Does Wearing Glasses Make Your Eyesight Weaker?

Glasses on a white desk alongside book and cup of coffee
Well at the moment they are helping me out, but what about those old wives' tales you either were told that “if you wear glasses your eyes will become dependent on them” and when you take them off “your eyesight will become much worse than when you started wearing them”. Well, let’s put these tales to rest once and for all. Is it true or not?

To build the car, we need to understand how the engine works first.

Problems with our vision start not because of any muscles as most of us believe it’s got to do with the eyeball itself. If it’s either too long or short, the cornea and lens will bend and refract the light either too far in front of or too far behind it giving you blurry vision and that’s when we’ll need glasses. Those same misunderstood eye muscles are responsible for “bending the lens” to try and focus the light onto the right spot, so they can only do one of two things: either contract or relax to a certain extent to accommodate what we know as “oblong” eyes. So it is safe to conclude that even if you do have weak eye muscles they are not the reason why you have weak eyesight. If they were responsible for eyesight, we would all be doing eye exercises to strengthen them and would not need glasses at all. Simply put, glasses make it possible to refocus the light that enters your eyes directly onto your retina so that the beautiful rose garden you love admiring can look more crisp and clean.

Diagram of inside of the eye


So why do my eyes feel worse after wearing spectacles?

By wearing glasses the muscles that accommodate your eyeball do not change in any way whatsoever, certainly not in shape or flexibility. So how come then once you start wearing glasses you notice there’s a significant difference in your overall vision once you take them off? I hate to say it like this, but it’s all in the mind- our powerful tools of the mind are telling us they prefer things with the lenses on rather than off. They too need time to adjust to our new helpers- glasses. This is especially true for those who wear reading glasses (yes I’m talking to you using glasses to read this with me as right now). So although it may ‘feel’ true, the truth is, it is not true at all. That’s just our minds telling us something has changed and they prefer one way over the other.


Curveball, there is some truth to the old wives' tales.

With all that being said glasses can affect your eye muscles, that is to reduce the excessive strain on them. This is especially helpful for children aged younger than 13 years old who are in their critical period of Vision Formation. Their bodies from birth to around 13 years old are still developing the ‘connections’ or ‘roots’ between the back of their eyes and the back of the head (where the vision centres are). So if a child needs glasses and doesn't get them then their connections end up looking like a dead root system/ dried spring onions whereas a child who does not need glasses: their connections will look like a well-watered and healthy tree with endless roots.

Side note: In the cases of farsightedness or extreme near-sightedness a child can experience blurry vision on a permanent level if the brain is not being stimulated by glasses to grow those nerve connections. So that’s why parents must get their child's vision checked at an early age for them to get properly diagnosed on whether they need glasses. Make sure they also wear them when the doctor advises doing so. This will help grow and strengthen their “neurodevelopment”.

So what happens after 14? Once they hit year two of entering their teens and start maturing if they then choose to not wear their glasses their eyesight will not get weaker, because by this time their connections would have fully developed.


So what’s the final verdict?

Let's put it simply, can your eyes get weaker by wearing glasses and can they weaken by not wearing glasses if you do need them?

For adults, it’s a straightforward no, but for children younger than 13 it’s a maybe, depending on their case.

Once they turn 14, they fall into the adult zone so glasses will no longer affect their eyesight. Instead, glasses serve as much preferred tools by the mind to help correct the method through which you see this beautiful world around us - or enjoy that book with a fresh cup of tea, having 'me time'.

(Psst make sure to stock up on your glasses wipes!)

 - Ari