As an eye doctor, I’m asked this question every day. Many people fear that wearing glasses will act as a “crutch” and their eyes will lose their ability to focus on their own. Let’s debunk that myth right now.
There are many reasons that people wear glasses – farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism, help with reading, etc. Most people begin to notice in their 40-50s that they have difficulty seeing things up close. This is because the lens inside the eye stiffens with age, making it progressively more difficult to focus. So, as people begin to rely on their reading glasses more, the lenses inside their eyes continue to deteriorate naturally over time, leading them to conclude that the glasses have made their vision worse. In the case for people over 40, wearing or not wearing glasses will not affect your vision longterm (although it may impact your life in other ways, such as the occurrence of eye strain, blur or headaches).
But the same cannot be said for children!! Studies have shown that not wearing glasses when they are needed, or wearing the wrong prescription, can have a permanent impact. In the past, many nearsighted children have worn weaker glasses than they need, with the rationale that it will strengthen their eyes. However, we now know that it actually has the opposite effect! It has been shown to speed up the progression of myopia (nearsightedness), which means the child needs a stronger prescription and relies more on glasses than before. (For more info on slowing down this process, click here: myopia control article)
In the case of young children requiring glasses, not wearing them as directed by your eye doctor can prevent the eye from ever developing fully, resulting in a form of vision loss called amblyopia. There is a finite number of years where this development occurs (usually up to the age of 6) – that’s why it’s so crucial to intervene well before this time period ends.
So, no, wearing glasses does not make your eyes weaker! In fact, in the case of children, it’s very important to wear the right prescription! And because of this, it’s risky to buy eyewear online, especially for your children, for 2 reasons (read full article here):
- 1 in 4 pairs of children’s eyewear ordered online failed impact resistance testing (meaning the lenses can crack or shatter, putting your child’s eyes at risk of injury)
- Almost half of the glasses ordered online did not contain the correct prescription!
So all in all, that’s why it’s important to wear your glasses (with the correct prescription!). Hope this helps to answer a very common question!