If your vision is blurry, you may have a vision problem such as myopia. Eyeglasses can correct the problem and help you see clearly. An optometrist or ophthalmologist performs a thorough eye exam to figure out what type of lenses work best for you. You may need bifocals or progressive lenses, depending on your vision problem.
Eyeglasses correct vision problems. If you have trouble seeing clearly, either close or at a distance, eyeglasses can help. They improve how clearly and sharply you see objects at any distance.
Most vision problems are related to how light focuses on the retina. The retina is in the back of the eye, near the optic nerve. The eye’s lens sends light to the retina, which converts the light into signals that it sends to the brain. This process creates the images we see. Eyeglasses help focus the light appropriately on the retina.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
About 11 million Americans over age 12 need vision correction. Regular eye exams can help you stay on top of your vision health. Your healthcare provider can prescribe eyeglasses if necessary and detect any eye diseases early.
You may need glasses for problems such as:
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best lens for you based on the vision problem you have. Lenses can treat:
These lenses help if you have trouble focusing on objects that are either close up or far away. Single-vision lenses can correct:
Reading glasses are a type of single-vision lens. Often, people with presbyopia see objects in the distance clearly but have trouble seeing the words when they’re reading. Reading glasses can help. You can often buy them over the counter at a pharmacy or bookstore, but you will get a more accurate lens if you see a healthcare provider for a prescription. Over the counter readers are not helpful if the right and left eyes have different prescriptions. Before attempting to use readers, see your eye care professional first to make sure that you can use them safely.
If you have more than one vision problem, you may need glasses with multifocal lenses. These lenses contain two or more vision-correcting prescriptions. Your provider will discuss your options with you. Options include:
In the past, eyeglass lenses were made of glass. Today, most lenses are plastic. Glass lenses are more scratch-resistant. However, plastic lenses have many advantages over glass. They are:
Your healthcare provider will discuss lens options with you, including:
Photochromic and tinted lenses:
High-index plastic lenses:
To take care of your eyeglasses so they stay spot-free and help you see clearly, you should:
An eye specialist performs an eye exam to figure out what type of glasses you need. A complete eye exam also catches any signs of eye disease early, when it’s easiest to treat. Eye specialists include:
During a vision exam, your provider checks your:
Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will discuss the follow-up schedule that meets your needs. You may need an exam yearly or you may be able to wait longer between visits.
Typically, your eyeglass prescription is good for a year. If your eye care provider doesn’t find much change in your vision, you can keep the same glasses for several years. You may need a new prescription sooner if you:
If you notice worsening vision in one or both eyes, make an appointment with an eye specialist. They can check if you need new glasses. They can also tell if an underlying medical condition is causing vision problems. You should also call your provider if you experience an eye injury or think you may have an eye infection.
The cost of glasses varies widely, depending on the type of lens you need and the frames you choose. Insurance may cover some of the cost. Talk to your healthcare provider and insurance company to find out what kind of coverage you have.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Eyeglasses can help you see all life has to offer. If your vision is distorted or blurry, or you have trouble seeing objects close up or far away, talk to your healthcare provider. A comprehensive eye exam can help your provider figure out your eyeglass prescription so you can see clearly and protect your eye health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/29/2020.
Learn more about our editorial process.