Posted by: juliegriffey | August 16, 2014

Can pinhole glasses replace your prescription glasses?

Pinhole glasses

My daughter models some super cute pinhole glasses

Most people aren’t aware of the fact that I wear glasses.  I actually forget that I wear glasses – until I can’t remember where I put them.  For the most part I wear contact lenses – except for when it’s about 8 PM when I take them out and putter around the house in my ratty pajamas and my 10-year-old eyeglasses.  A few weeks ago I panicked because I misplaced my glasses and not having them totally disrupted my routine. It forced me to wear my contacts until moments before I fell asleep.  Annoying.

The last thing I want to spend money on these days is a new pair of glasses since I am considering lasik . Fortunately the glasses turned up after a few days – but recently I discovered a potential substitute glasses that might have helped get by when my glasses were missing.

Have you ever seen pinhole glasses? Until I was browsing a gift store in Amana Colonies, Iowa last weekend – I never knew such a thing existed. Pinhole glasses are plastic frames with tiny perforations punched in the opaque, plastic lenses. So, needless to say they look a little odd. The ones in the gift shop were especially groovy because they had St. Louis Cardinals logos on them.

Pinhole glasses work just like a pinhole occluder in that the holes in the lenses only allow a very thin beam of light to enter the eye which increases depth of field and can improve clarity of an image in eyes with refractive error. Some manufacturers of pinhole glasses claim that you can actually improve your vision by prolonged wearing of these glasses – but no one has ever proven that to be true.

Maybe I should do my own experiment and kill a few birds with one stone: have a spare pair of glasses (on the cheap), improve my vision and look super cool at the same time.



  1. Isn’t it amazing that people “value” cars, cable television, smart phones and Starbucks coffee more than the health and wellness of our eyes. Why would we “get by on the cheap” for something as important as our vision? It literally boggles the mind.

    • Good point! I just might do lasik and then I wouldn’t need glasses so why buy a pair that I may only use for a couple of months?

  2. Pinhole glasses are not safe alternatives to eyeglasses, they block much of your visual field, and decrease the amount of light getting into the eyes. Getting LASIK will improve your overall vision if you’re under 40 years old, but doesn’t prevent the inevitable loss of accommodative ability that comes with increasing “maturity.” It can also lead to dry eyes and discomfort.

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