A few years ago I made the decision not to get Lasik surgery on my near-sighted eyes, which I had considered for years. Contact lenses and glasses aren't cheap (I pay out of pocket), and I figured that the operation would pay for itself after just a couple years of not having to buy pricey frames and contact solution. So it wasn't for financial reasons that I decided I wasn't going to undergo the surgery, though it would have been a significant chunk of change to pull together.  

It was because I realized that I'm a glasses-person.

While I wear contact lenses for hikes and runs, snowboarding, or doing anything particularly messy (like cooking, which I rarely do), most of the time, I just prefer to wear my glasses. I feel more like "me" with them on. I remember wanting glasses even before I knew I needed them. Maybe it was because I absorbed societal messages about how people like me — who liked reading long books, looked forward to the school year, and weren't into sports in which balls flew at my face — were supposed to wear them, or maybe it's because I knew I subconsciously needed them.

Either way, it seemed perfectly right when I donned my first pair of specs, and I dreamed of the day I would earn enough money to afford a glasses wardrobe — I'd love to have three pair to choose from each morning. That would be living! I imagined them in a pretty cloth-lined box in a gigantic bathroom with a deep wooden tub and a skylight ... but I digress. 

Most of what we've all heard about glasses has to do with other people's perceptions. Plenty of studies have shown that people who wear glasses seem more intelligent, but less attractive. (That's common enough to be punch line material.) But jokes aside, glasses-wearers are also more likely to get the job, which makes sense, since the bespectacled are also seen as more professional. So, lots of bonuses for wearing glasses (who cares how attractive you are if you're smart and well-employed? Or is that just me?). 

This all makes it sound like there are only positives associated with glasses, but there are negatives too. If you're working in any space with cold-heat differentials or steam, glasses are problematic, since you get blinded quickly and effectively when they get fogged up. (That's why I never cook while wearing my glasses — I get way too annoyed with them getting steamed up). Same thing if you're working out; they can get steamy as anything, or worse, just slowly slide down your sweaty nose — ugh! I don't like to run with mine either, though I have big plastic hipster frames, so I could see a light, frameless pair being comfortable and light enough for most types of exercise, as long as they were properly secured to my head.

But no matter how minimalist your glasses, they will keep you from being as spontaneous as you might want to be — there's no jumping in pools, lakes or the ocean until you carefully remove and stow your specs, though I have gone swimming with mine on, in a lake, and even put my head underwater, gently; so it can be done, but only cautiously. And I guess you're less likely to get in a fight if you're wearing glasses, but who gets in fights anymore? And maybe that's a positive. 

Then there's rainy days when you've forgotten your umbrella, when your soup steams up your glasses at lunch, and of course, the eternal sunglasses question: squint or switch to sunnies (prescription, of course). So yeah, glasses can be annoying, and, as the Buzzfeed video above points out, "Life's rough when your safety depends on a piece of plastic." Because yeah, not being able to see, that's dangerous. 

But there's another possible downside: Glasses can also cover your face, and depending on the size and shape of the frame may even be hiding your eyes, making you seem less trustworthy. I bet you can think of at least one shady person in your life who hides behind their glasses, right?  

“Glasses cover not just the eyes themselves, but the surrounding tissues, the cheekbones, the frown lines,” Dr. Neil Handley, curator of the British Optical Association Museum at the College of Optometrists told Pacific Standard. “These are all indicators of what you mean and are trying to say.”

Your glasses are another layer between you and the world — but this can be both useful and frustrating depending on the situation, so I say that one's a wash. Sometimes it's great to feel you're at a bit of remove from the world. 

All of this is a lot to consider — unless you just know that you're a glasses person. Then you put up with all the nonsense and enjoy all the benefits (and make fun of the people who wear glasses when they don't need to), because glasses are just a part of who you are. 

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Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

The truth about glasses
Most of us don't need to wear glasses anymore. So why do we?