These glasses are making me sleepy!
October 4, 2007 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Why am I always sleepy when I wear my glasses?

In a problem that is the direct opposite of this question, every time I wear my glasses for an extended period of time, I feel sluggish and sleepy. I have daily wear soft lenses in my eyes 95% of the time I'm awake and are usually much more alert.

The previously asked question seems to make more sense - putting something in your eye tends to aggravate it more, lack of oxygen, etc. - and you'd think glasses would allow the eyes to recuperate, therefore making them feel better. What's going on??
posted by adverb to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is probably not the best answer, but for the longest time I think my body just seemed to associate 'glasses' with 'getting ready for bed'. After I got contacts I pretty much wore them all the time, and only took them out at the end of the night. That's the only answer I could come up with, after I started forcing myself to wear my glasses longer periods, or take whole days off from my contacts, it got to be less of a problem.
posted by pupdog at 9:05 AM on October 4, 2007 [2 favorites]

How old is the prescription in your glasses? Could be that you need updated lenses.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:10 AM on October 4, 2007

Could it be that your glasses prescription is slightly different than that of your contacts, and your eyes are straining a bit, which is making them feel worn out? particularly if your glasses don't cover your entire field of vision, so your eye is getting the blurry stuff around the edges and having to reconcile the two.

FWIW, I have the same problem, although I switch pretty regularly between the two, depending on whether a girl I'm interested in thinks one or the other is cuter. I have no shame.
posted by dismas at 9:11 AM on October 4, 2007

If your eyes strain to focus for an extended period of time they get very tired.
posted by JJ86 at 9:21 AM on October 4, 2007

I find that I have the same problem-- wearing glasses for the entire day is tiring on my eyes. This is mainly because my glasses get smudged and dusty after about 15 minutes of wear. With obsessive cleaning, my glasses-wearing experience is much better, but I rarely manage to clean my glasses that frequently while wearing them.

I suspect that my feelings on this may be somewhat exaggerated by the fact that when I feel alert and chipper, I tend to wear contacts, and only wear glasses all day when already feeling tired or miserable.
posted by andrewraff at 9:38 AM on October 4, 2007

I often have a similar problem: wearing contacts, I feel alert and focused; wearing glasses, I get tired --- not sleepy, exactly, but worn out. I bought my contacts and glasses on the same day using the same prescription, so I'm confident they're both correct.

But my prescription is very strong, because my eyes are very poor, so when I wear my glasses, the peripheral field is a blur of color and fuzz, not shapes. When I wear glasses out of the house, my eyes and brain, all unbidden, spend a lot of energy trying to sort out what's happening in the periphery. If I want to see something clearly, I have to turn my head, not flick my eye to the side. When I wear my glasses in the house, where my brain and eyes know the terrain better, I'm fine.

I'll also chime in with pupdog: for many years, I wore contacts all day, only using my glasses to find the way to the mirror where I put my contacts in or to the bed after I took my contacts out. For that reason, putting on glasses signaled bedtime as surely as donning pajamas. It took months of wearing glasses in the daytime for the association to wear off.
posted by Elsa at 9:48 AM on October 4, 2007

The difference in your glasses prescription and, perhaps, the weight of your frame might be the reason. If it's heavy, it just may tire you out. And I wouldn't think it would take much to have that effect if one is already working on the edge of exhaustion.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:02 AM on October 4, 2007

Do you take your contacts out at night? I don't wear contacts, but I feel sleepy when I'm not wearing my glasses. I've always assumed it's because taking off my glasses is usually the last thing I do before going to sleep.

Maybe your body associates not wearing your contacts with going to sleep. When you're wearing your glasses, presumably you're not wearing your contacts, so your body's like "no contacts! Bedtime!"
posted by lampoil at 10:46 AM on October 4, 2007

I don't really notice being tired when I wear my glasses, but I do notice the opposite effect. If I've gone an extended period without wearing my contacts, the moment I put them in I have this feeling of super sharp alertness. I chalk it up to the slight difference in prescription strength, and the fact that my peripheral vision is much less in the glasses (which I particularly notice when putting in my contacts).
posted by shinynewnick at 11:27 AM on October 4, 2007

I've got to second andrewraff on this one. I have the same issue and I've recently realized it has more to do with matching my eyewear to my mood, than that my mood follows my eyewear.

Also, as a girl who grew up wearing glasses and then switched primarily to contacts, I find I'm much more confident and feel more attractive when I wear my contacts--so I'm more aggressive and alert on those days. I feel much less attractive in glasses, so I tend to speak out less and try to call less attention to myself then--which leads to a kind of blurry feel, too.
posted by eralclare at 12:33 PM on October 4, 2007

I've been thinking about this more, and for me the difference in vision probably plays a role too. Also, with my contacts in my eyes are naturally open wider than with my glasses on. Not sure why, but it's one of the first things my mom noticed when I was 10, and anyone I've lived with has seen it. Not sure what the actualy physiological diff is, but it does make me 'feel' more alert I guess.
posted by pupdog at 12:40 PM on October 4, 2007

My eyes are pretty different in terms of how nearsighted each one is - the left is a lot worse than the right. I had one fantastic optometrist make some sort of correction for this with my glasses prescription (I usually wear contacts) and they are the only glasses I've ever had that I could stand. Could it be that?
posted by selfmedicating at 2:05 PM on October 4, 2007

I get this, and I think it's conditioning - I don't feel awake in the morning til I put my contacts in, and I feel ready for bed as soon as I take my lenses out at night. If I keep my glasses on all day, I feel less focused, kind of like if I haven't bothered dressing properly and am still in my pyjamas.
posted by jacalata at 8:41 PM on October 4, 2007

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