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How To Know If You Need Glasses

Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen on February 6, 2023

Think about all your friends. Your acquaintances. Your colleagues. Your classmates. Your family. Out of all the people you know, how many of them wear glasses or contacts?


Most likely at least half of them. Of the entire population in the United States, the American Academy of Ophthalmology states that more than 150 million people wear them. There are many different issues that wearing glasses can correct: astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness are among the most common. Some people wear glasses just to read or just to use the computer because that’s what causes their particular eye strain. 


Seeing that so many people around you wear glasses or contacts may lead you to wonder: is my vision really as perfect as I think it is? How do I know if I need vision correction?


A trip to your eye doctor will tell you definitely if you need help or not. The vision test they give helps determine if you have any issues at all, and what type of issue it might be. Unless you are having vision issues that affect your life, you can wait until your regularly scheduled visit to see if there’s a problem. 


Beyond a trip to the eye doctor, there are signs that can tell you that you might need to schedule a visit earlier than you think you do.


  • Are you squinting a lot? Do you find yourself squinting to read something (whether it’s far away or up close), and you don’t even have glaring sun in your eyes as an excuse? Excessive squinting in both children and adults is often one of the first signs of vision issues.  
  • Blurred vision can be another sign you may need glasses. If you find yourself trying to read the newspaper or look at something on the computer but the words become blurred, and you’re not even tired or have other reasons it may happen, that could also be a sign something is wrong. 
  • One of the ways children and adults discover they have vision problems is by realizing that they have to sit much closer to the television than they used to in order to be able to see things clearly. With children, they could also mention that they need to be very close to the whiteboard to see what the teacher is writing clearly. Keep an eye out for signs like this. 
  • Did you get a solid eight hours of sleep and have your morning cup of joe but find that you’re still rubbing your eyes? Excessive eye rubbing in both children and adults can signify a need for glasses. The eye strain from doing something that your eyes can’t do properly may mimic symptoms of tiredness, hence the eye rubbing. Make sure you eliminate other possibilities like allergies or an infection. 
  • Do you get constant headaches? After you’ve ruled out the possibility that it’s a migraine, it’s time to get your vision checked out. When your eyes have an issue, using them in a way that is problematic for them can cause them to be overextended. This causes muscle strain, which in turn can cause headaches. 
  • Another sign of vision problems can be needing to read or look at things while covering an eye. This can signal that instead of issues in both eyes, it’s just one eye that has the problem. 
  • A major symptom in children can be having trouble focusing in school. While parents and teachers may be quick to label this behavior as trouble making or learning disorders, it can be something as simple as vision issues. School requires children to read things both from afar and up close very fast and with accuracy. If your child has vision issues, this is a hard task for them, and it may look like they’re not interested or have trouble focusing on the task at hand when, really, they just can’t see well. 


Now that you know some of the signs that can signify vision issues that may need glasses to correct, you can make a more informed decision about when to make an appointment with your eye doctor.


Written by Yonah Leserowitz

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