There exists all sorts of myths and folklore about medicine. Just think back to treatments for various aches and pains, colds, fever, and hiccups that exist in your own family tree. Well, the question about whether wearing eyeglasses makes you dependent on them is one of the age-old myths that is still very prevalent. The answer is “no” and this article will review the basis for this understanding.
What determines your eyeglass prescription?
When your eye doctor tests your vision to see if you need glasses, they perform a “refraction”. The refraction usually requires you to look through an instrument as the tester asks you which lenses are more clear. They are testing to see if you are nearsighted or farsighted. They are also testing to see if you have any astigmatic measurements (differing amounts of correction across the cornea), and to test how your eyes work together. These measurements are used to determine the prescription you need to see your best.
What determines your particular measurements are a series of variables including:
- The curve of the cornea
- The length of the eyeball
- The shape of the lens inside the eye
When your doctor recommends wearing eyeglasses, it’s because these measurements do not produce clear vision on their own and eyeglasses will help. If the eyeglasses are indicated and not worn, the vision will be less clear, the eyes will work harder to see, headaches can result, and in general you won’t perform at your visual best.
Here’s the myth…..
Wearing the eyeglasses does not create a dependency. The measurements that determine your need for eyeglasses are not changed by wearing, or not wearing, the glasses. However, since the eyeglasses improve the vision, many patients feel that their un-corrected vision is worse since they started wearing glasses and they feel like they need the glasses more than ever before. But in fact, what they’re really experiencing is the positive response to clear vision. Patients will tolerate mild amounts of blurriness until they’ve had the chance to see clearly with eyeglasses. This effect is similar to thedifference between and old television and a new HDTV. After watching a show on a new HDTV and then watching the old television, you may not have realized the compromise in clarity with the old television.
So, do not fret about the myth of dependency, just enjoy seeing clearly again.