After an eye exam, your optometrist informs you that you need to wear eyeglasses. That’s exciting! You can now see better and be more confident as you go through life. Back in the day, many people avoided wearing eyeglasses, fearing others would make fun of them. Thanks to the great improvement in eyewear designs, this is no longer the case. Glasses have become so stylish whilst allowing the wearer to enjoy a clearer vision.
But you may not be as excited about wearing your new spectacles if you’ve heard others saying that eyeglasses will not help your eyesight. They make it worse. Is it true? Can wearing glasses make your eyes worse?
It’s time for you to learn the truth straight from eye doctors and professionals at E Eye Place who have worked with eyes, especially eyes that require correction through prescription eyeglasses.
Can Glasses Make My Eyes Worse?
Ageing affects our eyesight. To compensate for the vision changes we experience as we get older, we turn to corrective lenses. However, many people are worried that wearing glasses, especially as they age, will only result in worse eyesight. This belief mainly stems from the eyes becoming dependent on the correction that prescription glasses provide.
Here’s a simple answer to the question “Can wearing glasses make your eyes worse,” which has been around for decades: NO. E Eye Place optometrists guarantee that wearing specs will not weaken your eyesight. The same goes for prescription contact lenses.
The argument here is based on your actual prescription, which is determined by your eye’s anatomy, including mainly the cornea’s front curve and the eyeball’s length. To make the long story short, wearing eyeglasses (or even contact lenses) will not have a direct effect on your eye’s anatomy. Therefore, it will not change your prescription, even if you wear the specs daily for several hours. Remember that refractive errors will keep progressing, whether you wear glasses or not.
Taking off your eyeglasses makes it seem that your surroundings are blurrier, so you always want to wear them. After all, how can you see clearly without your specs? But does this tell you that you need your glasses more than you did before you started wearing them?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), that’s not the case at all. You’re more likely getting used to seeing clearly. And because you see the world the way you’re supposed to see it, why would you want to go back to your blurry vision? This is true even for those who thought they did not have vision problems before wearing glasses.
Myths About Glasses
Here are two more erroneous details about wearing glasses that are often taken as facts:
1. Glasses Will Weaken Your Eyes Over Time
This myth entails forcing the eyes to focus, an act believed to strengthen the muscles around the eyeballs. According to those who support this statement, making the eyes focus can help delay the progress of refractive errors.
If you have been trying to focus on objects, especially when reading or watching TV, without the aid of prescription glasses, you’re doing more harm than good. This habit is actually what weakens the eyes, not eyeglasses.
Think about it; after just a few minutes of focusing, you will immediately feel eye strain and fatigue. Even worse is that refractive errors progress quicker than when you wear specs prescribed to you.
If your child has myopia, you will most likely see them squinting their eyes, which allows them to see better. Some parents think that poor eyesight will correct itself as the kid grows. Unfortunately, it won’t. You need to have your child checked and get prescription glasses for them.
2. The Eyes Will Get Used to Glasses Even if You’re Wearing the Wrong Prescription
It may be time for a new eye exam to see if adjustments are required. However, if you skipped this step, or perhaps you ordered your new glasses online using your old prescription, you will not benefit from your specs at all.
You may chalk the discomfort up to your new glasses, so you wait a few more days or even weeks to feel better. In reality, new glasses can give you headaches and eye strain – even if they have the correct prescription. However, this discomfort will eventually disappear unless you wear the wrong prescription. Your glasses may not be fitted properly to your face, which is a massive problem if you purchase your specs online.
Although they may cause you some distress, incorrect prescriptions do not have a significant impact on your eyesight. However, it is something to be careful with when it comes to children, as it leads to quicker myopia progression. That’s why you should ensure accurate prescriptions for the young ones through regular eye exams.
The Effects of Wearing the Wrong Glasses
Since wearing the wrong prescription does not have substantial consequences on your eyesight, does this mean you can continue wearing your glasses? You can, but it will result in eye strain, whether one or both lenses have the wrong prescription.
Here are signs that your prescription may be incorrect:
Finding it difficult to keep your eyes open
Neck, back, and shoulder soreness (typically due to bad posture)
Itching or burning
The symptoms we have listed above tell you it’s time to schedule an eye exam and get your new corrective eyewear.
How Bad is Screen Time for Your Eyes?
Speaking of eye strain, you probably experience the symptoms we shared above when you use your devices for long periods.
You love your phone and rely on it for various purposes. You also use your laptop or computer for work. And before going to bed, you probably watch TV to get some sleep. Technology offers numerous benefits to us and our everyday lives, but can too much screen time damage eyes?
There is no absolute proof that smartphones, tablets, and all blue light-emitting devices can harm the eyes. Many news and health information sources have suggested over the years that moderation is the key. Blue light blocking technology is available and used in many products with the promise of protecting the eyes, particularly the sensitive cells in the retina.
Despite some clarifications in the misinformation, many people still believe that blue light can cause retina damage. While it is true that you will not go blind, or your myopia will not get worse with your phone use, spending too much time with your digital devices can lead to eyestrain. Dry eyes, mostly because your eyes rarely blink when looking at your phone, may contribute to faster deterioration of your eyesight.
Always take frequent breaks when using your phone. Stick with the 20/20/20 rule and use lubricant drops whenever possible. Wearing the right prescription glasses, especially if you work on your laptop all day, is essential. With your corrective eyewear, you can keep your eyes at an arm’s distance from your screen.
Stephanie is an owner optometrist, researcher and educator. She has held clinical, teaching and research roles in Australia and overseas, and has extensive training and clinical experience. Stephanie is also the head optometrist at E Eye Place, on top of this, she is also currently a PhD candidate at UNSW. Dr Stephanie Yeo Optometrist BOptom (HC1) GradCertOcTher DOPT (Merit) CO Ophthalmic Medicines Prescriber.