As you try on your best friend’s super weak reading glasses, you wonder, does wearing lower prescription glasses damage eyes?
You were born cursed with nearsightedness and farsightedness, and so your vision is as good as a bat’s (if you’re not already aware, bats are almost blind).
You have your own pair of Oakley glasses, but thought you’d try on your BFF’s lower prescription glasses to see if Ray-Ban eyeglasses frames look good on you.
Wearing your best friend’s glasses makes you feel like you’re 12 drinks deep, as you can barely see the time on the kitchen clock or the letters on the newspaper right in front of you. Your friend’s once-detailed face looks like melted ice cream, her nose indistinguishable from her upper lip.
“Girl, those glasses do not suit you” your brutally honest BFF exclaims (because that’s what BFF’s do right? They tell you the truth. Maybe you should tell her that her face looks like melted ice cream? Maybe not).
Before popping the eyeglasses off, you ponder for a bit.
What would it be like if you wore these glasses all the time? Could your vision improve? Or, can wearing lower prescription glasses damage your eyes forever?
Let’s explore this question a little further.
Can Wearing Lower Prescription Glasses Damage Eyes? It Depends on Your Age
Wearing lower prescription glasses typically won’t have any long-term effect on the health of your eyes. However, we should distinguish between the eyes of an adult and the eyes of a child or adolescent, the latter of which are still developing.
If a child or young adult is wearing lower prescription glasses, their vision and eye health could be compromised. Children are not emmetropic, meaning their vision is not ideal. A child’s vision develops progressively and so mild hyperopia is something that can correct itself over time. However, if vision problems in a child persist, booking them an appointment to see the optometrist is crucial as hyperopia can lead to learning difficulties, eye strain, dizziness, and headaches. Prolonged eye strain can cause accommodative esotropia which is when the eyes cross to try to make up for the refractive error. Or, it can lead to amblyopia, also known as “lazy eye”.
For adults, eye strain doesn’t do any damage to eyes – no matter if they’re nearsighted, farsighted, or if they are wearing a lower prescription than what they need. As an adult, your eyes ‘learn’ to correctly focus on different distances modify their visual performance and accommodate the particular situation. However, if this happens over a longer period of time, your eyes are overworked from eye strain and then noticeable symptoms occur.
What Symptoms Occur When You Wear Lower Prescription Glasses?
Wearing lower prescription eyeglasses can lead to different symptoms. Here’s a typical problem: you notice that your glasses don’t provide you with optimal vision. This doesn’t cause damage, but it certainly strains your eyes. And it means that your eyes have to work harder.
The possible consequences of eye strain are numerous and include headaches, neck pain, watery or burning eyes, dizziness or seeing double images. These uncomfortable symptoms happen when you wear lower prescription glasses because your eyes and brain “speak” to one another and wearing a lower prescription than what you require confuses the messages sent to your brain.
Your retina sees an image that is out of focus, blurry, and distorted as the correction isn’t appropriate for your eyes. Both your eyes and brain have to work harder, which causes eye strain and discomfort. The discomfort caused by wearing someone else’s prescription will ease soon after you remove the glasses.
Can Wearing Lower Prescription Glasses Damage Your Eyes Over a Long Period of Time?
Wearing lower prescription glasses for a long period of time can cause you to experience discomfort, but it will not cause damage to your eyes. However, one significant drawback of wearing lower prescription glasses for a long period of time is that you may not realize your full visual potential – you simply get used to this situation. Thus impaired visual performance is often only discovered by an objective source, i.e. when you’re applying for a drivers license or viewing the Snellen chart at the optometrist.
At iSight Optometry, you never have to worry about experiencing symptoms from wrong eye prescriptions or ill-fitting spectacles. Our eye care professionals are highly trained and use the latest technology to test your eyes and produce the best pair of glasses to help you see clearly throughout the day. Whether it’s for you, or your child, we are dedicated to taking care of you and your family’s eyes.