• Is it possible that being without glasses for a year can worsen vision?


    Question:

    I am incarcerated in federal prison and am writing to obtain some information regarding my visual health. I am considered legally blind in my right eye due to severe congenital coloboma (abnormal development of the eye in the womb). My left eye is myopic, astigmatic and highly sensitive to light. I have worn corrective eyeglasses my entire life.

    After an eye exam a year ago, new eyeglasses were ordered for me. However, I didn’t receive the glasses for 11 months and my old pair was broken. Recently I had yet another eye exam and my prescription has changed significantly. Do you think this change in prescription is due to the stress and strain put on my left eye from not having any glasses to wear for 11 months?


    Answer:

    It is a common view that if one eye is impaired, the other eye has to work harder to compensate. This is not true. Each eye works as hard as possible visually whether or not the other eye can see. There is no unexpected, or extra, change in the seeing eye in the face of a damaged fellow eye. The eyes also will function as best as they can whether or not you wear the proper corrective lenses. Your eyes were not harmed by the stress and strain of not having eyeglasses for 11 months. You simply had 11 months with less clear vision than the eyeglasses might have provided.


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