Time to get glasses?
October 27, 2006 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Just got my first eye prescription for mild farsightedness. The optometrist said my eyes could still focus on things fine so I didn't need glasses, but if I noticed eyestrain or headaches, then I could fix those problems with glasses. I don't notice eyestrain and only get headaches when I'm low on coffee. Is there any reason to go ahead and get glasses? Do glasses accelerate or slow any futher eye degeneration?

My vision has always been fine, but in my old age (23) I figured I should get my eyes checked out since I haven't had any vision tests since some basic screening in middle school.
posted by stopgap to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
I'm not so sure about farsightedness, but I can tell you for sure that the glasses I got for near-sightedness did accelerate the degeneration of my vision. Then again, the perscription I started with, though mild, was very noticeable. A very mild perscription, used only when you need that extra focus, might help to keep your vision steady.
posted by azriel2257 at 9:53 AM on October 27, 2006

I got glasses for short-sightedness in my late teens but after busting a few pairs I only wore them for driving & the cinema and as I don't do either that regularly, 22 years later my eyes haven't changed very much. In fact my short-sightedness has improved as I've gone slightly astigmatic (basically, squashed eyeball) which has refocused my eyes slightly.

I'd say that if you can get away with not having them then do but keep having your eyes tested yearly.
posted by i_cola at 10:09 AM on October 27, 2006

I've worn glasses since I was 4, for near-sightedness. But recently (early 20s) they reduced the strength of my prescription. The optometrist said that although I have a degenerative type of myopia, it's possible that things can change for the better or slow down if you wear your glasses.

So, I think it's hard to attribute getting better or worse to glasses alone. I'd say don't get them now, but keep going for regular check-ups.
posted by MissSquare at 10:17 AM on October 27, 2006

azriel2257, are you sure that it was the glasses that accelerated your vision degeneration, rather than nature running its inevitable course? In my experience, in the many years that I was nearsighted but didn't wear glasses, my vision still deteriorated. Once I started wearing glasses, my vision actually got better after a few years (i.e. I needed a weaker prescription).

That said, I've read that not wearing glasses does not accelerate vision deterioration. So it's possible that my vision improved because of lifestyle changes (finishing with college and doing less reading and close-focusing--the human eye isn't ideally suited to be doing as much close-up work as most people do today).
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:29 AM on October 27, 2006

Also, while they're a little bit hokey, books about improving your vision (like "Take Off Your Glasses and See") have some interesting ideas and exercises in them.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:31 AM on October 27, 2006

I am slightly farsighted and have a curvature of the lense. As a result I was given a prescription for computer use only. According to the optometrist I wouldn't have to use glasses at all if I was working in a shop - alas I am sitting in front of a computer all day.

My glasses definitely make a huge difference in terms of tiredness of eyes - I can focus in on things no problem without but find it a lot more exhausting after a while. Same goes if I am having to focus on things in the distance like presentation slides but not for driving.

A friend of mine - he is shortsighted - did manage to improve his sight significantly with exercises. However he found that he had to use glasses again once he stopped the exercises.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:09 AM on October 27, 2006

I'll be completely honest. I'm 30 now and got glasses about 18 months ago. The discussion with my wife went like this:

Me: Hon? I think I need to buy a new monitor, this one's getting fuzzy.

Wife: Go get your eyes checked. If you don't need glasses, order a new monitor.

Me, grinning: Okay!

/Later that day/

Me: So, Ms Optometrist, I work on a computer all day and my monitor is a little fuzzy. Oh, and I can't read road signs in the dark on the highway as well as I used to.

Opt: Here, try this (putting butterfly machine up to my eyes).

Me: Holy cow! I can see right through that wall!

Monitor Salesman: Nuts!

So, I tend to wear the glasses when I'm reading or driving, but to be honest, when I use LCD monitors I don't need my glasses. It sharpens my vision, but not /that/ much.

My vote is to just get the glasses.
posted by Wild_Eep at 1:48 PM on October 27, 2006

Get the glasses. Everybody will think you're smarter and lots of people think they make you look hot.
posted by Opposite George at 2:34 PM on October 27, 2006

I got my first pair of glasses (farsightedness) around your age. At the time I was at school and was doing a lot of reading. My farsightedness gradually became worse and today I can't manage without glasses (-2.5).

wish someone had told me: don't use the glasses (except for night driving), get outside more and read a whole lot less.
posted by mirileh at 7:58 AM on October 28, 2006

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