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Do Glasses Make Your Eyes Worse?

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A young woman holding her glasses over her nose and looking into the camera with a perplexed expression

An unfortunate misconception we hear as eye care professionals is the worry that wearing glasses or any form of vision corrective lenses (like contact lenses) will worsen one’s eyesight. This is false! Wearing glasses helps to improve one’s vision when used properly.

We’ll explain why wearing glasses is helpful for your vision, why individuals may notice a change in their prescription over time, and why wearing glasses may appear to be making your vision “worse.”

Why You Should Wear Your Glasses 

If you need glasses due to refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, or presbyopia, your eyes will not see clearly to begin with.

An eye is meant to be round with a slight bulge at the front. Refractive errors cause our eyes to be shaped either too long (myopia) or too short (hyperopia). The shape of our eyes can change over time due to various factors such as genetics, environmental stress, or aging. 

Wearing glasses can give your eyes the necessary tools to correct your vision and see clearly. Glasses work by adjusting the way light rays enter the eyes, helping to focus the light rays correctly on the retina. 

Wearing glasses doesn’t correct the physical structure of your eye, but they are used as a temporary tool to correct the shape of your eye and allow the light to focus properly on the retina. Only surgical procedures can help reshape your cornea.

Why Do Our Glasses Prescription Become Stronger?

Just as your body changes, so do your eyes. Myopia, for example, usually develops or worsens during childhood and adolescence as the eye grows and elongates. This elongation can continue into early adulthood, which is why some individuals see their prescriptions change. 

The need for a stronger prescription isn’t from wearing glasses but from your eyesight naturally adjusting to your eye growing and elongating. Over time, this prescription should stabilize. 

Myopia typically increases with age. Presbyopia is age-related and begins to occur in middle-aged individuals, resulting in some needing to wear reading and computer glasses. This is due to no fault of their own and is a natural part of the aging process.

A woman holding her eyeglasses with both hands, squinting to see clearly on her laptop

Why Does My Vision Feel Worse With Updated Glasses?

If this is your first time wearing glasses, or if you haven’t updated your prescription in a long time, it may feel as though your updated prescription is too strong. Give your glasses a chance!

When wearing an updated prescription, your brain needs time to adjust. During this time, you may notice poor depth perception, blurry vision, visual distortions, and slight discomfort. This is common. 

This adjustment period is temporary and doesn’t suggest a decline in vision. During this time, your brain gets used to the corrected visual information your glasses provide. This adjustment period can take about a week if you wear your glasses regularly and frequently. Take breaks with your updated glasses if necessary during this adjustment period. 

If you continue to experience these symptoms after wearing your updated prescription frequently for over a week, visit your optometrist.  

Can Wearing Glasses Improve Vision?

Glasses and contact lenses are tools for correcting vision. Not wearing glasses can lead to health concerns such as eye strain, headaches, eye fatigue, and squinting. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit your optometrist. 

Not correcting refractive errors in children may lead to serious ocular concerns such as strabismus (crossed eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye) or can worsen the refractive error. 

Over time, you will typically become more dependent on your glasses. This is not because your vision is getting worse. Instead, it’s because your eyes have adjusted to seeing clearly with them. 

While glasses can’t change the shape of your eye (which causes refractive errors), correcting your vision can help prevent further eye strain, fatigue, and squinting. Only surgery can help correct the shape of the eye to help with vision correction.

Recent developments in eye care have found ways to manage and treat myopia progression in children. This includes using specialized contact lenses for myopia control, ortho-k lenses, and atropine drops. There’s no cure for myopia, but these tools can help slow its progression in children. 

Come Visit Our Team! 

Wearing your glasses won’t weaken your vision. Glasses are a simple and effective means to correct visual errors, improve the health of your eyes, and improve your quality of life! 

If you have concerns about your vision, it’s always best to seek professional advice. Remember that regular eye exams are critical for maintaining good eye health and making sure you have the correct prescription to support your vision. Schedule a visit with our team at Blue Bird Vision + Wellness today!

Dr. Cody Jones, O.D. at Bluebird Eye Care in Blackfoot, Idaho.

Written by Dr. Cody Jones

Dr. Jones is a fully licensed Doctor of Optometry (O.D.). He graduated from Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Philadelphia with academic and clinical honors—receiving both Doctor of Optometry and Bachelor of Science degrees. Upon his graduation, Dr. Jones served as an officer and doctor at the Naval Medical Center of San Diego, where he gained valuable experience. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal during this service.

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