"> Are Your Eyeglasses Straining Your Vision?

Are Your Eyeglasses Straining Your Vision?

“I feel so much more comfortable with my glasses off” or “If I wear my glasses for too long, I get a headache” or “Sometimes I can see better without my glasses!” — I’ve heard these comments, and many similar ones, from my clients. Dr. Bates, the vision improvement pioneer, said all visual difficulties are the result of strain. He also said that eyeglasses strain the vision. It seems some part of us instinctively knows this.

Looking through prescription lenses forces your vision to try to see through the prescription. The eyes are obedient servants of your brain and intention. If they think you want them to see through a curved piece of plastic, they will try their best to do so for you. They will allow themselves to be corralled by the frames of your glasses, moving less and less out to the periphery. The healthy eye is moving all the time, which is why it seems to sparkle. Since the strongest correction in your glasses is in the center, wearing eyeglasses also trains the eye not to move away from this point. This is not good!

Last week I held a vision session with a new client, who wore a very strong eyeglasses prescription. As he looked at the Skype screen while we talked, he commented that his eyes were getting sore. On a hunch, I asked him if he’d be comfortable taking his glasses off, pretending he could see me on the screen well enough to interact. He agreed, then reported in a few minutes that his eyes felt better! His glasses had kept his eyes from moving, and they were getting tired of this inactivity.

If your eyes don’t move, that’s called a stare, which is a big no-no in vision improvement. When I first learned about this, in my over-doing way I would almost frantically dart my eyes all over the room, trying to avoid the dreaded stare. That’s not the idea! Allow your gaze to travel around your environment easily and gently, seeing what you can see. Examine the details, then the details within those.

This same myopic client had told me his eyes hurt whenever he tried to look to the side, or up or down. This is a symptom of the same problem — his strong glasses were making him stare, and his eyes had gotten out of the habit of moving. He might as well have sat in front of his computer for several hours, then wondered why his legs were stiff when he got up! I suggested gentle eye circles, to gradually loosen the stiff little muscles around his eyes, letting his gaze slowly travel around an imaginary clock face.

Some people dabble at vision improvement, going without their glasses occasionally. However, every time they put their glasses back on they are re-introducing the straining habit of looking through them. The visual system is flexible and responsive — it can be quick to complain if mistreated, and quick to improve when we’re good to it. So please don’t think you’re doomed if you have to wear glasses. Just wear them as little as possible, and use a weaker prescription when it’s safe. Your eyes will be so grateful!

Eyeglasses are an artificial aid to vision. They mute colors, flatten depth, and cut off your periphery. Your visual system is much better off without these devices. If you need them to function, see this as a temporary situation, like using crutches until your broken leg heals. Set a plan in place to depend on them less and less over time, until your vision is free, with eyeglasses as just a memory. I am grateful every day my eyes and brain no longer think I need glasses to see. I feel like I’ve been set free from prison. Yippee!


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Author: Nancy

I wore strong glasses, then contact lenses, from age 5 into my 40s. While making many mistakes, eventually l learned how to improve the way I use my eyes and to see in a more relaxed, healthy manner. It is my pleasure to coach others to do the same. Visit me at https://NancyLNeff.com.

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Thanks for your reply on this. I found your reassurance helpful. Ive learned since I was little that not wearing glasses or wearing a weaker prescription can weaken your eyes due to strain and now that I often do not wear glasses, despite my eyes being happier, I actually notice more blur when I do wear glasses (for driving and such). I wonder about that and if that’s part of the process, but it does concern me just a bit that perhaps my eye doctor was right about not wearing glasses. Lots to unlearn. (If you have any thoughts on that I’d appreciate hearing them). In any case, I wondered if there are guidelines for how much weaker to go in your prescription as you wean off of them? Thank you!


I did that at first too, darting my eyes around to avoid the stare. It makes sense in a “if this is bad, the opposite must be good” kind of way, but it’s just another way of abusing the eyes and will make them uncomfortable in maybe a little different way.

Nancy L. Neff

Yes, David, exactly. I went from not moving my eyes enough, to moving them too much and too frantically, to finally moving them almost constantly but in a relaxed focused way. I had to do many things the wrong way first!

Barbara Sinclair

Is that your motto, Nancy? I love it! Is it on your website? Have a beautiful day, my friend! xo

Barbara Sinclair

Thanks, Nancy! I can’t have enough of these gentle reminders from you. 🙂 xo

Nancy L. Neff

Thanks for reading, my friend. Treat your eyes right, and you’ll have good sight!