Reviewed by Brian Boxer Wachler, MD on July 7, 2023
There are many reasons people avoid wearing their eyeglasses. Maybe they don’t like how they look in specs or they’re afraid of being labeled a nerd. Some people worry that using corrective lenses could cause their vision to get worse.
So, if you’re asking the question: Does wearing glasses make your eyes worse? We’re here to clear up any misconceptions and answer very clearly: No. Glasses with the correct prescription will improve your vision while you wear them.
However, eyesight inevitably declines as you age, even if you use corrective eyewear. Your overall health declines over time too. Certain conditions can also affect your sight and health. Fortunately, treatments (including glasses) are often available.
But this decline seems to have made some people wonder, “Does wearing glasses make vision worse?” Again, the answer is no.
So, why do we wear glasses and how do they affect our sight?
Why We Wear Glasses
Let’s start with why we need prescription glasses in the first place. The prescription lenses in your glasses provide vision correction so you can have clear vision when you wear them.
Prescription eyeglasses can be used to correct the blurry vision often experienced with the following common refractive errors:
- Myopia – Nearsightedness, or trouble seeing things that are far away. This occurs when the eyeball is too long.
- Hyperopia – Farsightedness, or difficulty seeing things up close (and sometimes far away as well). This occurs when the eyeball is too short.
- Presbyopia – Age-related loss of near focusing ability. In other words, difficulty seeing things up close that occurs naturally with age.
- Astigmatism – An imperfection in the eye’s curvature that results in blurry images.
Eye doctors may also prescribe glasses to correct double vision, like what’s caused by strabismus (crossed eyes) and other eye conditions that affect eye movement. These special prism glasses use prism lenses to provide wearers with clear vision.
Can You Become Dependent on Glasses?
Developing presbyopia is something that can happen as you age, particularly as you reach your 40s. If you notice that it’s getting more difficult to read a book, newspaper, or other fine print, you may need to purchase a pair of reading glasses.
You can buy readers over the counter at a pharmacy or grocery store. But if you already wear glasses for distance correction, or if OTC readers don’t seem to help, progressive lenses or prescription reading glasses may be in the cards.
The natural crystalline lenses in your eyes stiffen as you get older, which makes it harder to focus on up-close objects. As you lose this near focusing ability, you will become more and more dependent on your reading glasses to see things clearly up close.
Similarly, nearsightedness and farsightedness may also progress naturally as you age. You may find yourself needing a stronger prescription to see clearly, and that’s OK.
Deteriorating eyesight and the resulting need to use corrective eyewear more often over time is completely normal and natural. It’s one reason why it’s so important to see your eye doctor each year for a comprehensive eye exam and vision test.
While some people believe their dependence on reading glasses may lead to having more advanced blurred vision, this is not the case.
Wearing this type of eyeglasses doesn’t cause you to have worsened vision. Instead, reading glasses actually allow you to compensate for the natural aging process.
Ultimately, wearing glasses doesn’t make your vision worse — your eyes change on their own.
Avoid Strain from an Incorrect Prescription
One sign your vision prescription may be outdated or incorrect is if you experience headaches, blurry vision, or eye strain when wearing glasses. If this is the case, schedule an eye exam with your eye care professional so you can get an updated prescription (and get new glasses!).
Why the Right Prescription Matters
For years, it was common practice to give nearsighted children a weaker prescription than they needed. Doctors believed this would stop the elongation of the eyeball and thus reduce the progression of their myopia.
But multiple studies have since found that this method of underprescribing actually leads to more advanced myopia progression. In other words: Wearing the wrong glasses can cause more harm than good.
When nearsighted children don’t have the correct vision prescription, their eye muscles are forced to strain, making their eyeball elongation worse and causing their myopia to progress more quickly.
Plus, a corrective lens with the wrong prescription can cause blurry vision or eye fatigue. Either can be distracting during important tasks like reading and being attentive in class.
Other conditions like strabismus (crossed eyes) are sometimes treated using eyeglasses too. If a child doesn’t wear the proper corrective lenses, their symptoms may get worse and/or treatment may be prolonged.
As a general rule, don’t hesitate to contact your eye doctor if you or your child experiences dramatic vision changes or other eye problems. A routine eye exam can reveal that it’s time for new glasses.
Benefits of Wearing Eyeglasses
Instead of worsening your vision, eyeglasses with the correct prescription lenses actually offer the following distinct benefits:
- Treatment and correction options for refractive errors, amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus, and other eye conditions
- Improved visual acuity (how clearly you can see)
- Reduced eye strain and fewer headaches
- Improved reading speed
- Protection from the elements
Eyeglasses for the Whole Family
Eye issues can happen to anyone, from childhood through adulthood — it’s why routine eye care is so important! Rest assured that wearing glasses will not harm your vision. Glasses are actually an important supplement to your eye health.
At Eyebuydirect, you can choose from a variety of frames in an assortment of styles and colors for men, women, and children. We’ll ask you to provide your current vision prescription so the glasses you get from us offer all the corrective benefits your eye doctor prescribed. This is just like what you’d get if you bought a more expensive pair at a local eyewear retailer.
You can try your new glasses out at home with our 14-Day Free Returns. Plus, we ensure your satisfaction with our Eyebuydirect 365-Day Guarantee.
- Refractive errors and refraction: How the eye sees. All About Vision. October 2019.
- Strabismus (crossed eyes). American Optometric Association. Accessed July 2023.
- To correct or not correct? Actual evidence, controversy and the questions that remain open. Journal of Clinical Medicine. June 2020.
- 8 signs you may need new glasses. All About Vision. January 2020.