Can I Damage My Eyes with Poor Quality Eyewear?

The logic is clear. Saving a few bucks on your new sunglasses, reading glasses, or prescription frames has an instant return. Nevertheless, are there longer term consequences of your decision that’ll have you looking back with frustration?

The potential harm, or lack thereof, of low quality eyewear

Opposed to popular belief, wearing the wrong prescription lenses will likely not cause long term damage to your eyes or vision. Much more likely is the resulting discomfort your eyes will experience, as they try to readjust to the decrease in vision quality. The most common symptoms are listed below. 

With that said, purchasing from unreliable or low quality eyewear outfitters may lead to higher risks of receiving products with errors (especially the prescription lenses) or that do not live up to their warranties and your expectations. 

Symptoms you’ll have with a wrong prescription

Your vision changes naturally over time, so these symptoms apply if you have a new prescription or if you’ve been wearing your old glasses for too long. 

Blurry vision—adjusting to a new set of prescription frames generally takes a full two weeks. During this time, your vision may naturally blur occasionally, or even often. After this two week period, if your vision still continues to blur or cause problems, then your prescription might be responsible. Even a few degrees off causes blurring in many people’s eyes. 

Headaches—are oftentimes a direct result of eyestrain due to vision changes or improperly prescribed vision correction. Your brain will compensate for a change in vision by using more energy to focus. Over time, that leads to fatigue of your eyes, eyebrows, and brain, resulting in pain. 

Dizziness—and vertigo are associated with changes in depth perception. With an incorrect prescription, it’s possible that you will experience dizziness while sitting or standing. If you already have vertigo, changes to your vision will likely add to the problem. 

Squinting—is a natural way to improve visual focus and clarity, especially on bright, sunny days. If you find yourself squinting too often, especially while reading a book or using a computer, then you may have problems with your vision and need a new prescription. 

It’s also important to note that each one of these symptoms is not exclusive to an incorrect prescription. As such, if your prescription is corrected by your optometrist and these symptoms still happen to you, then see a doctor soon after. They may be a sign of other, more severe health conditions. 

The folly of buying cheap sun-, reading, and prescription glasses

The temptation is there. It’s understandable. But oftentimes, buying cheap sun- and reading glasses from a mall kiosk, or prescription frames from a discount online retailer will hurt you in the long run. While reading glasses may offer some adults a bit of solace from their emerging farsightedness, most of the time they are not properly calibrated for the person’s individual vision. Furthermore, the cheaper materials may cause skin irritation and break much more easily. 

Don’t fall for cheap sunglasses either. Darker lenses are not necessarily protecting your eyes from the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. Even when they claim to have 100% protection or 100% UV coverage, this still may not be the case. Speak with your eye doctor to find out which brands are most reliable. 

Finally, while prescription glasses may be found cheaper online, they are very difficult to match to your face without physically trying them on. Even with a sample pair sent to your home, it’s important to match the weight of the lenses with the frames you choose for maximum comfort. Only a trained optician will ensure you walk away with the best vision, style, and utility from your prescription frames. 

Ultimately, if you have any doubts regarding your new or old prescription frames, the best rule of thumb is to schedule a visit to your eye doctor and have him or her carry out a comprehensive eye exam. Listening to their advice, especially regarding reliable brands and retailers, will keep you looking forward with the highest level of visual acuity.