Whether you’re short-sighted or long-sighted, wearing spectacles is an easy and effective way to correct your eyesight. But despite this, many glasses-wearers still find that their eye prescriptions increase over time, as their vision slowly worsens. Could the glasses be to blame? Let’s take a look at the evidence to determine whether wearing glasses can really make your eyesight worse.
Old wives’ tale
Glasses have long been linked with vision loss, even among medical professionals, as this study into ‘ocular health myths’ reveals. Happily, despite it being a widely-held belief, there’s actually no evidence to suggest that using spectacles to fix your vision will ultimately cause your eyesight to degenerate. While many old wives’ tales have some basis in truth (such as carrots helping you see in the dark), this one can be safely ignored.
In fact, the best thing you can do to promote healthy vision is to keep using your chosen form of vision correction, be it glasses or contact lenses – just as long as they are the correct prescription.
Sources of the myth
If you were nodding along with the thought that eyesight is somehow ruined by glasses, you might be wondering where the rumour came from. After all, it’s a fairly widespread belief. Here are some reasons why many people believe that glasses are bad for the eyes:
- Vision gets worse over time. Many people don’t have a stable eye prescription; instead, they find that each time they visit the optician for an eye test, their vision has got gradually worse. But this isn’t actually linked to glasses wearing: age-related changes mean that it’s very common for our eyes to get steadily more far-sighted as we get older, for example. Of course, if you’re in any doubt, always see your specialist to check out what’s behind your vision problems.
- Wearing the wrong prescription. If it’s been a while since your last eye test, it may be time to book an appointment. Wearing glasses that under-correct your eyes could lead to eye strain, and you’re likely to experience the world around you as blurred. Children wearing the wrong prescription may even develop ‘lazy eye’ (amblyopia), and are at a higher risk of developing a squint.
- Vision getting worse throughout the day. Some glasses wearers experience sharper vision in the morning, but find that their eyesight deteriorates after a day in spectacles. But that’s likely to be down to the flexibility of the eyes first thing after a good night’s sleep, rather than the ill effects of glasses.
Looking after your eyes
To keep your vision at its best, it’s important to look after your eyes. Make sure you undergo regular eye tests, and eat a healthy, balanced diet to maintain eye health. If you wear contacts as well as glasses, don’t be tempted to keep them in longer than the recommended time limit (usually about 8 hours.)
Glasses won’t harm your vision, but if you have a steady prescription, it’s worth considering the alternatives. Quick, painless and safe, laser eye surgery is a convenient, reliable and permanent way to correct your eyesight.