Demystifying The Use Of Spectacles

Over the years it has been a very difficult task convincing patients to accept prescription glasses even if that is the only means to help solve their problems. I think is about time we got educated about the need to use spectacles. What are spectacles, what kinds are there, what are their uses and the need to use them?

Glasses, spectacles, or eyeglasses are frames bearing lenses worn in front of the eyes, sometimes for purely aesthetic reasons but normally for vision correction or eye protection. Special glasses are used for viewing 3-Dimensional images or virtual reality.

Eyeglasses can normally correct and compensate for four types of vision deficiencies:

Myopia or nearsightedness is a vision disorder that causes far objects to appear blurred but near objects are seen clearly. Individuals suffering from myopia are prescribed eyeglasses with concave lenses, which compensate for the refractive error by moving the image of the distant objects that cannot be seen clearly backward onto the retina.

Correcting hyperopia or farsightedness is normally done with eyeglasses with convex lenses. With this disorder, the patients can see distant objects clearly but they have trouble with seeing objects that are close to them. Eyeglasses with convex lenses compensate for the refractive errors by moving the image of a distant object forward onto the retina.

Astigmatism is typically corrected with a cylindrical lens. This disorder is caused by a non-uniform curvature in the refractive surfaces of the eye, which leads to an abnormality in focusing the light rays on the retina. As a result, a part of the light rays are focused on the retina and the other part is focused behind it or in front of it.

Presbyopia is more frequent in people over 40 years old and it is corrected with convex lenses. These patients need reading or bifocal eyeglasses.
Corrective eyeglasses can significantly improve the life quality of the patient as they are helpful in both correcting vision disorders and reducing problems that appear when such lenses are needed, such as headaches or squinting. Corrective lenses can also be added to work masks or eyeglasses which are used in sports.

Safety glasses are usually made with shatter-resistant plastic lenses to protect the eye from flying debris. Safety glasses can vary in the level of protection they provide. The lenses of safety glasses can also be shaped for correction or tinted to protect against visible and near-visible radiation. Corrective glasses with plastic lenses can often be used in the place of safety glasses in many environments; this is one advantage that they have over contact lenses.

Sunglasses are darkened glasses that provide protection against bright visible and ultraviolet light. Due to changes in the atmosphere, ultraviolet levels are much higher than in the past and ultraviolet protection for eyes and skin is even more important. Sunglasses vary greatly and many offer more style than protection. It is possible to have lenses that look very dark and yet offer little ultraviolet protection.

Prescription lenses may be used to make prescription sunglasses. Glasses with photo-sensitive lenses, called transition lenses, become darker in bright light and clearer in lowered light.

Glasses are often regarded as unattractive, and many people prefer to wear contact lenses for that reason. Contact lenses also provide much improved peripheral vision. On the other hand, many people are attracted to people who wear glasses, and glasses are available in a wide range of styles, materials, and even designer labels.

Glasses can be a major part of personal expression, from the extravagance of Elton John and Dame Edna Everage, from Groucho Marx to John Denver all the way to the varied professional personas of eyeglass-wearing knowledge workers.

In the nutshell, I want us to understand that using spectacles does not mean one is diseased but a form of correction or protection for the eyes. The eyes undoubtedly are the most valuable sense organ in the body so let’s do everything possible to protect them.

Isaac Owusu
Department of Optometry
KNUST, Kumasi

One comment

  1. I have been wearing spectacles/glasses since I was 13 years old. There is nothing wrong with me or anyone else wearing them. They simply improve my vision so that I can read, drive, and see things that I need to see in ordinary life. Please get glasses/spectacles if you need them. Why suffer when you don’t need to.

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