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Why do we need glasses?

colorful glasses frames on a white background
Anass Bachar

How do glasses work? Why do some people need glasses and other people don’t? Why do we have different eye colors? We answer your questions about glasses and eyes in the second of two episodes with Dr. Sujata Singh, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center. And we hear from Maggie, a kid with low vision, about what it’s like to need glasses.

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  • People often need glasses to correct blurry vision. For some people, things that are close up look blurry. That’s called farsightedness. For other people, things that are far away look blurry. That’s called nearsightedness. 
  • Things look blurry because of the way the light entering your eye hits the back of your eyeball. If the curvature of your eye or the length of the eye isn’t exactly right, the images can be out of focus. Glasses help correct that so that the images are sharp. 
  • Your eyesight can change over the course of your lifetime, so if you don’t have glasses now, you might someday! Or you might need a different prescription as you get older. And some people who have glasses as kids don’t always need them as adults.
  • In addition to helping you see properly, glasses can also help kids correct the alignment of their eyes. If your vision is blurry, your eyes might start turning inward. Wearing glasses can prevent that from happening. 
Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
Melody is the Contributing Editor for But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids and the co-author of two But Why books with Jane Lindholm.
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