Do reading glasses weaken your eyes?
Many people who start experiencing presbyopia after age 40 put off wearing reading glasses because they fear it will make their vision worse and make them dependent on wearing glasses.
So instead, they hold reading material farther from their eyes and squint to see fine print more clearly. And for a while, it works.
But presbyopia is a progressive condition. So eventually, reading glasses become necessary to read small print as this normal age-related condition advances.
People sometimes think wearing reading glasses makes their vision worse. This is because, after seeing how much clearer small print is when wearing "readers," the same print seems much fuzzier than it did before when reading glasses are removed. You now have something to compare that blurry vision to, which makes your vision without reading glasses seem worse.
The bottom line: reading glasses don't damage your eyes — they just improve how well you see. And because presbyopia progresses with age, your near vision without corrective lenses will gradually worsen whether or not you wear reading glasses.
Page published in January 2019
Page updated in September 2021