Common Questions Optometrists Are Asked

Optical Health

HIF Australia

Reading in dim light

Is it true that reading in dim light can harm your vision? Can you suggest the best light for reading?

FALSE, reading in dim light will not damage your eyes. However, it is likely to cause the annoying symptoms of eyestrain such as sore eyes, headaches and tiredness.

Good lighting and an up to date prescription can prevent eyestrain. Best light for reading is a regular incandescent light positioned above and slightly behind your head. Your head should be higher and about 40cm away from your reading material, and there should be no other distracting glare or extra lights in your field of vision.

Headache from new prescription

I recently got a new prescription for my glasses and they’ve been giving me a headache when I wear them. What’s causing this?

Your eyes need some time to adjust to the new lenses. A correct prescription should provide clear and comfortable vision, and if headaches persist after a few days then it is advisable to return to your optometrist to ensure that both the prescription is correct and the spectacles have been dispensed correctly.

Optical centres must be set correctly. Selecting the right size and shape of spectacle frame, and adjusting it to suit your face is very important. Care and attention to detail will ensure the optical centres are set correctly and you achieve optimal vision. If the frame and lenses are not sitting right then you can experience eyestrain, headaches, or discomfort on your nose.

Computer screen damage

Is it true that spending all day staring at a computer screen can damage your vision long term? If so are there ways to limit this damage?

There is NO EVIDENCE to suggest that computers will permanently damage your eyes. However, staring at close distance for prolonged periods of time can cause eyestrain or make existing eye conditions worse.

There are ways to limit the eyestrain caused by staring at computer screens. Position your computer screen correctly to eliminate glare, at a height so that the top of the screen is at eye level, at a distance of about arms length (60cm). Blink regularly to keep eyes well lubricated and take regular breaks.

Wearing glasses weakens eyesight

Is it true that wearing glasses can make my eyes worse? If not, why is does my eyesight seem worse after taking off my glasses?

Wearing glasses will not make your eyesight worse. Prescription eyeglasses that are used to correct eye conditions will not weaken the eyes any more than they will permanently solve these vision problems. However, deteriorating eyesight is a common side effect of old age.

Your eye muscles relax when wearing glasses. Your glasses are working to correct your vision; therefore, your eye muscles relax and work more naturally. Once you remove your glasses, your eyes will be required to refocus again, making you feel dizzy or disoriented and making the contrasting blurriness more noticeable.

The OPSM Eye Check App, offers a fast and free way for Australians to check their eyesight and determine whether they need to get their eyes professionally tested by an optometrist. Download for free from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.

Check the OPSM website for Health Fund member benefits.


Peter Murphy is the Eye Care and Community Director at OPSM and Laubman & Pank Optometrists. 


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