Posted by: juliegriffey | June 13, 2010

Which came first – the glasses or the geek?

woman in glasses with pencil cropIt is week 2 on the road with my ophthalmologist father-in-law, Tom. Over drinks the other night we began comparing notes about our age when we first got glasses. Coincidentally all four of us (me, my husband, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law) first started wearing glasses for our nearsightedness in early high school. And, coincidentally all of us are avid readers.

This caused us to consider whether our eyes have weakened from our participation in activities that strain our eyes.My father-in-law informed us that this is a hypothesis that has been tested and proven untrue.

My husband, (possibly playing devil’s advocate), argued that people who wear glasses tend to be bookish. Could it be, he wondered, if all of the reading done by bookish types strain the eyes and cause them to need glasses? This would explain why bookish types tend to need glasses.

Surprisingly, a quick search on the Internet yielded no clear answers.  According to WebMD, it is common for nearsightedness to onset in one’s teen years or early twenties. However, they state that “some studies suggest that people who do extensive reading have higher degrees of nearsightedness.” (

So perhaps there is some truth to both points of view.  While our glasses have made us look more bookish, it is also our bookishness that have caused us to need glasses.



  1. […]  (See previous postings featuring Dr. Tom, my father-in-law: Getting High for your Eyes? &  Which Came First – The Glasses or the Geek?)  But for most people, this means introducing your child to an optometrist or a ophthamologist at […]

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