The great state of Kentucky, where my clinic is located, sets the minimum vision requirement to operate a motor vehicle at 20/60 out of at least one eye and that is either with correction or without. To dissect that further, 20/60 means a letter that is approximately 1 inch in height set at 20 feet away from someone’s eyes. This is obtainable by a large majority of the patients that I see in the clinic. Obviously, if an individual does not meet the legal vision requirement to have a driver’s license and it is something that glasses will help them achieve, they will be required by law to have them with them in the vehicle.
One other scenario that an Eye Doctor might say one “needs” glasses is on children who are at risk of developing a “lazy eye”. A “lazy eye” or, amblyopia, is when one eye does not see as clearly as the other one with the best correction in place. The problem in the visual system does not lie in the actual eyeball, but in the visual cortex. The appropriate treatment is usually to wear glasses all the time and to periodically patch the better eye to force the amblyopic eye to work. Vision therapy can also be of great benefit.
Now, obviously more people wear glasses than only those who are legally required to or are being treated for amblyopia. Glasses not only correct blurred vision, but can alleviate headaches, decrease glare around headlights, help with tired and strained eyes, offer protection from UV light and projectiles, use of prism can level both eyes out which helps with neck and back pain. The demand that our eyes are under has most likely never been greater due to the amount of computer use that students are asked to do and most jobs require so do your eyes a favor and at least talk to an Eye Doctor about what glasses can do to improve your quality of life.