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Does Wearing Glasses Make My Eyesight Worse?

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Simply, no.

Wearing glasses doesn’t make your eyesight worse or your eyes lazy.

In fact, quite the opposite, NOT wearing the prescription you have been prescribed is what can make your eyes worse!

Glasses, contact lenses, and all corrective lenses will only ever make your eyesight better— (when you’re wearing them as prescribed, of course). 

Glasses weakening eyesight is a common myth. In this blog, we’ll debunk this claim and explain why wearing glasses will only improve your eyesight.

Glasses sat on wrattan chair

Does Wearing Glasses Weaken Your Eyes?

Wearing glasses doesn’t weaken your eyes in any way. There’s a common misconception that wearing glasses weakens your eyes over time. This belief stems from the idea that reliance on corrective lenses somehow leads to the deterioration of our natural vision. However, this notion couldn't be further from reality and lacks any scientific merit.

If Glasses Don't Weaken Your Eyes, Why Does My Prescription Keep Increasing?

Glasses prescriptions can change over time due to various factors, and understanding these changes is crucial for maintaining optimal eye health.

Myopia, or shortsightedness, often tends to progress with age due to the eye growing as we grow. In fact, studies have shown not wearing the correct prescription is what can lead to myopia progressing.

Presbyopia is another age-related vision condition that typically emerges around the age of 40-45... the one when your arms are not long enough to read anymore! This is caused by lens fibres becoming stiffer (see below).

Because both myopia and presbyopia tend to increase with age, it can often feel like the glasses are what's causing this increase. However, the change was going to happen anyway... glasses simply give you the best vision and comfort possible along the way.

Neglecting to wear glasses when they're needed can lead to several problems. Uncorrected vision can cause eye strain, headaches, fatigue, all of which contribute to discomfort and decreased visual performance.

In more severe cases, especially in children, not wearing prescribed glasses can cause conditions like amblyopia (lazy eye). Which, if left untreated during childhood, can lead to permanent vision loss. Wearing prescribed glasses at an early age is crucial in managing and often correcting these conditions.

Can't I Strengthen My Eye Muscles by Exercising Them?

Unfortunately, this isn't like doing curls in the gym to strengthen your biceps! The eye focus isn't controlled by a muscle, but by ligaments and fibres. The focusing ability of the lens is primarily dependent on the flexibility of these surrounding ligaments and fibres that hold it in place.

These fibres are responsible for changing the shape of the lens to enable us to focus on objects at varying distances—near or far. These fibres lose their elasticity as we age, becoming stiffer and less pliable. This affects the lens's ability to change shape efficiently, therefore losing our natural ability to focus the lens.

As eye muscles themselves are not directly responsible for vision clarity, no amount of eye exercises can reverse or prevent this natural aging process. Wearing glasses doesn't affect the strength or health of these fibres. Eye exercises or techniques claiming to improve vision by strengthening these "muscles" lack scientific evidence and have never been proven effective.

Why Does It Seem Like My Eyesight Is Getting Worse After Wearing Glasses?

The sensation of worsened vision after wearing glasses can be confusing, but it doesn't mean your eyesight has deteriorated. Instead, it's a natural adjustment process that affects your perception of vision.

When you first start wearing prescription glasses or when your prescription changes, your eyes are suddenly introduced to a clearer and more accurate way of seeing the world. This clarity is an adjustment from what your eyes were previously accustomed to.

Your brain and eyes adapt quickly to the improved clarity provided by glasses. As you wear them consistently, your brain recalibrates to this new visual standard. Consequently, when you remove the glasses, you might perceive the world as blurrier than before because your brain has adapted to the enhanced clarity your glasses provide.

A little bit like switching between different screen resolutions (4K vs HD vs SD). We were all happy with SD until HD came along, then when 4K emerged, we couldn't ever imagine watching TV in any other definition. It's similar to how your eyes adjust to different levels of clarity, and when you switch back to a lower resolution, the contrast in visual quality becomes more noticeable.

Your eyesight isn’t actually getting worse after wearing the glasses—it just seems like it is. 

When you take off your prescription glasses, the world around you might seem blurrier than you remember. But nothing has changed, aside from your perspective. Your eyes and your brain are becoming accustomed to seeing the world a lot clearer, so the effects of uncorrected vision are more noticeable.

Does Wearing Glasses Improve Eyesight?

Wearing glasses does improve your eyesight, as prescription spectacles are intended to do—as long as you’re wearing the right ones. While your frames are fitting correctly, you should be able to see the world clearly and comfortably. (If not, speak with your dispensing optician as soon as possible). 

In most cases, eyesight stays about the same or gets a little worse over time. To be clear, that isn’t because of glasses—it’s just the natural aging change discussed above. 

That said, there are cases where glasses or contact lenses can help eyesight get better over time, especially with children. Corrective lenses designed to slow the progression of myopia can decrease the amount of change that might otherwise occur.

Get Your Eyes Checked So Glasses Can Help Your Vision

Regular eye examinations and using prescribed glasses as recommended by your optometrist are crucial for maintaining good eye health. These professionals can assess changes in vision and prescribe the appropriate corrective measures, ensuring that your eyes remain healthy and your vision clear.

In conclusion, the belief that wearing glasses weakens the eyes is a persistent myth without any scientific basis. Glasses and contact lenses are designed to aid vision and provide clarity without compromising the natural strength or health of the eyes. So, rest assured, wearing your glasses as prescribed will not make your eyes weaker—rather, it will allow you to see the world more clearly and comfortably.

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