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Does Wearing Glasses Make Your Eyesight Worse?

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a woman lifts up her glasses to see clearly due to her prescription changing over time

A common misconception is that wearing glasses can weaken your vision. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. Your vision simply changes as you age. Keeping up with your comprehensive eye exams will ensure you are always wearing the correct prescription and avoid any unnecessary eye strain.

It’s completely normal for your vision to deteriorate with age, and if you typically wear glasses, this may seem to be a possible contributing factor. But the truth is that today’s optometry views this as a total myth.

Why Does Vision Change?

Your eyesight can change as you get older. Your prescription may change if you require corrective lenses for:

  • Astigmatism (irregularly shaped corneas)
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Myopia (nearsightedness)

You may need a stronger lens to have clearer vision, it’s entirely normal for prescription requirements to change with age. The lens of your eye also hardens with age, which can result in presbyopia, or age-related farsightedness.

Focusing directly on the retina becomes more difficult as the lens becomes more rigid. This causes blurred vision and difficulty seeing things up close. With age, the muscles that support the lens relax, contributing to visual errors.

Your glasses are not the cause of your deteriorating vision; rather, they correct for presbyopia. Progressive lenses (or multifocal contacts, for example) can help you see clearly up close again.

Vision Issues


Astigmatism is a common, treatable eye curvature that causes blurry distance and close-up vision. This happens when the curves on the front surface of the eye (cornea) or the lens inside the eye are misaligned. Instead of being round, the surface is egg-shaped, causing blurred vision at all distances.

Astigmatism is a common birth defect that can coexist with nearsightedness or farsightedness. Frequently, it is not severe enough to necessitate corrective action.


Farsightedness (hyperopia) is a common vision condition in which you can see distant objects but cannot see nearby objects clearly.

The degree of farsightedness affects your ability to focus. People with severe farsightedness may only be able to see distant objects, whereas those with mild farsightedness may be able to see closer objects.

Farsightedness is usually present at birth and is hereditary. Eyeglasses or contact lenses can easily correct this condition. Another treatment option is surgery.


Myopia is a refractive error where your eye fails to properly focus light on the retina. To see clearly, light rays must pass through your cornea and lens. Before reaching the retina, light is refracted by the cornea and lens. The retina then converts light into signals, which are sent to your brain and converted into images.

When you have refractive errors, the shape of your cornea or lens prevents light from bending properly. When light isn’t properly focused on the retina, your vision gets blurry and you may experience headaches or notice yourself squinting to read.


Presbyopia is a condition that typically develops around the age of 40 or later, but it can develop at any time after the age of 35. Even if you previously had 20/20 vision, presbyopia may require you to use readers to see menus, read small text, or see things clearly up close.

When you’re in your 20s and 30s, your eyes are usually in good shape, and you have 20/20 vision, either with or without corrective contact lenses or eyeglasses. Age-related changes in the eyes can be frustrating to deal with, especially if you had no prior issues.

a woman looks over her glasses at her computer due to her prescription changing

Dealing with Vision Decline

It can be difficult to deal with worsening vision, especially when it starts happening sooner than expected. If your vision is deteriorating in your twenties, you may be having difficulty adjusting to this new reality.

Even if your vision is impaired, you can still lead an active life. Some changes can help you adjust to worsening vision.

  • Better lighting
  • Magnifying tools
  • Lens shields
  • Enlarging your font sizes
  • Seeing your optometrist regularly
  • Ask for help when you need it

Making good lifestyle choices, such as not smoking and eating a healthy and balanced diet, is the best thing you can do for your eyes to protect them as you age. Consume antioxidant-rich foods and multiple servings of vegetables and fruits every day. Even exercising is good for your eye health.

How Eye Exams Can Help

You should have regular eye exams and visits to the optometrist every two years for people between the ages of 20 and 39. If you have a family or personal history of eye problems, more frequent visits are advised. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and eye diseases may necessitate more frequent visits to an eye doctor.

A comprehensive eye exam is an essential component of preventive health care. It’s similar to a physical for the eyes in that it examines the entire eye and visual system, as well as prescriptions. 

Comprehensive eye exams can detect eye diseases and disorders like glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachments, and macular degeneration, as well as systemic health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.

If you are experiencing any changes in your vision, book an appointment with us today for a comprehensive eye exam. We can ensure you have the right prescription so you have the best vision possible as you age.

Written by Dr. Robert MacAlpine

Dr. MacAlpine graduated from Queen’s University, and attended the New England College of Optometry in Boston, MA. He graduated in 1999 with clinical and academic honours and was recipient of the Alcon Award for Most Outstanding Contact Lens Clinician. His internships included Pediatric and Low Vision focused training, several Veteran Affairs Hospitals in the greater Boston area, and the Barnet Dulaney Cataract and LASIK Center in Phoenix, Arizona. After graduating, Dr. MacAlpine established a successful practice and optical store in the Boston area. Practicing in the United States allowed him privileges of treatment and prescribing for eye diseases that were not permitted to Ontario Optometrists until 2011. Robert was thrilled to return to his native Ontario in 2011 to raise his two daughters, Deanna and Ella with his wife Amy. He enjoys playing hockey and being active with his family.
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