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Do Glasses Weaken Your Eyes?

Do Glasses Weaken Your Eyes?

When you take them off you feel “blind”. Have the glasses weakened your eyes? Rest assured the answer is no. Since getting your new glasses you probably see better than ever. But now it seems you can’t get along without them. When you take them off you feel “blind”. The obvious thought strikes: have the glasses weakened your eyes? Rest assured the answer is no.

Think about what your vision was like before you had these glasses. Though you were getting along okay you actually had gotten used to your poor vision and whatever effort it took to see—squinting your eyes to see more clearly (especially if you are nearsighted) or moving reading material farther away (if you are over 40).

Once you put on your new glasses the struggle ended; seeing became effortless and far more satisfying. But when you took the glasses off the struggle to see returned only now it seemed even worse than before.

Why Do Your Eyes Seem Weaker?

Let’s look at an analogy. What if you had to live with a 20-pound knapsack strapped to your back. It was heavy but after a while you go used to it and didn’t even notice it anymore. Similarly what if you saw poorly without glasses. But after a while you got used to it and barely noticed the effort required.

Now suppose that someone came along and removed the knapsack. (What a relief!) Or suppose someone gave you glasses that made it easier for you to see.

Time passes and you put the knapsack on again. It feels a lot heavier than you remember partly because past memories are not perfect but mostly because you’re used to the freedom of not being weighed down by it. In the same way once you are used to seeing better with glasses a return to the old struggle to see without them becomes intolerable. This does not mean that the glasses have worsened you basic eye condition.

But…..Haven’t You Become Dependent on the Glasses? Wearing your glasses makes you no more dependent on them than living without the knapsack. In each case you are more comfortable and you function with less effort.

Yes you depend on your glasses for ease of vision but isn’t that why you got them? You depend on them the same way you depend on a good tool. The fact is glasses are the proper tool for the job of seeing. You are no more or less dependent on them than you are on having the proper hammer or screwdriver for a carpentry job.

Glasses Do Not Cause Eye Changes

There are many conditions affecting the eye that progress (get worse) on their own whether you wear glasses or not. Glasses are sometimes blamed for the worsening but they are not at fault.

One such condition is presbyopia the eye problem everyone experiences around age 40 or so. Having presbyopia means that because of normal aging changes our eyes start losing the ability to focus up close. At first you only notice it when you try to read small print but over time everything at close range loses clarity. You attempt to adjust by holding the material farther away. When you finally need to hold things so far away that your “arms are too short ” you get glasses that let you see again at the normal reading distance.

The glasses work well….for a time. Then one sad day you realize that your eyes are gradually getting “worse.” Just like before you are beginning to have difficulty reading. What is happening however has nothing to do with the glasses. You are only experiencing the natural progression of the presbyopia which is a normal part of life.

Another eye condition that changes on its own independent of glasses is myopia (nearsightedness). Children who have myopia are commonly subject to its progression especially during adolescence when glasses are worn to sharpen vision. But here too the myopia progression if it is going to occur will do so even without wearing glasses. To learn more about factors causing myopia progression click here.

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