Does Wearing Glasses Make Your Vision Worse? 8 Vision Myths Debunked

    Published 26 February 2020
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Olga Adereyko, MD, Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    Have you ever taken off your glasses and noticed that your vision seems to be deteriorating? You might wonder if wearing glasses makes your vision worse. We’ve got the answer to this question and seven other popular vision myths. Keep reading and you might be surprised by what you learn!

    Myth 1: Wearing glasses can make your vision worse.

    Have you ever wondered if wearing glasses makes your eyes worse? This myth probably stems from one of two places.

    First, many people don’t realize that vision usually gets worse over the years, no matter when you start wearing glasses. With age, a condition called presbyopia naturally sets in. Presbyopia is when the lens of the eye slowly loses its focusing ability, causing deteriorating vision. Some people mistakenly associate their gradual visual deterioration with starting to wear glasses, but it’s actually due to age. 

    Secondly, people get used to wearing their glasses and seeing more clearly. When they take their glasses off, they assume their vision has gotten worse, even though it hasn’t. They’ve just forgotten what their vision was like before they started wearing glasses. 

    These are both incorrect assumptions, and there is no scientific evidence that wearing glasses makes your vision worse. 

    Myth 2: Eye exercises are not effective.

    First, it’s essential to understand that many eye issues come from genetics or physical problems, such as having an eyeball that is too short, causing farsightedness. In this case, eye exercises cannot make your eyeball longer or fix your farsightedness. However, lots of people have experienced the feeling of sore, tired eyes. 

    Exercise makes muscles stronger. Although the eyes are not a muscle, muscles do control them. Eye exercises can help improve some eyesight issues slightly. Some eye exercises can increase productivity and eliminate headaches.

    Some of the most prevalent eye exercises are:

    • Palming — Rub the palms of your hands together until they get hot. Then gently hold your palms over your closed eyelids, allowing the heat to transfer.
    • Blinking — Blink 10–15 times very quickly, close your eyes, and relax for 20 seconds. Repeat.
    • Zooming — Sit on a chair with your arm outstretched and your thumb up in front of your face. Slowly bend your arm and keep your eyes focused on your thumb as you bring it closer to your face, zooming it in.
    • Shifting — Slowly move your gaze from one side of the room to the other. Repeat a few times.
    • Figure-eight — Sit straight with your arm outstretched in front of you. Slowly draw a figure-eight in the air, both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Repeat this exercise with each arm, allowing your gaze to follow your hand. 

    Myth 3: Watching television too close can damage your eyesight.

    Despite many parents telling their children this for decades, there’s no evidence that watching television too close to the TV will damage your eyesight. Many children with healthy eyes read books close to their faces or watch TV close to the screen. Doing so can’t cause or worsen nearsightedness. Children can focus at a close distance without eye strain better than adults. As a result, children often develop the habit of holding reading materials close to their eyes or sitting right in front of the television. There is no evidence that this damages the eyes of children or adults.

    However, watching television too close for long periods of time can sometimes cause eyestrain in individuals. Eyestrain is the feeling of fatigue or pain in or around the eyes, double vision, blurred vision, and headaches. It’s not a severe or permanent condition.

    Myth 4: Reading in poor light can make your vision worse.

    Reading in poor light will not make your vision worse. It will, however, tire your eyes more quickly. For some people, reading in dim light for too long can cause a headache. Still, these are minor side effects that won’t affect your overall eye health. 

    Generally, it’s recommended to read with a desk lamp or reading light that shines directly onto the page. When the light shines over your shoulder, it causes a glare, which can make seeing your reading material more difficult. 

    Myth 5: Only men can be color blind.

    Color blindness, or color deficiency, is when an individual can’t see colors in a certain way. The most common color blindness is when a person can’t distinguish between greens and reds. Men are much more likely to develop color blindness, but it does occur in women too. Men account for 95 percent of people who are color blind. While 1 in 12 men is color blind, the ratio for women is 1 in 200. 

    Red–green color blindness is a genetic mutation that’s sex-linked and passed through the X chromosome. Because females have two X chromosomes, if they inherit one chromosome without the color-blindness gene, they won’t display the color-blindness mutation. Males are much more likely to be color blind because they don’t have a second X chromosome to override the chromosome carrying the color-blind mutation.

    Myth 6: Eating carrots can significantly improve your vision.

    Many of us have heard that you should eat carrots because they’re good for your vision. While this statement is partially true, it’s not the whole story. Carrots contain vitamin A, which contributes to eye health. However, carrots are just one of many fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin A. 

    Dark leafy vegetables and fruits that are high in antioxidant vitamins C and E are also good for eye health. Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Carrots are great for your eyes, but so are many other fruits and vegetables. Regardless, eating massive amounts of fruits or vegetables won’t prevent or cure existing eye conditions. 

    Myth 7: Eye color doesn’t change after birth.

    One of the many pleasures of being around a newborn is watching them grow and change. Be prepared to be taken on a roller-coaster when it comes to their eye color. Most babies are born with blue or gray eyes. This is because their eye color development isn’t complete yet. 

    Typically, sometime between six and nine months, some babies’ eye color changes. Children’s eye color can change until they’re three years old. In rare cases, some people’s eye color can continue to change in adulthood. The amount of change that occurs may be determined by genetics. 

    Myth 8: Cross-eyed babies will remain cross-eyed forever.

    Every parent wants their baby to be perfect. So, when some parents see that their newborn child is cross-eyed, they worry their baby will stay that way forever. This isn’t usually true. It’s quite common for a baby’s eyes not to line up or look in the same direction. This usually disappears within the first three months.

    If a baby continues to display these symptoms after three months, it’s likely due to a medical condition called strabismus. At this point, it may be a sign the ailment will not go away. Parents should consult with their family doctor to receive a diagnosis and ensure the condition doesn’t worsen. 

    In general, it’s a good idea for parents to monitor their child’s eyes. This can allow you to catch issues before they turn into more significant problems. For example, all babies will have watery eyes every once in a while, but continually tearing eyes in a child can be an indication that something is wrong. This can range from a cold or allergies to a blocked tear duct or an infection.

    Wrapping up

    Do glasses make your vision worse? Does reading in the dark cause poor vision? Can only boys be color-blind? These are common questions, and yet most people don’t know the correct answers. (The answer to all three is no!)

    There’s a lot of false information out there. This incorrect information can lead us to practice silly customs, such as feeding our children an abundance of carrots. However, we don’t want to continue this cycle. Now, when your child or a friend asks you if wearing glasses makes your vision worse, you’ll have the correct knowledge to pass along.

    History of updates

    Current version (26 February 2020)

    Reviewed by Olga Adereyko, MD, Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant

    Published (26 February 2020)

    In this article

      Try Flo today

      Sign up for our newsletter

      Our latest articles and news straight to your inbox.

      Thanks for signing up

      We're testing right now so not collecting email addresses, but hoping to add this feature very soon.