Our optometry clinic often gets asked questions regarding the effects of not wearing glasses. Examples of these types of questions include: what are the effects of not wearing glasses? Will not wearing glasses damage my eyes? If I don’t wear my glasses, will my vision get worse?
We are happy to answer all our patients’ questions, but also want to know why they aren’t wearing their glasses; what’s the reason? And, is there something we as a clinic can do to help encourage our patients to wear their glasses more often?
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.
Does Not Wearing Glasses Improve Eyesight?
Before highlighting the short-term and long-term effects of not wearing glasses, it’s important to address a commonly asked question: will not wearing glasses improve eyesight?
Many people believe that not wearing glasses can improve one’s eyesight which is a technique known as natural vision correction.
Natural vision correction stems from the belief that you can correct your vision naturally without glasses, contact lenses, drugs, or laser surgery. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s 2013 report, natural vision correction doesn’t help nearsightedness, farsightedness, or other vision problems caused by disease.
Does Not Wearing Glasses Make Your Eyes Worse?
Although not wearing glasses won’t damage your eyes, you may experience some unpleasant symptoms. The severity of the symptoms depends on your age and why you need glasses.
If you’re an adult who needs glasses due to blurred vision, not wearing glasses doesn’t make your eyes worse, but it makes your eyes work harder. Corrective glasses allow your eyes to work less hard which reduces eye strain and all the other unpleasant effects of not wearing your glasses (when you need them). Most importantly, corrective glasses allow you to see clearly!
For a child, not wearing glasses can also result in their eyes not developing properly. Getting a clear image to the retina helps the eyes develop, so when vision isn’t clear, it keeps the eyes from developing normally. This abnormal development can result in headaches and eye strain or long term can cause crossed eyes, lazy eye, or far more serious eye conditions. Eye conditions resulting from not wearing glasses can also lead to learning disabilities.
For adults or children who wear glasses to help correct vision problems such as lazy eye or crossed eyes, not wearing glasses can cause these conditions to get worse or become a permanent problem.
Aside from age and reason for wearing glasses, whether you’re nearsighted or farsighted will also determine the types of symptoms you have from not wearing glasses.
What Are the Effects of Not Wearing Glasses for People Who Have Nearsightedness?
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.
What Are the Effects of Not Wearing Glasses for People Who Have Farsightedness?
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 Effects of Not Wearing Glasses: Are There More?
Other symptoms of not wearing your glasses (that have not yet been discussed) are:
- Double vision
- The weakening of the eye muscles
All these symptoms can lead to:
- An inability to focus
- A higher risk of accidents and injuries
- A dislike for reading or being in social settings
Is There a Reason Why You’re Not Wearing Your Glasses?
Don’t try to tough it out by not wearing glasses—the unpleasant symptoms are not worth it as they can negatively impact your day-to-day routine.
If you’re not wearing your glasses because you don’t like how they look on you, come to iSight Optometry; we offer one of the Okanagan’s largest selection of eyewear and our friendly team will help you find a pair that suits your personality, gives you confidence, and, fits within your budget. If you’re not wearing your glasses because you believe they are the wrong prescription (and causes you great discomfort), we can certainly help.