prescription Good for in California

How Long Is an Eye Prescription Good for in California?

When it comes to eye prescriptions, it’s important to know how long they are valid for. In California, the duration of an eye prescription is regulated by state law. This article will explore the validity period of eye prescriptions in California, as well as address frequently asked questions on the topic.

In California, an eye prescription, also known as a spectacle or contact lens prescription, is typically valid for a period of two years. This means that once you have received your prescription, you can use it to purchase eyeglasses or contact lenses for up to two years without needing a new examination. However, it’s important to note that there are certain circumstances where the validity period may differ.

One such circumstance is if you have a specific eye condition or require a particular type of correction. In such cases, your eye care professional may determine that a shorter validity period is necessary to ensure your eye health and vision are properly managed. This decision will be based on your individual needs and the professional judgment of your eye care provider.

Another situation where the validity period may differ is for individuals under the age of 18. In California, minors are required to have an eye examination every year in order to obtain a valid prescription. This is because children’s eyes are still developing, and their vision can change more rapidly compared to adults. Regular eye exams help ensure that any changes in their visual needs are identified and addressed in a timely manner.

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It’s worth mentioning that the two-year validity period applies to the prescription itself, not necessarily the frames or lenses you purchase. If you decide to replace your glasses or contact lenses within the two-year period, you can do so using your existing prescription. However, it’s always a good idea to consult with your eye care professional to ensure that the prescription is still accurate and suitable for your needs.


Q: Can I use an expired eye prescription to purchase glasses or contact lenses?
A: No, once your eye prescription has expired, it is no longer considered valid. To ensure optimal vision and eye health, it is recommended to have regular eye examinations and obtain a new prescription when needed.

Q: Can I use an out-of-state eye prescription in California?
A: California law recognizes valid eye prescriptions from out-of-state eye care professionals. However, it’s important to note that some insurance policies may require a local eye examination to be covered for eyewear or contact lenses.

Q: What if I have a medical condition that requires more frequent eye examinations?
A: If you have a specific eye condition or medical condition that necessitates more frequent eye examinations, your eye care professional will determine the appropriate interval for your follow-up visits. This could mean shorter validity periods for your prescriptions.

Q: Can I renew my eye prescription online?
A: Yes, in California, you can renew your eye prescription online through telemedicine services. However, it’s important to ensure that the online service is legitimate and follows all state regulations for issuing eye prescriptions.

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Q: Can I buy glasses or contact lenses without a prescription?
A: In California, it is illegal to sell glasses or contact lenses without a valid prescription. This is to ensure that individuals receive the appropriate vision correction and prevent potential harm to their eyes.

In conclusion, eye prescriptions in California are typically valid for two years, although certain circumstances may require shorter validity periods. Regular eye examinations are essential to ensure optimal eye health and vision, particularly for children and individuals with specific eye conditions. It’s always advisable to consult with your eye care professional if you have any concerns or questions regarding your eye prescription.

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