Has your primary care provider said you need glasses, but you’re afraid they won’t look good? Do you think contacts might hurt your eyes or be hard to take care of?
It’s normal to have lots of questions and feel nervous about getting glasses or contacts. However, it’s important to wear them if your vision needs correcting. Not wearing corrective lenses can cause headaches and other problems.
How do I know if I need glasses?
If you’re having trouble reading or seeing the blackboard, it’s possible that you need glasses or contacts. If you already have glasses or contacts, your vision may have changed and you need a new prescription. Learning disabilities can also cause reading problems by making it difficult to write, read, or do math. It’s important to see a doctor to understand why you’re having trouble reading.
Why do I need glasses or contacts?
Many teens have trouble seeing objects up close or far away. This is called a refractive error and is the most common type of eye problem. Refractive errors are caused by the eyes’ shape being abnormal. This means that the eye doesn’t bend light in the right way to create a clear picture.
Wearing glasses or contacts is one way to correct your vision and help your eyes see clearly.
You may have a refractive error if:
- If you are suffering from Blurred Vision
- You have headaches
- Your eyes hurt
- You see a glare around bright lights
- You have to squint to see well
- You see double
- You have trouble driving at night
How do glasses and contacts work?
To understand how corrective lenses work; let’s first review how your eyes see. Your eyes have lenses that focus light on the retina, or back of the eye. The retina changes the light into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. The brain uses these signals to create an image of what you see.
The cornea and lens bend the incoming light so that the image is focused on the retina, which is located at the back of the eye. (See image)
Many people’s eyes are abnormally shaped. This means that the lens can’t focus light on the retina. Depending on the type of vision problem you have, the light can fall in front of or behind the retina. This creates a blurry image.
Glasses and contacts change the direction of light so that it hits the retina and creates a clear picture.
Glasses, or eyeglasses, have been around since the ancient Egyptians and they work even better today. Glasses are easy to wear and take care of.
Choosing Frames: Frames are the part of the glasses that hold the lenses. They come in lots of different shapes, sizes, materials, and colors. You’ll be able to decide what shape/style looks best and is most comfortable on your face. However, some frames will fit better than others.
Here’s what you should look for:
- Choose frames that don’t touch your eyelashes or cheeks.
- Make sure your eyes are in the center of the lenses.
- Adjust the pieces behind the ear and pads near the nose for the best fit.
Other things to think about:
- Some frames last longer than others.
- Spring-loaded frames are less likely to bend or warp.
- Nose pads prevent the frames from slipping on your nose and provide added comfort.
The Right Lenses for Your Lifestyle
Eyeglass lenses come in different prescriptions, depending on what type of vision problem you have. Lenses correct your vision by refocusing light onto the retina, or back of the eye. After your doctor gives you a prescription for lenses, you still have some choices to make about the type of lenses you’d like.
Lenses are made from different materials. Choosing the right lenses depends on what activities you do and how you’re going to use your glasses. Only you can decide what lenses are right for your lifestyle. But your lenses do need a couple of things to last a long time and give you the right amount of protection.
Make sure your lenses:
- Are shatter resistant (made of polycarbonate) – Shatter resistant lenses are designed to protect your eyes from injury and not break if you drop them.
- Have U.V. (ultraviolet) protection – This protects your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
You may want your lenses to have other features. Talk to your eye specialist and parent(s) or guardian(s) about what lenses are best for you. Keep in mind that these features usually cost more money.
- Anti-Reflective Coating cuts down on glare from bright lights. May make it easier to see when you’re driving at night.
- Scratch Coating reduces number of scratches on your lenses.
- Tinting – Color added to lens for style or to block out the sun. Lenses can also get darker in outdoor light to act as sunglasses.
- Thin lenses are lightweight and very thin. They may feel lighter on your face.
Taking Care of Your Glasses: Even shatter resistant glasses can break, if you’re not careful.
Here are a few tips for taking care of your glasses:
- Put your glasses back in the case when you’re not wearing them.
- Be careful not to set your glasses down on the lenses, which may scratch.
- Keep your lenses clean by wiping them with a clean, dry cloth, or with a special eyeglass cleaning liquid.
- Only wear sports goggles when playing sports. Wearing normal eyeglasses could cause injury.
When should I wear my glasses?
- Wear your glasses as often as you need them to see. This may be all the time or only sometimes. Bring your glasses with you at all times, so you can be sure to have them if you need them.
- Bring your glasses to your driving test and wear them if you need them. If your driver’s license says you wear corrective lenses, wear your glasses every time you drive.
- Wear sports goggles during sports or other physical activities when you need your glasses. Do NOT wear your normal glasses during sports. Glasses can break and seriously injure your eyes. Sports goggles are designed to protect your eyes and can be made with the same prescription as your eyeglasses, but they’re shatterproof and safe.