Are glasses bad for your eyes?

Glasses as we know them today—framed lenses with sides, or temples, that sit on your face as opposed to being held up by your hand—have only been widely available for the last hundred years or so.

Yet, by the sheer number of people who wear them today, the endless number of styles and shapes available, and the ease with which you pull them on and off and wipe a smear on the lens, you would think they’d been around forever.

Playing such a significant role in society and with such a prominent role on our faces, glasses have come to be used in many different ways and adopt many different meanings.

In some places like Hollywood, they have nothing to do with correcting vision but are a statement of fashion. But in more primitive societies, they are strange, alien-like devices that appear as some kind of x-ray goggle.

Along with their various purposes and impressions, there are also a number of ideas about the way in which glasses help or hinder your eyesight. In particular, some people think that over the long term, they may not make your vision better, but may actually make it worse.

It’s clear that glasses help millions of people around the world to see clearly, all while being accessible and low cost. But could they actually be making your vision worse and causing harm to your eyes?

Let’s find out.

The adjustment period

There are two main reasons you might believe your vision is getting worse when wearing glasses.

First, when you start wearing glasses, there can be an adjustment period in which it takes your eyes a little time to get used to the new way of seeing. You may experience some eye strain and headaches, and so naturally you might blame the glasses for making your vision worse.

However, this is considered normal and will typically go away within a few days or weeks as your eyes adjust to their new lenses.

The second reason is that, once you start wearing glasses often and get used to seeing with them, when you take them off, your vision can seem to have gotten worse. Again, the clear culprit is the glasses, but really you’re just experiencing the contrast between corrected and uncorrected vision.

Rather than thinking about glasses as making your vision worse, it’s more accurate to say they make it easier for you to see well. By wearing them often, your brain doesn’t have to spend effort in trying to interpret blurry images and making best guesses at what it’s seeing. And as you get out of the practice of doing these visual tricks, you start to see better with glasses than without.

But won’t my eye muscles get weaker?

There’s another belief that, by wearing glasses and becoming reliant on them, the tiny muscles in your eye that cause your lens to focus begin to atrophy, or weaken, and thus cause your vision to degrade faster than it normally would.

Along with this, others believe that if you wear the wrong prescription glasses it may damage your sight. Although they are both incorrect and nothing to worry about- if wearing cheap, general readers from the supermarket they can cause trouble like eye strain and headaches.

Refractive errors—shortsightedness, longsightedness, and astigmatism—progress regardless of whether you wear glasses or not. And so, by choosing not to correct them, you’re not doing your vision and eyes any favours. By wearing glasses or seeking vision correction treatment, you are taking the strain off your eyes and allowing yourself to see better.

Improving your vision without glasses

There’s some information out there that suggests you can improve your vision with nothing more than a few minutes of specific exercises every day.

Techniques such as palming—placing your palms gently over your eyes to block out light and thus allowing them to rest—and sunning—closing your eyes, facing the sun (presumably when it’s not too hot out) and swaying your head from left to right—are believed by some to be a few “natural” ways you can improve your vision.

But whether or not they actually work, and whether or not they can replace your glasses, is another thing. What they may do, however, is at the very least help give your eyes a break. Such exercises are not “exercises” as in you are actively strengthening or working out your eyes. Taking this approach may only serve to increase tension. They are instead ways of letting go of strain and giving your eyes some well-needed chill out time.

One safe and proven way to improve your vision without glasses or any other visual aid is Laser Eye Surgery. Unlike glasses or contacts or even eye exercises, Laser Eye Surgery is not a temporary intervention but a permanent change that can give you clear and healthy vision for decades, if not for life.

To find out more about the benefits of Laser Eye Surgery or to book your complimentary initial consultation, contact one of our friendly clinic coordinators today