Do I need to wear my glasses all the time?

There is a reason why you’ve been given a pair of glasses

It is a myth that wearing glasses regularly will weaken your eyes or make them lazy.

The refractive status of the eye – i.e. whether you are short-sighted or far-sighted or suffer from astigmatism – is determined by various factors:

  • The length of the eye (If the eye is too long, it causes short-sightedness; if the eye is too short, it causes far-sightedness.)
  • The curve of the cornea, and
  • The curve of the lens in the eye.

Wearing glasses cannot change the length or curve of the eye. This means a pair of spectacles cannot change the refractive status of the eye. Therefore, if you are comfortable wearing glasses, there is no reason not to wear them all the time. You cannot get ‘dependent’ on your glasses. However, you may become used to the clarity of sight and therefore prefer to wear your glasses permanently.

Having said that, the length and curve of the eye are variable factors as the eye keeps on growing until around puberty.

It is important for children to wear their glasses all the time if this has been prescribed by their optometrist or ophthalmologist. Children’s eyes still need to ‘learn’ to see. If they are not wearing the correct glasses or if they are not wearing their glasses all the time, they can develop a ‘lazy eye’ or amblyopia as the retina will not receive a clear picture and does not get stimulated.

Many patients view their eye as a ‘muscle’ that they can train to improve their eye sight. So they do not want to wear their glasses all the time in order to prevent their eyes from getting ‘lazy’.

Says Inge Loubser, optometrist at Mellins i-Style’s Loch Logan branch, ‘You are given glasses to correct focusing errors, not to make up for a lazy muscle. That is why wearing your glasses permanently will not make your eyes lazy.’


Go for regular check-ups

It is important to go for a full eye examination at least every two years. Your optometrist will examine your entire visual system and should you need glasses, explain why these are required. For example, people older than 40 often find they struggle to focus on nearby objects (presbyopia). When this happens, they might only need reading glasses. Likewise, people who are short-sighted might only need glasses when driving or focusing on something in the distance.




Use technology to your advantage

Depending on the task at hand, putting on and taking off your glasses all the time can put strain on the eye or can simply be impractical. Multifocal lenses containing multiple lens powers can help you to see objects at all distances.

If you wear contact lenses and you do digital work all day, you will benefit from accommodative support lenses such as Zeiss Digital’s EnergizeMe spectacles. They will help to relax tired eyes, prevent further eye strain and give you clear vision.


Talk to your optometrist about the glasses that are right for you

If you feel your vision is not as clear as it should be, if your eyes tire easily, if you work in a digital environment or if you need more information on the options available to you, talk to your optometrist.

‘Your eyes are precious. Rather find out how your optometrist can assist you to improve your eye sight as opposed to waiting for too long,’ says Inge Loubser.