Do I Need Glasses? 11 Symptoms To Be Aware Of

Do I Need Glasses? 11 Symptoms To Be Aware Of

Have you been finding yourself having to adjust your position as you're reading something, or squinting frequently? There’s a good chance that you may need glasses. It’s estimated that over 50% of adults in the UK wear glasses - needing help to correct your vision is a very common thing. Needing glasses comes down to your eyes developing refractive errors. Basically, the shape of your eyes means that the light they’re taking in is not bending properly. The good news is that these refractive errors are easy to treat - pop on a pair of glasses (or lenses) and you’re good to go.

Our vision changes throughout our lives, so these symptoms may be relatively new. You may notice that your vision is not as sharp as it used to be, or that you’re adjusting what you’re doing so you can see things better. Knowing that these are signs of needing glasses means you can make an eye test appointment, and get the glasses you need sooner.

But what exactly are the symptoms of needing glasses as an adult? We’ve pulled together the 11 most common signs that you need glasses. If you recognise one or more of these on this list, we recommend that you go make an appointment with your optician and get an eye test as soon as you can. Let’s begin.

  1. Squinting at the Computer

If you find yourself frequently having to narrow your eyes when trying to read something on the computer - no matter how big the font may be - there’s a good chance that you might require glasses. Squinting might temporarily make your vision a bit clearer, but repeatedly doing so can become quite uncomfortable. It’s not the best habit to get into. Alongside regular squinting, you may find yourself sitting nearer to the computer than you used to. Long periods of time spent looking at a screen can also result in dry eyes and eye strain, so remember to factor in regular breaks.

  1. Blurry or Fuzzy Vision

If things are looking blurry or fuzzy, either up close or further in the distance, this might be a sign that you need prescription glasses. Our vision gets blurry due to a number of reasons - one of them being difficulty focusing your eyesight. This may be because of short sightedness, long sightedness, and/or astigmatism.

  1. Frequent Headaches

When you are having trouble focusing your vision, this can cause regular headaches. You may be squinting a lot more, which requires tensing your muscles around your eyes and forehead. Doing this on a regular basis, combined with eye strain, results in ongoing muscle tension, leading to headaches.

  1. Double Vision

Have you ever looked at something, and felt like you have seen the object layered twice on itself? This is known as double vision. Its scientific name is diplopia, and it can be incredibly disorientating. One of these images is a lot fainter than the other, and may be the side, on top, or diagonal to what you are looking at. It may affect one of your eyes, or both. Double vision, like a lot of what is featured on this list, is a symptom of needing glasses. It may be due to an irregularly shaped cornea, and/or frequent squinting.

  1. Having to Move Things Closer or Nearer to See Them Properly

Have you found yourself having to move that letter you got through the post further away, or nearer so you can read the small print? This is a common sign of needing a glasses prescription. Your eyes are struggling to clearly focus on what is written. If you need to move it towards you, it may signify that you are short sighted. Moving it further away may be due to being long sighted. You may even find yourself using your fingers to help you read what you’re seeing.

  1. Tired Eyes

If you need glasses but aren’t wearing them, there’s a good chance your eyes feel tired a lot of the time. Also known as eye fatigue, symptoms include straining, soreness, and dryness. You may find yourself rubbing them often too. Your eyes will feel like this because they’re having to work overtime, compensating for their need to be wearing glasses.

  1. Objects Having a Fuzzy Haze Around Them

When looking at something - especially if it is in front of a light, or you're in a dimly lit room - it may look like it has a halo around it. This is down to light refraction, where light is bending around the object you’re observing. Like many signs on this list, this can be down to an irregular cornea. However, seeing halos can also be a sign of another condition, including cataracts, glaucoma, or having a migraine.

  1. Trouble Driving and Seeing Things at Night

Of course as humans we’re not able to see in the dark, but if you have difficulty seeing things at night (particularly if they’re lit), you may need to get yourself a pair of glasses. You may find yourself needing to move into brighter lights to see things clearly, or have difficulty driving at night because you’re unable to fully see the road. This would be despite using headlights and going through streetlights. This is important to address primarily for safety reasons, especially when it comes to driving vehicles - we really don’t want there to be any accidents.

  1. Distorted Vision

This is where what you are looking at looks warped. Objects look bent, curved, or you may be seeing wavy lines. Also known as visual disturbances, this is another sign that you may need vision-correcting glasses. Visual disturbances can sometimes be an indicator of something a little more serious, so if you are experiencing them, it’s important that you get it checked out as soon as you can.

  1. Frowning to Make Things Appear Clearer

Similar to squinting, you may find yourself frowning to help make what you are looking at appear clearer. You’ll be tensing up similar muscles in this instance, along with the muscles in your brow.

  1. General Mild Discomfort In and Around Your Eyes

Your eyes may be working extra hard, but still not quite delivering clear vision. All the straining, squinting, and blurriness can result in mild discomfort around your eyes. Think a dull ache.

If you experience very sudden, sharp eye pain, you’ll want to head to your optician or doctor immediately.

What Causes These Symptoms

So we’ve covered what the symptoms are, but what are they caused by? We know that it’s refractive errors, but what does this actually mean? Basically your eyes have difficulty focusing the light that reaches them on your retina (this is on the back of your eye.) This all comes down to their shape - they might be too long, or too short.

All of these symptoms on this list can signify that you have refractive errors with your eyes. These cover being shortsighted, long sighted, or having astigmatism or presbyopia. You can roughly determine which one you may have with the following rule of thumb:

  • If things are blurry further away (up to 20 metres) - you may be short sighted.

  • If things are blurry close up - you may be long sighted, or have presbyopia (if you’re over 40).

  • If it all looks blurry and/or distorted no matter what distance - this may be down to astigmatism.

You may also find that everything on this list gets exacerbated when using digital screens - like your smartphone, tablet, computer, or even TV. Whilst this may just be down to the overuse of screens, it may also be a sign you need glasses. The good news here is that this isn’t something to worry too much about, and can be easily amended.

What Else Could Cause These Symptoms?

As we have briefly touched upon, the symptoms listed in this list can also be the result of other conditions affecting your eyes. Although it’s probably more likely that you just need glasses, it’s important to be aware of these. If they are one of these conditions, it’s best to get them diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Here’s what you’ll want to be aware of:

  • Cataracts. This is where the eye’s lens gets cloudy - it may affect a single one or both. Symptoms commonly include blurry vision.

  • Migraines. Whilst these can be caused by needing glasses, migraines can also be unrelated to vision issues. Common symptoms include double vision, flashing lights, and tunnel vision.

  • Eye infections. Infections like conjunctivitis, keratitis, and uveitis can result in distorted vision, along with eye pain, redness, itchiness, and discharge.

  • Allergies. If you experience dry or watery eyes, especially at certain times of the year, you may be experiencing an allergic reaction to something.

  • Retinal disease. Distorted and blurred vision may be a sign of retinal disease. If you are experiencing a sudden loss of vision, light flashes, floaters, dark spots, or significant eye pain, you should contact your optician or doctor as soon as possible.

  • Detached Retinas. If the retinas at the back of your eyes become detached, you may experience floaters and/or flashing lights.

  • Diabetes. A symptom of diabetes is fluid forming around the retinas. This can result in blurry vision, and in severe instances, retinal detachment.

  • Stroke. Losing your vision temporarily or experiencing blurry vision can be a symptom of experiencing a stroke. You may have other symptoms at the same time, including partial facial drooping, dizziness, and numbness. If you think you, or someone you know, is having a stroke, contact the emergency services.

The ‘Do I Need Glasses’ Quiz

Need a little more help to answer ‘how do you know if you need glasses?’ You can use these questions to gauge if you need a trip to the opticians.

  • Do your eyes feel frequently tired?

  • Do your eyes feel sore a lot of the time?

  • Do you have frequent headaches?

  • Do lights look like they have a halo, or fuzzy blur around them?

  • When reading, do you have to hold books or letters up close to see them properly?

  • Does it take you a while to focus on what you are seeing?

  • Do words and letters look a bit fuzzy when you look at them?

  • Do you find it hard to see things at night, even if there are nearby lights?

  • Do you struggle to recognise people you know, even if they’re standing close to you?

  • Have you moved your chair to be nearer the computer or TV so you can see it more clearly?

  • Have people noted that you squint a lot more than you used to, particularly when reading, watching TV, or using the computer?

As we have explored, there are quite a few symptoms that indicate that you may require prescription glasses. Booking an eye test and going to the doctors not only means a check up on your eye health, but also potentially equips you with what you need to see clearly. Our eyesight changes throughout our lives, so it’s important to keep up with regularly scheduled check ups, and notice when our sight changes - even if we think it’s only slight.

If you’ve recently been issued a glasses prescription, why not check out our full range of designer glasses and see what takes your fancy.