Can spectacles weaken your eyes?



If there is one question optometrists are asked on a regular basis, it has to be “Will spectacles make my eyes worse?” Many people believe that the longer you wear spectacles the worse your eyesight becomes. But are they right? 

There are many reasons why people choose to not wear their spectacles. They might dislike the way they look with them on or simply feel more comfortable without them. Beyond comfort and aesthetics, some people fear that wearing spectacles too often will weaken their eyesight, and that they will increasingly rely on them going forward. 

The truth about adult vision & spectacles
People wear spectacles due to:
- Short-sightedness, or myopia, which causes objects in the distance to appear blurry.
- Long/far-sightedness, or hyperopia, which can make it hard to focus on objects close-up or tire while doing so. 
- Long-sightedness is often age related. Many people notice that it becomes difficult to read in low lighting in their 40-50s. This is also called Presbyopia. As we age the lenses in our eyes gradually stiffen, making it harder to adjust focus to different distances. When people get to the stage where their arms are not  long enough to hold a book or menu far enough away to focus on the text, they opt for reading spectacles.

Why then do people believe that spectacles have made their eyesight worse?
People may gradually find themselves more and more dependent on their specs because the lens inside the eye has continued to deteriorate with age. So people find themselves needing their glasses more often, leading them to conclude that the spectacles must have made their sight worse, where in fact, there’s no causal relationship. Whether or not you choose to wear your reading spectacles as an adult will make no difference to your eyesight in the long run. Whether one chooses to wear reading spectacles or not after 40, the progress of blurriness will continue although without spectacles, headaches and eye-strain is common.  

The truth about children’s vision & spectacles
Not wearing the right spectacles, or any spectacles at all if they are needed, can have a negative long-term impact on a child's eyesight . 

Children’s eyes need to be trained, so if they don’t have the right spectacles they can develop so-called “lazy-eye” or amblyopia because they’ve never had a sharp image on their retina. The correct prescription has also been shown to improve a child’s reading speed and reduce the risk of developing a squint. 

Beyond clear vision, spectacles may also be prescribed for comfort and eye alignment allowing the eyes to work more effectively together. Spectacles prescribed for this purpose can help reading and comprehension and assist a child in doing near work longer and more comfortably.

Wearing spectacles does not weaken your eyes, let’s put this myth to bed, once and for all!

You might also want to read this article on dry eyes and seasonal changes