Reviewed by Thomas Stokkermans, OD, PhD on July 6, 2023

There are many signs you may need glasses. Minor things such as rubbing your eyes frequently, having trouble adjusting from brightly lit to dark environments, and experiencing headaches can be attributed to poor vision.

An estimated 75% of Americans wear glasses or contact lenses to help them see clearly. Read on to learn if you might need glasses too.

9 Signs and Symptoms You Need Glasses

The best way to know if you need prescription glasses is to get a comprehensive eye exam from your eye doctor. In the meantime, these nine vision issues could mean glasses are in your future:

1. Squinting It’s natural to squint if you can’t see something clearly. If you have to squint a lot though, your eyes are having trouble focusing. You may need help from corrective lenses.

2. Blurred Vision You may experience blurry vision when you try to read something up close such as your phone or if you’re trying to focus on something far away like a street sign. If your visual acuity no longer seems 20/20, you may have a refractive error like nearsightedness or astigmatism (more on those later).

3. Night Blindness Everyone’s eyes need a little time to adjust to changing light conditions, like going from dark to bright or bright to dark — think low-light places like a restaurant or movie theater. You may have night blindness if your eyes aren’t able to adjust at night or in dimly lit environments.

4. Frequent Headaches You may not think a headache has anything to do with your vision, but it’s possible to get a headache if your eyes are working too hard to focus. Frequent headaches after working on a computer can also be a symptom of a vision issue.

5. Irritated Eyes After Looking at Screens Your eyes may feel tired, dry, or irritated after you’ve spent a long time looking at screens or working at a computer, especially if your vision was out of focus during that time.

6. Watery Eyes Your eyes could be watery if you have allergies or suffer from dry eye syndrome. Watery eyes may also be a sign that you have a vision problem.

7. Rubbing Your Eyes Often You probably rub your eyes when they’re itchy or if it feels like there’s something in your eye like an eyelash. But if you find that you rub your eyes a lot without an obvious reason, it might be a good idea to get your eyes checked.

8. Double Vision If you’re seeing two of the same image instead of one, you have double vision. This can be caused by problems with your eye muscles, nerves, or corneas, and it can be a sign of needing glasses. Since it can also be caused by a serious medical problem, you should see your eye doctor right away if you have double vision.

9. Seeing Halos Do you see a starburst or halo-like circle around a light when you look directly at it? It’s not uncommon for this to happen if your eyes are out of focus. But if you see halos often, it could mean you have an eye problem that needs attention from your eye doctor.

Vision Problems that Glasses Can Help

A refractive error is one of the most common reasons for an eye doctor to prescribe glasses for a person. With a refractive error, the eye can’t focus light properly on the retina. Depending on the refractive error, this can cause blurry vision when looking at objects up close, far away, or at any distance.

Common refractive errors include: * Nearsightedness (myopia) * Farsightedness (hyperopia) * Astigmatism * Presbyopia (age-related loss of focusing ability)

What’s the Difference Between Nearsightedness and Farsightedness?

If you’re nearsighted, you can see close-up objects clearly while objects far away are blurry. If you’re farsighted, you can clearly see distant objects while closer objects appear blurry.

Both nearsightedness and farsightedness have similar symptoms, including:

  • Having to squint to help your eyes focus
  • Experiencing eye strain
  • Getting headaches
  • Having the feeling of tired eyes

A comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor will include a vision test. If you have trouble seeing clearly at any distance, you may be a good candidate for corrective eyewear.

What Is Astigmatism?

With astigmatism, your vision is blurry whether you’re looking at something up close or far away. Some other symptoms of astigmatism are:

  • Needing to squint to see clearly at any distance
  • Having trouble seeing at night
  • Seeing double even when closing one eye
  • Struggling with depth perception
  • Experiencing headaches and eye strain

What Is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is an age-related vision issue that makes it hard to see clearly up close. It’s a normal part of aging that most people start to experience around age 40.

You may have presbyopia if you:

  • Have a hard time reading small print
  • Feel tired after looking at things up close
  • Need to squint to see objects at reading distance more clearly
  • Need brighter light for reading and close-up tasks
  • Have trouble seeing and focusing on objects close to you
  • Experience eye strain or headaches after reading or doing close-up work

The best way to know if you need glasses is to see your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. If you do need eyeglasses, Eyebuydirect has plenty of cool and affordable frames to fit any style and budget.

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2. How to tell if you need glasses . Vision Center. Accessed June 2023.
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4. Double vision (diplopia): Causes, symptoms & treatment. Vision Center. Accessed June 2023.
5. What causes halos around lights? All About Vision. June 2021.
6. Refractive errors and refraction: How the eye sees. All About Vision. October 2019.
7. Myopia vs. hyperopia: What’s the difference? All About Vision. July 2022.
8. Astigmatism. All About Vision. February 2019.
9. Presbyopia: What causes it and how to treat it. All About Vision. February 2019.
10. Presbyopia. Healthline. January 2021.
11. Presbyopia. Mayo Clinic. November 2021.