40

I just recently received my first pair of eyeglasses. My eye doctor stated that contrary to popular belief, that wearing the glasses will not weaken my eyes any further. However my sister-in-law went to her eye doctor just last week where her doctor said the exact opposite, that she was wearing her glasses too much, which caused her eyes to weaken. Is this simply a myth? All I can seem to find is personal experiences rather than firm facts.

  • 3
    I suspect that the myth is prepetuated by the way the mind works. When you are used to not wearing glasses your mind tends to compensate and make some corrections. After wearing glasses for a few days this seems to stop. In addition your eyes feel more tired when not wearing glasses than they used to. I suspect this is a perception issue. When the eye doesnt need to work as hard then you remove your glasses you start to feel the strain that was never present prior to removing because the eyes do not have to work so hard. – Chad Jun 23 '11 at 18:26
  • "I suspect that the myth is prepetuated by the way the mind works." Safe bet, uh, @Chad? ;-) – Sklivvz Oct 15 '11 at 7:56
  • I don't know about prescritions lenses, but just lately I wore reading glasses a lot because I had a big project I was working on and I was playing a game I needed glasses for too. After a few weeks of this I started to feel funny when I was doing things not wearing the glasses, sort of faint, or dizzy. After a few days of fretting about it I realized I felt perfectly fine walking around if I had the reading glasses on, and only felt bad if they were off. I realized that my eyes were having difficulty focusing quickly enough without the reading glasses, and it was making me feel funny. I could – user14011 Jun 1 '13 at 7:52
  • Define "weaken". There are two issues here--does your vision change (which has been addressed) and do your eye muscles weaken from a lack of exercise since they aren't having to hold your eyes off their natural focal point as much. My experience from my earlier days of wearing glasses suggests that the latter is an issue--I found going without caused a lot more eyestrain after a while of wearing them. – Loren Pechtel Nov 3 '16 at 19:30
27

The Unversity of Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary - Clinical & Research Facilities website states as a counter to

Myths about Vision and Eyeglasses "Although eyeglasses makes you see better, they cause vision to get worse over time. Eyeglasses will need to be constantly changed with higher powered one."

Reply

Of course it is possible that your eye power may also have increased as you age - but this increase would have happened regardless of whether you wore the glasses or not. When children become nearsighted (myopic), usually between the ages of 8 and 12, there is a natural progression in their myopia and a need for a stronger correction over the next few years. These children, as well as nearsighted adults, may believe that glasses have weakened their eyes when their lens prescription needs to be made strong. Glasses, however, do not weaken eyes; they are simply aids to improve vision.

Anecdotally I can add I have been wearing spectacles for short-sightedness since the age of 10, and the power increased every 6 months or so until the age of 16 - after which it has been steady. As per the above article, it would have got that way irrespective of having worn spectacles.

The above link is one side of the story.

On the other hand, William Bates used to advocate not using spectacles,

The usual method to correct faulty vision is by wearing prescribed glasses. But, some people have claimed that this would not improve vision, i.e. not solving the root of the problem.

The first person to publicly spread this message was William Bates of the 1900's. To him, wearing glasses merely makes our faulty vision more persistent. Just as over-strained muscles could improve, our eye can improve with the use of routine eye exercises

but the Bates Method has already been discussed on these pages and not proven to be effective. It's been derided on it's own Wikipedia page as well.

With regards to farsightedness, other than this link from an eye care provider - no surprises there - I have come across forums that state "the doctor only asks you to wear them when reading and not always" - Is that what you've been told or heard?

The Readers Digest says

Fact: If you are prescribed glasses for distance or reading, use them. Trying to read without reading glasses will simply strain your eyes and tire them out. Using glasses won’t weaken your vision or lead to eye disease.

This seems generic, but I infer the "glasses for reading" bit covers farsighted users too.

  • Great links, I searched for this question prior to posting, but knew nothing of the Bates Method until today. The link provided seems more focused on nearsightedness, do you have anything further about farsightedness? – Scott Jun 23 '11 at 14:03
  • @Scott: Is it presbyopia or hyperopia you refer to? – JoseK Jun 23 '11 at 15:00
  • Hyperopia as it seems that presbyopia generally occurs regardless. Thanks for the update. – Scott Jun 23 '11 at 16:06
  • if you'd like to take a look at Bates's book, it's here of course it has been thoroughly refuted. – Monkey Tuesday Jun 24 '11 at 4:30
  • 1
    probably more of a typical "greedy corporations make us sick so they can sell us pills" type of scare story... – jwenting Jun 1 '13 at 11:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .