Seeing Close Up Better without Glasses? Here’s Why


You might be wondering why all of a sudden, your vision starts getting better when you don’t wear glasses. Texts seem to be more readable when you don’t wear one. This is a common occurrence and the culprit of that is usually aging.

Farsightedness is the most common reason why people see better close up without glasses. The reason is because as we age, usually starting in the 40s, our lens start to become stiff. This makes us farsighted and negative lenses which are being used for people with nearsightedness amplifies its effect.

However, another reason is if you don’t have myopia or not nearsighted, maybe you have a wrong prescription. In that case, better check with a health professional and get the right prescription.

According to the National Eye Institute, farsightedness or hyperopia is experienced by 5 – 10% of the USA alone. It usually comes because of the aging lens of the eye in which it can’t refract like it used to. Due to this refractive error, people tend to have a hard time seeing near objects or texts.

What is Farsightedness

Farsightedness is when your eyeballs are short and because of this, light is refracted behind your retina. The retina is the part of the eye that gets the image and transmit it to your brain. Because of this, people will have a hard time looking at things near them.

A simple Illustration differentiation Farsighted from normal eyes (check the length of the eyeball)

Farsightedness usually comes with aging and genetics. If your family members have them, chances are you might also have them. Experiencing the following signs can be related to farsightedness.

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Squinting
  • Blurry vision, especially for close objects

Source: National Eye Institute

Of course, another sign is that if you have myopia, you tend to see close-up texts better without the glasses.

And do you know that Myopia can be reversed? Here’s a video explaining how.

How Negative Lenses affect Farsightedness

Negative lenses makes objects and texts appear near you. Thus, if you have farsightedness or presbyopia, you will have a harder time looking at things with glasses compared to not using glasses.

Negative Lenses are designed for us to see objects that are far away, this is because is helps our eyes refract light or what they call accommodation. But how they refract light is different from our natural lens inside the eyes.

The difference is that the lens in our eyes can adjust depending on the situation. If you are looking at near objects or far objects, it will adjust itself depending on what you are looking at.

Glasses are constant. If the power is -3.25 then it will always be -3.25 and the problem starts there.

To make it easy to understand, those negative means that it helps by making an illusion that images are near you. So even if you are nearsighted, it will make objects appear near so that you can still see clearly.

The problem is that even when doing close-up work such as reading, it still does this and makes things appear very near your eyes.

And if you are farsighted or developing hyperopia, you can’t see objects that are near.

That is the reason why most people can see better without their glasses. This is because glasses or negative lenses makes images seem near you, upon developing farsightedness, you won’t see things that are near.

Common Solutions to the Problem

The most obvious solution is to not wear your negative lenses when doing near work. You can see better without it anyway. Removing your glasses on doing close-up work is an easy solution. It won’t affect your eyesight in any way.

Some people report eye strain when completely removing their glasses, if that is the case, you can use bifocal lens which can have two different powers in them. Usually one positive and one negative.

But if you are not nearsighted and experiencing this, or you are still not in your 40s, there is a high chance that you have a wrong prescription. If that is the case, it is better to talk to an eye expert immediately as having a very wrong prescription can cause many problems and discomforts such as too much eye strain.

Will Your Eyes Get Better if you Stop Wearing Glasses?

There is currently no scientific evidence that not wearing glasses can make your eyes better. In fact, a study from Acta Opthalmologica even concluded that not wearing them might make things worse. [1]

This is because of a concept known as blur adaptation in which your eyes get used to see things that are blurry, this is bad for the eyes since you want your eyes to know that it needs to see clearer than what it sees right now. This concept has been well documented in science. [2]

1. Source: Pärssinen O, Kauppinen M, Viljanen A. The progression of myopia from its onset at age 8-12 to adulthood and the influence of heredity and external factors on myopic progression. A 23-year follow-up study. Acta Ophthalmol. 2014 Dec;92(8):730-9. doi: 10.1111/aos.12387. Epub 2014 Mar 27. PMID: 24674576.

2. Source: Rosenfield M, Hong SE, George S. Blur adaptation in myopes. Optom Vis Sci. 2004 Sep;81(9):657-62. doi: 10.1097/01.opx.0000144743.34976.da. PMID: 15365384.

What are the Side Effects of not Wearing Glasses?

The most common side effect you can have by not wearing glasses is eye strain. Not wearing glasses forces your eyes to work harder making it tired more frequently than usual. Not wearing glasses don’t make it worse.

But in this case, since you can’t see clearly when using glasses, it is alright to not wear them.

If you experience any discomforts such as nausea and headaches, then it is time to be more cautious and check with a qualified health professional regarding this matter.

What happens if You don’t wear glasses all the time?

Eyestrain is the most common experience you will have when you decide not to wear glasses. This is because it will take more focusing power for your eyes to see clearly compared to not wearing glasses. Some people also experience frequent squinting and headaches. Not wearing glasses will also not make your vision better.

Jason

Jason Ong is a YouTuber and the one who owns this site. He shares what he learned to people and make videos if necessary. He was a former lecturer. The things he taught are topics related to Clinical Laboratory Science or what others call Medical Technology. Right now, he is also working part-time in an app company as a production supervisor. You can visit his YouTube Channel on https://ongjason.com/youtube

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