Why do some people need eyeglasses?

Some people can see clearly without glasses, while some need #eyeglasses or #spectacles for a clear vision. Some people need glasses from a young age while some need them the at age of 40. Want to know why? Read along!

How do we normally see?

Our eyes are like a camera that focuses light on the retina. A nerve arises from the retina and goes up to the brain where the visual impulses are processed and we can see objects.

Why do some people need glasses?

In most people, the eye accurately focusses the light on the retina, enabling the person to see clearly without glasses.

In some people however, the shape of the eye is slightly larger, or slightly smaller or the cornea is slightly more or less curved. This causes errors in focusing. The medical term for this focusing problem is “refractive errors”.

If the light is not focused sharply on the retina, i.e. if the person has refractive errors, the person experiences blurring of vision. To correct this focusing problem, some people need glasses of a specific power.

When do refractive errors develop?

Since most of the refractive errors are due to the individual shape and size of the eye, these develop most commonly among growing children.

The need for glasses is most commonly detected among school going children when they complain that they are unable to see the blackboard.

Why do refractive errors develop?

Sometimes genetics play a role. If both parents have needed glasses since childhood, the chances that their child will need glasses is higher.

Also, studies have proven that, another important reason for an increasing number of children developing refractive errors and requiring glasses is because of the increased use of mobiles, tablets and laptops among children. Our eyes are naturally made for viewing distant objects. But excessive near work, especially during growing years, can lead to development of refractive errors. Therefore, it is important to avoid excessive mobile, tablet use and video gaming for children and instead encourage them for outdoor games.

If you are interested in reading the scientific details of the studies done to prove that excessive near work leads to refractive errors, you may follow this link.

How would you know if you or your child needs glasses?

If you have a refractive error, you may experience the following symptoms

  1. Blurred vision
  2. Headaches
  3. Eye strain
  4. Eye watering
  5. Double vision

In the case of children, it is a little tricky. Older children may report any of the above symptoms.

In case of younger children you may have to look out for these 8 warning signs of vision problems in children.

What to do if you or your child has been prescribed glasses?

If you have been prescribed glasses, you need to wear them to get clear vision and to avoid eye strain.

If your child has been diagnosed with a refractive error and has been advised to wear glasses, please ensure that the child wears their glasses constantly.

If the child needs glasses but does not wear them, their vision may decrease permanently, due to a condition called “lazy eye” or “amblyopia”. This occurs because if an eye is not focusing correctly, and the brain is not able to see a clear image, the brain will suppress that eye permanently. Therefore it is important to wear glasses constantly so that a clear image is always formed.

Also, during growing age, the spectacles power is liable to change. Therefore, it is advised that you take your child to your eye doctor for an eye checkup once in 6 months. If the glasses power has changed, please get new glasses for your child.

The power of the spectacles stabilizes on its own by the age of 18-20 years when the overall growth of the body stops. After that, your child will have the option for laser vision correction or LASIK. I will write a separate blog about LASIK next week.

Can you prevent refractive errors?

Unfortunately no. They occur due to the specific shape and curvature of the eye which is unique to each individual. This is exactly the reason why each person needs a specific power of glasses to see clearly.

However, the progression of refractive errors among children can be slowed by avoiding too much near work such as using phones, tablets or video games.

Apart from spectacles, what are the other options if you have refractive errors?

Contact lenses are a safe option, if meticulous hygiene is maintained.

Once the glasses power stabilizes around the age of 20, LASIK is a safe and effective solution to get rid of your glasses.

Eye exercises DO NOT cure refractive errors. There is no scientific evidence that any form of eye exercises can help you get rid of your glasses.

A good healthy diet, although important for the good health of your eyes, there is no specific food that can prevent or cure refractive errors.

Why do some people need glasses only after the age of 40?

Are you among those people who never needed glasses but now, around the age of 40, you are experiencing difficulty in reading and doing near work?

This problem that occurs around the age of 40 is known as “presbyopia” and is a part of the normal ageing process. You see, as we grow older, the muscles in the eyes become weak and so our focusing ability decreases.

So if you never needed glasses before, you might need to use reading glasses after the age of 40 to see near objects clearly. If you already wear glasses for distance, you might need an additional power for near vision to be incorporated into your pair of glasses.

Everyone will develop the need for reading glasses at or around the age of 40. It is a normal ageing process. And since ageing is a continuous process, so is presbyopia. Most people need an addition of +1.00 DS (diopter sphere) at the age of 40. This power increases every 5 years by +0.5 DS, therefore you may need to get your spectacles power updated at least once every two years after the age of 40 for the sharpest vision.

Unfortunately, since the power of the reading glasses never really stabilizes, LASIK is not an option to get rid of reading glasses.

So now that we’ve discussed why some people need glasses, I hope you understand that it isn’t really a disease. If you need glasses, you just have a slightly different shape of your eyes.

So wear your glasses proudly!

Also do follow these tips to take good care of your glasses.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me at neha.pednekar1489@gmail.com

I’ll see you soon in my next blog. Till then take good care of your eyes and stay healthy!

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