Will Wearing Glasses Weaken My Vision?

A common eye health myth has been circulated for decades is that glasses are actually ruining your eyes and worsening your eyesight over time. Is wearing glasses really causing your eyes more harm than good?

In this article we will explore different hypotheses of this theory and debunk this myth once and for all.

Why Do We Wear Glasses in The First Place?

There are 166.5 million U.S. adults who wear prescription lenses to improve their eyesight. The two leading reasons why people wear glasses couldn’t be more different.

     - Myopia: Myopia, or short- or near-sightedness, causes 30 percent of glasses-users to have trouble focusing on objects that are far in the distance.

     - Hyperopia: Hyperopia, or long- or far-sightedness, affects the close-up vision of nearly 60 percent of people who wear spectacles.

For many individuals in the US, glasses are required to see books, road signs, and computer screens or to simply live day-to-day lives. In fact, one report claims that over 70 percent of the American work force requires corrective eyewear for daily usage. But could constantly wearing glasses do our eyes more harm than good?

The Facts About Wearing Glasses and Eyesight

In order to come to a solid conclusion on this myth, it’s necessary to understand some simple facts about eyesight.

     - Eyesight is not static, meaning it’s in a constant state of change. Even people with 20/20 vision experience constantly changing eyesight. Consider how your eyes feel after staring at a computer screen for a few hours: your eyes are likely heavy, tired, and watery from having to constantly adjust to what they are seeing.

     - Glasses are used to correct refractive errors in the eye, meaning they have to pick up the slack from the eye’s lens. A healthy, full-sighted lens is able to focus on the image we see and reflect it to the retina, where signals are transferred to our brain to create sight. When the lens has trouble focusing on an object, our brains ultimately struggle to make sense of the image which leads to squinting and more.

When fitted for glasses, a prescription is developed to correct eyesight to your best visual potential. Consider, then, getting your eyes checked after a long day of work. Chances are your eyes will be much more tired, strained, and irritated than they typically are. So, every time you wear your glasses, your eyes are forced to adapt to the same “tired-eye” conditions, even if they are wrong.

Because glasses help us to see better, we often find ourselves relying on them more or needing them more frequently than usual. For most of us, we simply conclude that the glasses are making our eyes worse. However, there is no correlation between worsening eyesight and increasing necessity for corrective lenses. Glasses or not, your eyesight will likely remain unaffected in the long run.

How Does Wearing Glasses Affect Children?

With approximately 6.8% of children younger than 18 years in the United States have a diagnosed eye and vision condition, it’s important to reflect on how glasses affect young eyes.

For years, many parents and eye professionals assumed that by deliberately under-correcting for shortsightedness, or giving children weaker prescriptions than actually needed, they could slow down the progression of myopia and force the eye to focus. However, the longest study to ever be conducted on children’s eyesight recently concluded that this is an ineffectual solution.

Furthermore, with 80 percent of the brain’s visual learning happening in the first twelve years of life, providing children with proper eye care is vital for their education and proper brain functioning. By under-correcting or neglecting vision in children, they risk developing a “lazy eye” or amblyopia, which is a result of the retina constantly retaining fuzzy, blurred images.

Will Wearing Glasses Weaken My Vision?

With little statistics to draw on and arguably weak evidence to support the theory, it’s safe to say that glasses do not cause more harm than good to your eyes. However, this is a largely circumstantial conclusion, assuming that you maintain proper vision health, undergo regular eye exams, and are under the quality care of a professional optometrist.

By neglecting your eyesight and not wearing proper glasses, you could potentially cause long-term damage to your vision. Ensure your vision health is in good hands with the eye care professionals at VSP. With affordable vision insurance plans and a staff of dependable eye-care experts, you can rest assured knowing your eyes are well looked after.

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