We see patients every week who are reluctant to get glasses because they've heard that wearing eyeglasses will make their eyes more dependent on said glasses. But don’t you believe it! THIS IS A MYTH! However, it is a popular myth because certain inevitable changes in the human body can deceptively make this myth appear to be fact.
To make matters more confusing, there are some companies that have perpetuated and exploited this myth to sell their “no-glasses” products, such as the defunct See Clearly Method. As you will see, clearly the truth is that, with few exceptions, glasses will have no effect on whether your eyes will get better or worse--they will simply help you see more clearly and comfortably.
The reason the myth is so popular is because there are two categories of people who both (1) need a vision prescription and (2) who will also continually need a stronger prescription, whether they wear their glasses or not. What’s more is that you--yes you--fit into one of these categories… or you will eventually.
CATEGORY #1: YOUTHS
If a young person is nearsighted, as are approximately 25% of Americans, then they will also gradually become more nearsighted until they stop growing. This change occurs regardless of whether glasses, contacts, ski goggles, hair barrettes or anything else is worn. So when the nearsighted youngster gets their first pair of glasses, they will inevitably need a stronger prescription within a year or two. The conspiracy theorists out there say, “Ah-ha! Those glasses made their eyes worse.” What they fail to realize is the eyes would’ve worsened regardless.
CATEGORY #2: EVERYONE
Yes, everyone! Everyone past age 40, anyway. Eye focusing, or accommodation as we eye doctors call it, is what allows everyone to see clearly both far away and up close. Eye focusing is dependent on the flexibility of a focusing lens inside the eye. Over time the lens becomes less flexible. By age 40, the lens has lost enough flexibility that it is difficult to focus on nearby objects, such as books, menus, and sewing. It is at this age that people will need a vision prescription to see clearly up close. However, the lens doesn’t stop changing at age 40--it keeps getting less flexible until age 60, when cataracts typically begin to develop. As the lens loses flexibility, every person will gradually need a stronger reading prescription.
This will happen whether you put on glasses or not. So once again, the myth rears its head and people at age 55 say, “If I had just not put on glasses at age 40, then I wouldn’t be so bad now.” Not true! The focusing lens in your eye does not care if you wear glasses or not--it will betray you anyway.
So next time, don’t let anyone convince you that blurry vision is better than wearing glasses. Even people over 40 deserve to see clearly.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.