Reading glasses are never cool. Ever.

What do your glasses say about you?

It’s a simple question with, at least on the surface, a simple answer.

They either say “Hey, I’m cool.” or, provide people with an indication of your age, or just highlight the fact you simply cannot see very well. And oftentimes all three.

But look beyond the four-eyed facade, behind the thick rims that sit between your eyes and the world, and you can see they’re actually communicating a lot more than you’d first think.

They can’t help but do so — the face carries a wealth of information that we use to aid in communicating with other people.

Lines, gestures, behaviours, and expressions all contribute to the messages we’re trying to deliver. And when you put anything on your face or in the way of these communication signals, they alter how you’re interpreted. In doing so, they also change the way you’re perceived, causing conflict between what you say and how you come across.

Glasses cover the most communicative parts of the body — your eyes — and a large portion of the face in general, are one of the biggest culprits of miscommunication.

What your glasses are really saying about you

As they’ve recently been a hot trend in film and media, one of the topics glasses can’t help but be a spokesperson for is your style and fashion sense.

But on a level of communication much deeper than fleeting fashions, glasses are sending a much harsher message. Glasses are, after all, a medical aid that is used to help you see, much in the same way canes help you walk and hearing aid helps you hear.

On a deeper level still, is the fact that, as glasses act as a boundary between the eyes and the world, they’re often used to hide and distance oneself from the real world. People come to use them as a way to feel secure and avoid intimacy with other people, and in doing so, may communicate negative emotions.

This couldn’t be summed up better than with the words of Dr Neil Handley, the curator of the British Optical Association Museum at the College of Optometrists, who says, “If the eyes are the window into somebody’s soul, [glasses wearers] are putting some obstruction in the way.”

If you’re anything like me, though, you couldn’t care less what other people think about you and your glasses. More importantly is the effect they have on your own self-image and how, in consequence, they make you feel and act in the world.

Glasses are loaded with hidden meanings and have much to do with generating the negative ideas we have about ourselves. But it’s not all gloom and doom; whereas you used to have to deal with the reality of reading glasses as you got older, today it’s completely in your power to avoid them.