Are glasses a problem?

The Problem with Glasses

Do you hate your glasses? Have trouble explaining why?

I’ll make it easy for you, First, the easy reasons.

Then we’ll explore the reasons they worsen your vision, and why you should consider ditching them and learning how to improve your vision to see without them.

By the way, if your friends and family criticize you for trying to improve your vision, show them this.

 

 

First, the obvious problems…

 

Rain? A little fog? Goggles? A dusty road? Hot beverage? Run away!

rain on glasses

Glasses become useless when the air is wet, you get condensation, or you run into a cloud of dirt.

You turn into a wimp who can’t handle a little weather. It’s frustrating.

A little dust and you’ll wish you had wipers and windshield wash fluid built in.

You can always wipe them down constantly. Better remember your soft cloth to clean the dust off too, or you have to use your t-shirt and smear around the dust and dirt.

If you wear contacts, do you have to avoid wind or dirt for fear your contacts will become dry or dirty? Do you carry around eyedrops to moisten the contacts throughout the day, without which your eyes get so dry and irritated by the afternoon that you have to take them out? Did you bring the little container to put them in, or did you leave it at home?

Stay there. Stay.

You have to keep glasses hanging securely on your face. Sometimes they don’t stay put. Do you avoid sports because your glasses can fly off? How about roller-coasters?

Or if your glasses are tight enough to stay on your face, does the pressure on your temples, ears or nose hurt?

Glasses or sunglasses? Or both?

sunglasses taking off

Try wearing sunglasses on top of prescription glasses. Obviously, it doesn’t work.

Have you resorted to getting a pair of prescription sunglasses and carrying around two pairs of glasses so you have something to wear in bright sunlight? Sure, you can adapt to bright sunlight, but how about with the glare off the pavement or the ocean? Or even worse, off that bright white snow?

How about those transition lenses that get dark in the sun and become clear again indoors? No, they don’t work. Outdoors they’re lousy sunglasses with just enough tint to make it look darker but not help in really bright conditions, and indoors they don’t get crystal clear again.

You feel inferior.

punched with glasses

It’s a visual world out there, and you can’t even see right. There are all kinds of stupid people in the world who can see just fine, and yet you can’t even do it. How does that make you feel? It doesn’t feel good, I know.

And obviously nobody would hit a guy with glasses, right? Somehow, knowing that an attacker will be civilly liable for damages doesn’t make you feel more confident in your ability to handle yourself in a fight.

They tell you glasses are normal. Right. You know something is wrong with you, even if you don’t understand what. You know there’s a reason your vision isn’t up to snuff, and you know there’s a way for you to see naturally again without glasses. Until then, you’ll feel inferior.

Glasses look bad. Let’s admit it.

Honestly, this was one of my main reasons for hating glasses when I was kid: the way they made me look. I looked ridiculous, and I knew it, no matter what anyone else tried to tell me. It was embarrassing having to wear them.

We connect with people with our eyes. Your eyes don’t look the same with glasses in front of them. Concave lenses for myopia make your eyes look smaller than they should. When you’re wearing particularly strong glasses, people can see the sides of your head through your glasses because everything is shrunk so much. With convex glasses for hyperopia (farsightedness), your eyes look overly large.

Contacts aren’t safe.

poking eye

Contact lenses are free from a few of the above issues, but they introduce the additional factor of a foreign object in the eye. With the slick marketing behind contacts, it’s easy to assume that sticking those things in your eyes is safe, even if they feel uncomfortable. Infections, corneal ulcers and corneal abrasions happen, and these risks increase if you don’t take care of the lenses properly or don’t remove them at night. Even if you take good care of the contacts, you’ll probably get dry eyes and other irritations, and you want to just get home, take them out, and try to finally relax.

Money.

Great, your vision got worse. Or it got better. Either way, you need to shell out more cash for an eye doctor appointment and new glasses.

Crunch. Uh oh, what did you just sit on? There goes $200. What will you do while you’re waiting half-blind for a few days without them?

Contacts are a guaranteed money pit. You spend more than some smokers do on cigarettes. Take care of them, do things right, and you need more anyway, to the tune of $500/year. Plus saline for washing. Plus eyedrops. All that money and you still hate them.

Headaches.

No, it isn’t just you. Lots of people get headaches from glasses.

The pressure on your temples and nose might have something to do with it. But it’s more about what you’re putting your eyes through and what you have adapted to. You misuse your eyes, you need glasses, and they teach you to misuse your eyes more if you’re going to see through them.

There’s nothing quite like the panic of losing your glasses.

lost glasses

You feel blind and incapable without them. You can’t do hardly anything until you find them.

 

But that isn’t all. Now for the not-so-obvious issues…

And here are the REAL problems.

 

Glasses don’t fix the real problem.

Nature, in the evolution of the human tenement, has been guilty of some maladjustments. She has left, for instance, some troublesome bits of scaffolding, like the vermiform appendix, behind. But nowhere is she supposed to have blundered so badly as in the construction of the eye.
Bates, Perfect Sight Without Glasses, Chapter 1

The main reason I’ve created this website and improved my own vision is because glasses or contacts are no substitute for normal vision.

Myopia and other refractive errors are a psychophysiological disorder. Bad habits in using your eyes lead to poor visual processing, blurry vision and other noticeable effects. Glasses merely treat one of the effects of degraded vision. Something is very wrong with the idea that you need glasses for your eyes to work, and that somehow the eyes are the only part of the body that can’t adapt, reform and fix itself with amazing intelligence to suit the needs of the body, particularly with the relatively minuscule changes the eyes would need to make to simply correct focus.

Your eyes change to fit the focus of your glasses.

strong glasses

Glasses compensate for the refractive error in such a way as to consider it an immutable and precise condition. The eyes must focus to “fit” the glasses. The adjustment in focus required to see through the glasses becomes the new normal. The visual system is taught that the refractive error does not exist, because lo and behold, the image is now clear. Not only that, but the refractive error may increase due to glasses being slightly overprescribed. Glasses for myopia, known as “minus” lenses, are corrected for the distance, and when you wear them for close work, as is often the case, they are overprescribed. This causes the eyes to focus closer than the natural range of focus, just to see through the glasses. Normally the eyes are able to do so fairly easily, but it’s more stress on the system than was designed for, and it’s easy to see why this frequently leads to tired eyes and other unpleasant symptoms.

When the eyes get used to over-focusing to see through minus lenses at the nearpoint, does that lead to the range of focus moving closer and closer, requiring stronger and stronger glasses over time? And does the visual system get so used to the level of compensated focus with glasses, and the positive feedback provided in the form of crystal clear images, that when your visual system has trouble focusing in the glasses-free world as well as it did before?

You learn to freeze your eyes.

Glasses are designed so that only the center of the lens is at a right angle to the eye’s line of sight. If your eyes turn off-center at all, they are looking through the lens at an angle, resulting in some distortion or loss of clarity. This is a subtle feedback process that eventually encourages you to look only through the center of your glasses, always turning your head (which is slower) instead of your eyes, or not turning at all because it becomes such a bother to move your head so often.

Does this distortion outside of the center of the glasses lead you to avoid the larger eye movements? Does suppressing large movements lead to also suppressing smaller movements? Is that important? Does fewer small movements lead to any problems?

Contact lenses have a similar effect, but for a different reason. They are up against your eyes, so the aforementioned distortion does not occur. However, they are uncomfortable foreign objects in your eyes. They get irritating, and the more you move your eyes, the more irritating they get, so you learn the habit of freezing your eyes. Anyone who eases into wearing contacts has to spend time getting used to them.

If you were to move your eyes less, would that prevent the contacts from being so irritating?

Consider also that in other parts of our body we develop muscular tension in response to an injury or trauma. Sometimes it helps avoid further pain, but chronic tension will also lead to problems of its own. Would tensing muscles in and around the eyes be a possible response to the discomfort of contact lenses?

And consider, do your glasses slide down your nose, and you have to keep your neck stiff, making it chronically tense?

Your peripheral vision disappears.

Glasses only cover a small part of the visual field, leading you to ignore the rest of your blurry peripheral vision not covered by the glasses. Neurologically this leads to the blurry peripheral vision data being somewhat discarded in the process of perception. In other words, you ignore your blurry peripheral vision rather than it being a constant nuisance.

Over time, does this lead to the visual system losing some of its ability to process far peripheral vision data? ie: Use it or lose it?

Your depth perception degrades.

The stronger glasses are, the more they flatten the depth of the image, ie: the eyes don’t have to adjust focus between near and far, as everything is simulated to be at the same distance, as if you’re watching everything on a TV screen. Depth perception is therefore impaired as long as you’re wearing glasses, and you have to rely on other visual cues such as relative size, occlusion (blocking of far objects by nearer objects), and relative movement. Perspective, such as road lines converging into the distance, is altered by astigmatism correction.

In the long term, does this lead to a loss of depth perception without your glasses as well? How important is depth perception to complete visual processing or eye teaming?

You don’t get as much light for your eyes to receive.

sunlight happy

All glasses block light to some extent, no matter what material they are made from. Optical grade plastics like the lenses of glasses, contacts, and cameras are pretty good, but a photograph  is noticeably better if there is a piece of such plastic in front of the lens you can remove, such as with some of the “action cams” by GoPro, Sony and others. People who improve their vision remark at how colors are more vivid without their glasses.

The eyes thrive on sunlight. Sunlight is the type of light they were made to operate in. When you filter the light, what affect does that have? And what mental or emotional effect do the dulled colors have on you? Does the more intense data of the unfiltered colors benefit the processing ability of the visual system? Is there anything else that glasses and contacts might block?

 

Consider this…

Refractive errors are not immutable as they are made out to be. They are often transitory conditions. Nobody with good vision has good vision in every moment, as anyone even with supposedly “perfect” vision will attest to. Likewise, chronically poor vision from refractive errors are not fixed at a particular level of refractive error permanently, as anyone who has been to multiple eye doctors in a short period of time will attest to, particularly if the subsequent eye doctors don’t have the prior readings to go off of.

The visual system is a complex system that has been studied intensely in all sorts of aspects over the years. It is not fully understood by our current models, any more than the rest of our brains are fully understood, but more small discoveries are being made all the time. In the context of such mystery in the way the visual system works, the idea that an outside agent such as glasses is the best solution to correct refractive errors is quite presumptuous, and in my opinion, disrespectful of the incredible intricacy of the visual system’s design. How ever carefully prescribed, glasses are a clumsy way of trying to correct a problem by addressing only its outward symptoms. Some people never get used to their glasses and return time and time again to the eye doctor for help. People who wear glasses as a group have a much higher incidence of visual disorders than people with normal vision, such as tired eyes, dizziness, light sensitivity, strabismus, as well as diseases such as cataract and glaucoma. Why do you suppose that is?

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David

David

Administrator of iblindness.org. Other interests include hang gliding, health, consciousness exploration, poker and financial markets.
David

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David

Author: David

Administrator of iblindness.org. Other interests include hang gliding, health, consciousness exploration, poker and financial markets.

6 thoughts on “The Problem with Glasses”

  1. Thank you, David. I have been trying to articulate this to people who do not wear glasses/contact lenses. I have a considerably strong rx (a minus 10, minus 9 in R L eye, respectively) which tends to worsen nearly a whole point every 1.5-2 years or so. I cannot agree more that it’s due to the strain that I continue to put on my eyes to adjust. I wore glasses for about 9 years during my childhood, switching to contact lenses later in high school. It wasn’t simply due to the fact that eyeglasses were “unfashionable” or “nerdy” for a high schooler – rather the fact that I simply could no longer see properly out of my eye glasses (depth perception was the most significant issue). After visiting numerous specialists, I have switched contact lens brands and styles over a half dozen times. I now wear daily disposables for about 12 hours of the day and switch to glasses after work, which is extremely difficult to transition to and it causes nausea from the distortion. In fact, I must hold on to a railing when taking the stairs and I can no longer drive with glasses.

    I am not a candidate for lasik surgery for numerous reasons (corneas too thin, rx unstable, pupils too large) and it seems that no matter what, my vision will continue to worsen because of the strain I put on my eyes continuously trying to adjust/adapt/refocus.

  2. Thanks, ever since i was little ive had nearsightedness. when i was younger, 6 or so, it wasnt that big of a deal, until recently though my eyes had been continually worsening and i no one could understand why. So every year it was a new prescription, and I kept telling everyone that just getting new stronger glasses every year would not help and no one would listen. Now I depend on these glasses and after extended wear they tend to take a tole on my eyes and my ability to focus and think. I tried contacts and it was too much of a switch, there was too much motion (I wore contacts during sports) and any quick movements of my head would cause me to be temporarily dizzy, only mildy of course. I am now thinking of getting LASIK surgery and hope that after talking with the doctor these symptoms that I get from glasses and contacts will be lessened. Anywho, thanks for writing this and helpin me confirm my suspicions.

    1. I don’t recommend LASIK. The side effects can be nasty. I promote a method to get your visual system working right so you don’t have any need of glasses or things like LASIK.

  3. This is absolutely the biggest bunch of bull poop I’ve ever seen. As someone who wouldn’t be able to function in society without corrective lenses, I think it’s ridiculous that you would make a post degrading something that gives me and many other people a chance at thriving and being successful. Without my glasses or contacts, I am considered legally blind. This means I can’t safely walk down the street without some sort of corrective lenses. With my glasses, I don’t have perfect vision, but I can drive, get an education, work, and be fully independent. Without glasses, none of this would be a reality, or it would at least be much more difficult. Perhaps think again before you degrade the tools that someone with a disability has to use. It’s not my CHOICE to have terrible eyesight, but I do CHOOSE to wear corrective lenses because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to do half of the things I can with them. Also, the lack of sources and alternative “solutions” that you give just makes this even more ridiculous. Please do research and inform yourself with actual scientific studies. If you can give hard evidence other than “they look bad,” then maybe I could take this seriously. Until then, please stop degrading the realities that someone with poor eyesight has to live with on a daily basis.

    1. I just want to point out that, and I was incorrect for the longest time as well, that legally blind means “a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, and/or a visual field of 20 degrees or less.” If one can legally drive using glasses (20/40 vision in most states) then one is not legally blind.

    2. Jenn seems to have missed the point of the post.

      Ted, you’re right about the term legally blind, as you know. I’ve heard at least one other person call themselves legally blind like that when it doesn’t apply. I think it’s kind of a cry for help. And I feel for her. Sometimes people identify so strongly with their health conditions and don’t want to let them go. Of course, 20/200 without glasses is really unpleasant, but I prefer to look at it in a hopeful way for everyone.

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