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Effects of Not Wearing Glasses

By Essilor News

Now seen as a fashion statement, glasses are more popular than ever. But even with their newfound fame, some people who need glasses still aren’t wearing them. Whatever the reason may be, not wearing your glasses can have serious short-term and long-term effects.

Squinting, headaches, and fatigue

Squinting, frequent headaches, rubbing your eyes, and fatigue are all signs you might need glasses. Not wearing glasses also poses an interruption to daily life as you might bump into or trip over things, be unable to see far away or up close (more on that later), or have trouble reading or seeing at night. Less obvious warning signs vary by age. For example, adults might hold books farther away while children might avoid activities that require vision, such as homework. 

Increased risk of injury

Anytime someone who needs corrective glasses chooses not to wear them, they aren't functioning with the clearest vision possible. Because almost 90 percent of a person's reaction ability while driving relies on sight, when someone gets behind the wheel without wearing glasses, they put themselves and others at a greater risk of injury. Also, when children don’t wear glasses, they can experience playground and sporting injuries that could easily have been avoided.

Long-term effects

More long-term effects of not wearing glasses may include incomplete development of the eyes. Getting a clear image to the retina helps the eyes develop, so when vision isn't clear it keeps the eyes from developing normally.

If you’re nearsighted

People who have nearsightedness (also known as myopia) have difficulty seeing objects that are far away and can only focus on objects up close. An eyeglass prescription for someone who is nearsighted will contain a minus sign, because power needs to be taken away from the eye to allow it to see at a distance. When a young person who is nearsighted doesn't wear corrective glasses, they run the risk of their eyes becoming lazy.

If you’re farsighted

If the eyes work harder to focus on close-up objects, they are considered farsighted. When someone who is farsighted doesn't wear glasses, the eyes have to work harder to focus, often leading to headaches and fatigue. A common complaint from children who are farsighted is that they don't like to read. They'll be able to accommodate their sight to focus on objects, but will have long-term effects if their vision goes uncorrected.

The importance of wearing the right glasses

Wearing glasses that are too strong for near vision tasks can be just as problematic as not wearing corrective lenses. Reading glasses that are too strong will require the wearer to hold things closer to their face. Also, glasses with too strong of a prescription can cause headaches and fatigue.

Personalization is extremely important when it comes to optimizing performance with modern-day corrective lenses. Several factors like the position of the eyes, the angle and position of the frame, and the distance between pupils make prescription glasses unique for each wearer. Therefore, prescription glasses should never be shared, even if the prescription value is assumed to be similar.