27 April 2018

The spectacle experiment: Why spectacles are likely to be bad for your eyes

During my years of experimentation, I discovered that my eyes used to get strained quickly only when I wore spectacles. Ophthalmologists, in their ignorance, prescribed me lenses for astigmatism, they said I might have dry eyes and prescribed lenses of various powers and anti-reflective coatings which were all later proven to be wrong conclusions and didn't help me at all. On the contrary, it just made my eye strain worse.

You wouldn't notice because...
Do note that you wouldn't notice what I did, because your eye strain didn't reach a chronic level. Mine did, and I was able to notice even the slight differences which everyone goes through, but they don't notice it because their eye muscles recover from it at least partially after a night's sleep. But in cases of partial recovery (ie: if you are getting less than 8 hours sleep), the strain builds up and manifests as headaches, burning feeling in the front of the eyeballs, sharp stabbing pains behind the eyeballs, muscles all around the eye feeling sore and at the most chronic stages, even your cheek muscles and muscles near the eyebrows feel strained and sore. Don't ever let that happen to you.

So next I tried ordinary glass lenses with no extra coatings, and found that it caused much lesser strain. So less, that it was almost noticeable. I assumed this was because of the greater visual acuity provided by glass as compared to plastic, so I tried lenses like Crizal and Zeiss which were marketed as being extremely clear. Although I did notice that the lenses were high quality and did seem clearer than other brands, they were absolutely nowhere close to the kind of clarity and acuity that an ordinary glass lens provided.

A little experiment you can try
I did an experiment which even you can try out. The blue things in the image below, are spectacle lenses viewed from the top, and this is about trying to read some words with the right eye. The left eye is closed. You'll notice that when the lens is perpendicular to the words, you can see it clearly. But if you tilt your head even slightly (you don't even have to tilt it as much as shown in the image) and try to read the word, you'll see that the word is either blurred or distorted a bit. With some plastic lenses it's a blur. With some it's a slight distortion. With glass lenses it's almost negligible.
This blurring/distortion doesn't happen if you are not wearing spectacles.

Keeping your eyes fixed in one direction tires your muscles. That's a given. But I have a strong belief that the distortion created by spectacle lenses are the other major unexplored cause for eye strain and headaches. I don't know if wearing contact lenses would help (didn't try them because of the risk), but my immediate advice would be that at least when you are working at a computer, wear spectacles with a glass lens instead of plastic or polycarbonate ones and keep a journal where you record how much uninterrupted sleep you got everyday vs how bad your eye strain was when you wore spectacles with glass lenses vs plastic/polycarbonate lenses.
Keeping a journal or an Excel sheet (over a period of a few months) with such data is very revealing. When you look back at past data, you'll be surprised at how less sleep you have been getting and how it's affecting you.

Do let me know how your experiment went.

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