How bad was Harry Potter’s eyesight?
Of every fictional character who has made a statement with their eyewear, Harry Potter is inarguably one of the most notable. His famous round frames remained iconic throughout the entire series of books and movies, and became one of the most recognizable symbols of the franchise.
But exactly how bad was his eyesight? And was he nearsighted or farsighted? Well, (in the film version) according to his pal, Hermione Granger, Harry’s eyesight “really was awful.” And he suffered from a common eye condition called myopia, or nearsightedness.
How do we know Harry Potter is nearsighted and not farsighted?
One passage from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire reads, “Harry opened his eyes blearily. Someone had removed his glasses. He could see the fuzzy outlines of Mrs. Weasley and Bill close by.” This tells us that Harry needs his glasses to see things in the distance.
“Harry, your eyesight really is awful.” - Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
It is also evident that his eyesight is quite poor, since even the close-by outlines of two people appeared to be blurry. The same is true for many myopic people and fictional characters.
The fact that he wears his glasses to see things throughout the day is also an indicator of nearsightedness.
You may be thinking, “Harry Potter lived in a world of magic, so shouldn’t he be able to fix his poor vision with a spell?” Many fans speculate that Harry became nearsighted due to the same curse that caused the lightning-shaped scar on his forehead — and in the wizarding world, disabilities caused by magic are nonreversible.
However, there is a spell that can be used to repair broken eyeglasses known as “Oculus Reparo.” Hermione Granger used this to fix Harry’s glasses multiple times in the film series (although the spell was used only once to fix Harry’s glasses in the books, and Mr. Weasley cast the spell).
What inspired his glasses in the first place?
Author J.K. Rowling explained in an interview that she wrote the character of Harry Potter with glasses as a nod to her childhood.
“I had glasses all through my childhood and I was sick and tired of the person in the books who wore the glasses always [being] the brainy one, and it really irritated me and I wanted to read about a hero wearing glasses,” she said in a 2005 press conference.
Keep your vision wizard-sharp
Whether you identify as a wizard or a “muggle” (a Potter-ism for non-wizards), keeping your vision sharp and healthy is important. Correcting your vision is easy to do with eyeglasses or contact lenses if you are nearsighted or farsighted.
And if you are a big Harry Potter fan, you can even find prescription glasses that look just like his.
Yates, D., Heyman, D., Barron, D., Rowling, J.K., Wigram, L., Kloves, S., Serra, E. Warner Home Video (Firm). (2011). Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I.
Rowling, J.K. (2002). Harry Potter and the goblet of fire. New York: Scholastic.
'Harry Potter': Every unanswered question and Easter egg, compiled. MIC. November 2016.
Illness and disability. Wizarding World. Accessed October 2021.
Glasses. Harry Potter Wiki Fandom. Accessed October 2021.
Edinburgh "cub reporter" press conference, ITV. Accio Quote! July 2005.
Page published in November 2021
Page updated in January 2022