12 Telltale Signs It’s Time for Glasses
by Aaron Lynch, Contributing Editor
I sometimes wonder whether I’ll ever need glasses. I’ve had great eyesight since I was a kid, but more recently I noticed I was holding menus further away in order to read them, and so I started doing some research. Everything I found said, “Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to determine if glasses are right for you.” Great, but should everyone have an eye exam? How do I know if I need glasses?
So, I went on a quest (okay, it was a 20-minute reading spree) to find out whether I needed glasses. I compiled a list of the top 12 ways to know if you need glasses.
Some of these are minor, and are just for your benefit. But most of them can have long term health effects (which I didn’t know) and some are just plain dangerous (think about people driving with blurred vision, yikes!).
1. You have more trouble reading now that you’re older (I call it “arms-length disease,” but really it’s called Presbyopia)
Have you noticed lately that you hold books, menus or other reading material at arms-length to help you focus?
Aha! Yes. Actually, my kids and my brother pointed it out. I didn’t even realize I was doing it.
Apparently this is called Presbyopia. As we get older it can get worse, and requires reading glasses. Reading glasses can save you a lot of trouble. Here are a couple of tests to help you determine if this is the case.
The Book Test:
Hold a book in your hand and begin reading. Do you need to hold it farther than the normal 10-12 inches? People who probably need reading glasses hold reading material at arms-length or abnormally far away so their eyes can focus on the words.
The Task Test:
In addition to reading, if you struggle with focusing while doing things such as sewing, drawing, or playing board games, it is likely you need reading glasses.
The Headache Test:
Finally, if you get headaches and your eyes are tired after trying to focus while doing any of the above, this could be your body’s way of telling you your eyes are strained and you need reading glasses.
2. You have trouble seeing things far away (nearsightedness also called myopia)
One of the main symptoms that was common among people with nearsightedness was squinting. However, some people also reported symptoms such as frequent headaches, rubbing the eyes, nausea, and fatigue.
This is the one that scares me the most (other than difficulty seeing at night) since there are thousands of drivers out there that may have nearsightedness or even the wrong prescription.
3. Blurred vision when you’re up close (farsightedness also called hyperopia)
Although, for me this only happens while reading, for some it’s constant. No matter what their looking at, when they’re up close everything is blurry.
I read one article in which one person didn’t even realize they were farsighted. They had been that way for so long, it never occurred to them to have an exam. Imagine being able to see clearly for the first time in years!
4. Difficulty seeing near and far (this is called astigmatism)
This would be blurred vision or difficulty seeing pretty much all the time. If severe, I imagine most people know they have this. However, because of the stigma of wearing glasses (in my generation) I wonder if some people have ignored these symptoms.
5. Difficulty seeing at night
This one scares me the most. If you have difficulty seeing at night, particularly while driving, please consider getting glasses; if only for driving.
6. Increased difficulty adjusting from dark to light surroundings
This is pretty normal. It’s like walking out of a matinee only to have the sun set fire to your eyeballs. I’m pretty sure everyone has experienced that. However, if you notice an increase in difficulty adjusting, there could be an issue. Any eye exam is in order.
7. Difficulty in reading or working at a computer
I thought this one was interesting. As I read further, I learned that they now make glasses that specifically can help folks that need to look at monitors (or watch a lot of television). They reduce glare which can cause further damage. Even if you already have glasses, you may need some new ones.
8. Eyestrain or eye fatigue
I can’t imagine having daily pain in my eyes. I know there are some days where they feel tired, but certainly not every day. If pain or fatigue is regular, it might be a tell-tale sign that something is wrong. You might need glasses or you might need to update your prescription.
9. Frequent headaches
Frequent headaches are a concern for anyone. If you haven’t been able to figure out where yours are coming from, maybe you should get your eyes checked.
10. Double vision
Just in case you didn’t know, seeing double is not not normal normal. Seriously though, these are symptoms that can come at any time, and may not be constant. If you’ve experienced any double vision, it can be a cause for concern.
11. Seeing halos around light
I’ve had this happen to me before. Like when I’m tired, had too much to drink, or I’m just waking up. I have heard of beer goggles, but I don’t think that’s the answer here…
12. Seeing perfectly well (no symptoms)
Interestingly enough, many people who should be wearing glasses don’t. Some of them believe they see perfectly well, but haven’t had an exam for years. In addition to seeing well, there are many great reasons for getting an eye exam. Even if you don’t need glasses.
Interestingly, doctors can also detect a wide range of diseases from diabetes to cancer just through an eye exam! So, “schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to determine if glasses are right for you!”