Sixteen-year-old Jeffrey Laine knows he probably needs glasses but says he doesn’t have time to get his eyes checked.
Not that he would wear his specs, anyway. “I don’t want to have glasses, because I know that I am going to forget them somewhere,” says Laine, who attends the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science.
He can see things better if he sits in the front of the class, but he prefers not to. That would mean always getting chosen to answer questions by the teacher.
“I have to squint my eyes,” he says.
Many teens don’t wear glasses since they think it makes them look nerdy. This holds true for adults, as well. A 2010 British study cited in the Daily Mail online found that scores of women across the pond would rather go through life squinting -- which decreases the entry of light and increases focus -- than spoil their looks by wearing spectacles.
This is still happening despite the fact that many entertainment celebrities and sports stars can now be seen about town flaunting fancy eyewear. Some are also known to wear fake glasses -- thick frames with clear lenses -- just to look cerebral.
Contact lenses are an option for some teens. Yet others find them uncomfortable, or too much trouble to put in and take out, or too expensive.
Same with some glasses -- and many teens wouldn't be caught wearing anything other than costly designer brands.
Still, medical experts say squinting should be only used as a short-term option for improving vision and can cause headaches.
Amal Egal, 16, needs glasses but chooses not to wear them.
“I hate how glasses look on me,” says Egal, from the O’Bryant.
She says she would rather not deal with contact lenses and something touching her eyes.
So she makes sure to tell her teachers at the beginning of the year that she needs to sit in the front of the room to see, and squints her way through the rest of the day.
Anita Le, 16, says she hasn’t used glasses for two years now.
“I’m always too lazy to get them fixed,” says Le, who goes to the O’Bryant.
She will try to sit in front of the class, even though she does not like it.
She, too, chooses to squint her eyes or get lost in a big blur.
• The Roman philosopher Seneca, born around the year 4 BC, was known to magnify his readings through a glass
• The Roman emperor Nero, who ruled from 54 to 68 AD, held an emerald lens to his eye as he watched the gladiators do battle.
• An ancient document indicates that the first wearable eyeglasses first appeared in Italy around 1285, inventor unknown.
• Gold frames with crystal lenses burst on the scene for rich people in 1420.
• Sam Foster introduced mass-produced sunglasses to America on beaches in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1929.
• Many centuries before, around the 1100s, Chinese judges wore shades of smoky quartz -- not to block the sun but to hide their eye expressions from courtroom witnesses.
Sources: Women's and Children's Health Network, ideafinder.com, "Spectacles and Other Vision Aids"