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How Do I Know if I Need Glasses? 9 Signs to Watch For

Blurry vision, trouble seeing distant objects, and digital eye strain are some of the most common signs you need eyeglasses. Because most vision problems appear gradually, you may not always notice the need for corrective eyewear, especially if you previously had 20/20 vision.

Have you recently asked yourself, “How do I know if I need glasses?” We’ve pulled together a comprehensive list of common eye problems that can give you an indication if spectacles might be in your near future. Read on to find out more.

How Do I Know if I Need Glasses: 9 Common Signs

How do I know if I need glasses: Woman rubbing her eyes

Between myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia (age-related farsightedness), and astigmatism, refractive errors generally prompt the need for a pair of corrective eyewear.

1. Blurry Vision

Blurred vision features a lack of sharpness or clarity when you gaze at objects near to you (farsightedness) or far away (nearsightedness). If that sounds like you, it’s probably an indication that you need glasses to correct your vision.

2. Trouble Seeing Distant Objects

Those who have trouble with long-distance vision are usually nearsighted (aka myopic). So, if you have difficulty focusing on a traffic sign while driving or the words on the classroom’s whiteboard, chances are you need prescription glasses for myopia.

3. Trouble Seeing Close Objects

If you have difficulty identifying nearby objects, it’s likely due to hyperopia or presbyopia. In this case, you likely need reading glasses to focus better on your smartphone, book, or newspaper.

Farsightedness is generally hereditary, as the eyeball is shorter than normal. As a result, when light enters the pupils, it focuses behind the retina. Interestingly, we’re born “predominantly hyperopic” before becoming perfect-sighted or myopic.

4. Double Vision

Double vision is medically known as diplopia. Seeing double could be due to several reasons. They range from mild conditions like astigmatism (a type of refractive error in which the cornea isn’t perfectly rounded) to chronic health issues like diabetic retinopathy (a complication from having diabetes).

5. Eye Fatigue

Eye strain is a common condition for those who spend long hours in front of a digital screen. Blue-light glasses, like Pair Eyewear’s blue-light lenses, may help ease the strain associated with prolonged computer usage. You may also experience tired eyes when you focus on something for hours on end, such as being the primary driver on a road trip.

Eye fatigue usually disappears with rest. But if the constant tiredness is accompanied by other troubling signs, such as headaches and burning eyes, you could be suffering from undiagnosed vision issues.

6. Headaches

Frequent headaches and migraines may point to worsening visual acuity. The reason for the constant head pain is that your eye muscles overcompensate for the changes in your vision, particularly when you squint at tiny words on your computer screen or at people in the distance. Farsightedness can also cause your eye muscles to overstrain themselves when looking at objects close by.

7. Poor Night Vision

Poor night vision, also known as night blindness and nyctalopia, is when your eyes have difficulty switching from bright light to dim settings. The pupillary muscles are unable to reflexively constrict and dilate the eyes in response to the changes in the environmental lighting. Generally, either vitamin A deficiency or myopia is to blame for the limited night vision.

8. Halos

Halos around bright light sources at night, such as light bulbs or vehicle headlights, may not be a cause for concern. Instead, they may be how your eyes typically react to artificial lighting at night. Wearing glasses or contact lenses can also contribute to the thin rings of light. On top of that, halos could also be a lingering side effect from a past eye surgery like LASIK.

That said, there are some instances when these halos are worth an eye checkup. Common eye conditions associated with halos include cataracts, astigmatism, myopia, hyperopia, and presbyopia. If you suspect you're at risk of any of these vision issues, it’s best to book a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist.

9. Distorted or Wavy Vision

When objects or people appear distorted, it’s likely a case of wavy vision. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), possible causes of distorted vision include age-related macular degeneration, astigmatism, and conjunctivitis (pink eye).

Other Eye Diseases to Look Out For

Other common eye diseases that can mean you need glasses are:

  • Cataracts: This eye condition occurs when the lens in the eye becomes clouded. Warning signs include cloudy vision, halos, poor night vision, and faded colors.

  • Glaucoma: This is a group of eye conditions arising from a damaged optic nerve. You may experience blurred vision, eye pain, headaches, and even nausea and vomiting.

  • Age-related macular degeneration: This is an eye disease that gradually affects central vision, although sudden deterioration is possible, too. Common symptoms include reduced central vision, distorted vision of straight lines, poor night vision, and the need for brighter light.

If you think you're at risk for any of the above conditions, it’s best to visit the eye doctor as soon as possible.

How Often Should You Go for an Eye Exam?

For the sake of your eye health, visit an optometrist for regular eye checkups. Those with more serious conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma, will likely need to see an ophthalmologist (a medical eye doctor).

Even if you have no obvious symptoms, a 2016 study discovered that routine eye exams are highly beneficial in uncovering new vision changes.

The study found that out of 2,656 asymptomatic patients, a whopping 41% of them needed prescription changes. Meanwhile, 31% of the participants required new management, in the form of “referrals, new treatment, or changes in monitoring schedule.” A not-so-insignificant percentage (16%) also had new diagnoses of serious eye conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Unsurprisingly, the same study noted that the likelihood of new eye conditions intensifies with age.

As a general rule of thumb, schedule an eye exam every one to two years. The exact frequency of an eye exam depends on various factors such as:

  • Whether you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses

  • Your age

  • Any underlying medical conditions that may affect your vision, for example, type 2 diabetes

  • A previous eye surgery

  • A family history of eye diseases like glaucoma

Unlike vision screenings that focus on easily detectable eye problems like myopia and astigmatism, eye exams go one step further in diagnosing underlying eye conditions. If you aren’t sure whether you need a pair of corrective eyewear or not, it’s always a good idea to play it safe and visit an optometrist.

How Do I Know if I Need Glasses? Mystery Solved

A woman smiling while wearing and holding pairs of glasses in front of a yellow background.

Having trouble seeing what’s in front of you is a major indicator that you probably need glasses. From blurred vision and double vision to headaches and halos, numerous signs tell you when to go for an eye checkup.

Now that you have an idea about if you need glasses, find your perfect pair(s) at Pair Eyewear. Our Base Frames start at only $60 and are ideal for everyday wear, no matter your gender or age. You can choose from single vision, progressive, computer blue light, and light-responsive lenses to suit your needs.

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