12 Common and Unusual Symptoms of Needing Glasses

Symptoms of needing glasses

Sometimes, it’s not easy to determine if you have a vision problem. Maybe you’ve never needed glasses before, and you can’t imagine that you might now. Or maybe your vision seems clear at times, but blurry at other times, so you think you’re just tired.

Nevertheless, if you’re sensing that something isn’t right, you should get your eyes checked.

Just as you may see your regular doctor for a physical or a checkup now and then, it’s best to see your eye doctor to make sure your eyes are healthy and seeing clearly. If you notice any of the following symptoms, make an appointment right away, as it could be that glasses would make your life a lot easier.


12 Symptoms of Needing Glasses


1. You can’t see clearly.

This one may seem obvious, and it is in a way, but it’s important to consider how quickly you may adapt to blurry vision. Sudden vision loss is possible—such as after a traumatic accident—but in most cases, vision deteriorates gradually. With subtle losses spread out over a period of months, it can be easy to miss the fact that things are changing.

The other issue is that sometimes blurry vision is a sign of fatigue, eyestrain, or dry eyes. If you’ve been at the computer all day, you didn’t get much sleep, or you have been reading an ebook for hours, your eyes probably just need to rest.

If you notice consistent blurry vision, though, make an appointment with your optometrist. That is the only way to tell for sure if you may need vision correction. Just don’t ignore any subtle signs you may be receiving.


Symptoms of Needing Glasses 2. It’s getting harder to see at night.

This is one of the most common signs that your eyes are struggling. It’s harder to see in the dark than it is in well-lit conditions, so any issues with your vision are likely to show up first at night.

You may find it more difficult to see road signs clearly, or obstacles may seem to jump out at you when you’re driving. The glare off your computer or other objects may bother you more.

Are you bumping into walls and furniture when you get up in the middle of the night? When you have headlights coming at you, do you see a halo around them? These could be signs that you need to see the eye doctor.


3. You’re getting more headaches than usual.

Headaches can be caused by a wide variety of things, including stress, allergies, nerve problems, muscle tension, and more. But if you’re getting headaches more often—and they usually appear after a period of trying to focus on something like documents on a computer or a book—they may be caused by eyestrain.

When your eyes can’t comfortably see clearly, they will work harder to focus. Over time, their efforts cause eyestrain. The optic nerve in the eye may become inflamed, and that can cause pain that travels from your eyes to the brain. The headache may feel like a migraine, but the cause is unique.

Try reducing your eyestrain. Use eyedrops, limit your time on technology screens, and rest your eyes. If these steps don’t help, call your optometrist.


4. You’re experiencing double vision.

Double vision occurs when you see two images of the same thing. Both are usually somewhat blurry.

This is a more serious symptom of eye trouble and should not be ignored. There are multiple causes for double vision, including cataracts, diabetes, infections, migraines, stroke, dry eyes, eye muscle weakness, scars on the cornea, and more. Double vision may also reflect a brain condition, such as a brain tumor or other sort of trauma.

If you are experiencing this symptom, check with your doctor as soon as you can.


Symptoms of Needing Glasses 5. You’re squinting a lot.

When you can’t see clearly, it’s a natural reaction to squint. Squinting reduces how much light enters your eyes while helping you focus on what you’re trying to see. If you’re squinting a lot, it means your eyes are frequently having trouble focusing, and it could be that you need glasses.

Squinting most commonly happens when you’re working at the computer, reading on your tablet, or using your phone. Start by taking frequent breaks from the screen and make sure your device has the right lighting and contrast for long-term viewing. If that doesn’t help the problem, schedule an eye exam.


6. Your eyes get tired just about every day.

Tired eyes are a common malaise in our technology-driven world. If you work eight hours a day with a computer or use tablets and phones throughout the day for other reasons, know that you’re requiring your eyes to work hard to focus. If you experience eye fatigue now and then, it’s normal and can usually be relieved with eye drops and rest.

If you find, though, that your eyes get tired just about every day, it may be something more, such as a sign that your eyes are working too hard to focus. This will cause them to get naturally tired no matter what you’re looking at. If the symptom persists for many days or weeks and you don’t know why, get your eyes checked.


7. Reading is harder than it used to be.

You’re in a restaurant and the menu items look blurry. Or you’re shopping in the store and can’t read the ingredient labels. You used to be able to read these things just fine, but lately, smaller print appears blurry.

Often this is a sign that you need reading glasses. Close vision that becomes blurry as we age is called presbyopia. It commonly hits people around the age of 45 or after. The National Eye Institute (NEI) states that presbyopia is a “normal” part of aging and that “everyone” gets it as they get older.

Presbyopia occurs because the lens in the eye gets harder and less flexible with age. This makes it harder to move correctly, so it becomes more difficult for it to focus light directly on the retina. This creates blurry vision. Symptoms include trouble seeing things up close, needing to hold reading materials farther away to focus on them, and possibly headaches and fatigue.

You may be able to solve this problem on your own with a pair of reading glasses. If these don’t help, check with your eye doctor.


Symptoms of Needing Glasses 8. Your eyes take longer to adjust from light to dark.

Normally, it takes about five minutes to adjust to a change in lighting. If you’re going about your life in your house at night, for example, and all the lights are on, and then suddenly the power goes out and all the lights go off, you’ll need a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dim lighting before you can walk around. The same is true if you go from a very dark environment to a bright one.

The eye adjusts to various light conditions by expanding or contracting the iris, which is the colored part of the eye that surrounds the pupil. This lets more or less light into the eye. As we get older, this muscle grows less flexible as well, so it may have more difficulty adjusting.

If it takes you longer than normal to adapt to vision changes, of if you notice a consistent light sensitivity (you’re wearing sunglasses everywhere or shutting the blinds during the day), schedule an eye exam. It could be that certain types of glasses could help.


9. Distorted or wavy vision.

This can be a sign of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Images may appear wavy, as if they were immersed underwater, or appear to move as if ripples are going through them. You may see strange lines in your vision or fading colors. All of these are symptoms of AMD, which occurs when the central part of your retina—the macula—starts to degenerate.

This is a disease that affects about 12-13 percent of Americans aged 40 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The disease cannot be cured, but if caught early, it may be slowed down. Supplements, medications, and surgery may help. Meanwhile, corrective lenses can make it easier to manage symptoms.


10. You’re rubbing your eyes often.

It’s normal to rub your eyes now and then when they get tired. But frequent rubbing could indicate a need for glasses, as it could be a sign of eyestrain. Your eyes may be struggling too hard to focus, and thereby become watery or tired to the point that you’re rubbing them more often.


11. You’re feeling nauseous.

You may think it was something you ate, but check your vision. Sometimes, if one eye is not seeing as well as the other, the brain may have a hard time lining up the images.

One eye sees one thing, but the other eye sees something blurry, and it’s hard for your brain to mesh the two together. The resulting sort of dual, wonky image could make you feel nauseous.


12. You’re frequently adjusting your computer.

Most of us adjust our computer initially so that we see well on it. But if you are making extra or frequent adjustments, something may be wrong with your vision, not the computer.

Sitting farther back from the screen, for instance, so you can see clearly, may be a sign that your vision is struggling to adapt up close. Maybe you’re putting books under the computer to see the screen better, or frequently changing the brightness.
Yes, you need to place your monitor at an arm’s length for best vision.


It also needs to be at the proper height so that you are looking at it with a slightly downward angle. But ask yourself—are you making normal adjustments, or does it seem like you’re often fighting with your computer to see well? If it’s the latter, glasses may help.

Don’t Ignore Symptoms of Needing Glasses!

If any of the symptoms above sound familiar to you, take action. You deserve to see clearly, and getting corrective lenses can make your life better in many ways. Not only will your vision improve, but you may no longer experience other symptoms like fatigue and headaches.

It’s also important to check on any vision changes as they could signal issues with your eye health. The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that globally, at least 2.2 billion people have a near or distance vision impairment, and in at least 1 billion of these, that impairment could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed.

An eye exam is painless and involves a series of tests to help determine what may be going on with your eyes, and what the best treatments may be.


Thanks for reading, we hope you've found this article helpful. If you are looking for some more eyecare content why not check out our other blogs here.


Presbyopia. (2020, September 8). National Eye Institute | National Eye Institute. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/presbyopia

Prevalence estimates | Vision and eye health surveillance system | CDC. (2023, July 19). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/vehss/estimates/amd-prevalence.html

Vision impairment and blindness. (2023, August 10). World Health Organization (WHO). https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/blindness-and-visual-impairment