If there is one question that Optometrists encounter on a regular basis, it is this one: “Will glasses make my eyes worse?” Many people believe that the longer you wear spectacles the worse your eyesight becomes. But are they right?
There are many reasons why people choose to not wear their glasses. Some fear that wearing glasses too often will weaken their eyesight, and that they will increasingly rely on them going forward.
The truth about adult’s vision & glasses
There are many different reasons why people wear glasses but put simply, due to
- Short-sightedness, or myopia, where things in the distance are blurry
- Long/far-sightedness, or hyperopia, where you can’t focus on things close up or tire while doing so.
- Long-sightedness is often age-related: many people begin noticing in their 40-50s that it’s difficult to read in low lighting. This is also called Presbyopia. As we age the lenses in our eyes gradually stiffen, making it harder to adjust focus to different distances. When people get to the stage where their arms are not long enough to hold a book or menu far enough away to focus on the text, they opt for reading glasses.
Why then do people believe that glasses have made their eyesight worse? People may gradually find themselves more and more dependent on their specs because the lens inside the eye has continued to deteriorate with age. So people find themselves needing their glasses more often, leading them to conclude that the glasses must have made their sight worse, where in fact, there’s no causal relationship. Whether or not you choose to wear your reading glasses as an adult will make no difference to your eyesight in the long run. Whether one chooses to wear reading glasses or not after 40, the progress of blurriness will continue although without glasses, headaches and eye-strain is common.
The truth about children’s vision & glasses
The situation is completely different with children. Not wearing the right glasses, or any glasses at all if they are needed, can have a long-term impact.
The benefits of wearing glasses if you’re a child who needs them, are clear. Children’s eyes need to learn to see, so if they don’t have the right glasses they can develop so-called “lazy-eye” or amblyopia because they’ve never had a sharp image on their retina. The correct prescription has also been shown to improve reading speed and reduce the risk of developing a squint.
Beyond clear vision, glasses may also be prescribed for comfort and eye alignment allowing the eyes to work more effectively together. Glasses prescribed for this purpose can help reading and comprehension and assist a child in doing near work longer and more comfortably.
Wearing glasses does not weaken your eyes. Let’s put this myth to bed, once and for all!
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