People with anxiety and glasses: Can I have some advice?

Avatar image for the_nubster
#1 Edited by The_Nubster (4359 posts) -

I got glasses about a week ago (I'm nearsighted, severely) and I've been wearing them around a good deal for driving and walking around and watching TVs that are slightly too far away and looking at my girlfriend's face and such. However, I've noticed a pretty significant drawback.

The simple act of wearing them makes me incredibly anxious over longer periods of time.

My anxiety is largely social but sometimes flares up when I'm alone and feeling particularly paranoid or depressed. I think I've narrowed it down to two things. 1) Being able to clearly see faces, pupils, and what people are looking at makes me incredibly self-conscious that people might be looking at me, and realizing that they can see as clearly as I can now makes me worried that they are glaring at me from across the room and 2) having frames makes me feel boxed-in to my own brain, and it causes me to mentally retreat and feel distant and disconnected from the world and more focused on myself and how I'm presenting myself.

For anyone else who suffers from anxiety and has glasses, is this something you've experienced as well? Does it go away, or subside over time? Is this specific to my Shit Brain? I've been hot on laser eye surgery for a while but figured glasses would be an acceptable and possibly stylish alternative (and hot dang are they stylin), but I may end up going with laser eyeballs if this keeps up.

Avatar image for handlas
#2 Edited by handlas (3406 posts) -

Why not contacts? I'm very nearsighted as well. Disposable contacts are fine these days, imo. Hardly feel you have them on. Of course you have to buy them which adds up. I do 6 month boxes but I extend that easily... they say throw em away after 2 weeks I think but I wear them about 3 weeks.

I literally went about 5 years with no glasses... just contacts. Which was dumb because I wouldn't be able to wear contacts if I ever had an eye infection or anything. I recently got some glasses though but my eyes are so bad that, like you, I don't like wearing them unless necessary. Only because it creates a sort of fish-eye lens effect and I feel like I have no peripheral vision. Not really anxiety nor do I care at all if people judge me for wearing glasses... who cares? I actually like how I look in the glasses but I prefer the comfort of contacts.

I pretty much put my contacts in the moment I wake up and wear them until I go to bed. Lasers would be a good investment probably but I'm more iffy about having something like that done to my eyes.

edit: Also, I realize I'm kinda giving u an option that doesn't really address the glasses issue u have directly. I'd imagine you would get use to them over time? I tried to wear my glasses on occasion to get use to the feeling but... nah I like contacts.

Avatar image for spiceninja
#3 Posted by spiceninja (3286 posts) -

@handlas: If his eyes are as bad as mine (-9 in both eyes with astigmatism) then contacts fucking suck. I tried them for a while but I could never get anything truly in focus and reading small text was nigh impossible without reading glasses. Needing glasses while wearing contacts sounded idiotic to me so I've stuck to just wearing glasses.

Anyway, I've worn glasses since I was 10 and I'm almost 28. So I've been wearing them for most of my life. I have anxiety too, of the generalized and social types, so I fully understand being anxious about people noticing you, I've had that problem my entire life. But once you've worn them for about a week everyone will get used to seeing you with them and you'll get used to wearing them. New people you meet won't even know you didn't used to wear them so that thought of "oh he looks different' won't even be in their head. And if you think they're stylin then they probably are so have confidence wearing them.

If you don't mind me asking, are you on any kind of medication for your anxiety? Up until a few months ago I didn't even realize I had an anxiety disorder. I just knew I felt really bad in certain situations and some days I was so on edge I couldn't think straight. But I talked to my doctor about it, he told me I probably had a generalized anxiety disorder, and he put me on some meds that I have really made a huge difference.

Avatar image for handlas
#4 Edited by handlas (3406 posts) -

@spiceninja said:

@handlas: If his eyes are as bad as mine (-9 in both eyes with astigmatism) then contacts fucking suck.

Oh! And I thought I was blind, haha. I'm -7.5 which is pretty bad. Have you tried recently? Seems like they are always getting better. Disposables though... not ones you keep in full-time because those ARE definitely terrible.

I've also had glasses since the 2nd grade but got contacts the moment my parents let me. So I've been wearing contacts for like 20 years... so maybe I'm just use to them :).

Avatar image for the_nubster
#5 Posted by The_Nubster (4359 posts) -

@spiceninja: My issue isn't so much with people noticing the difference, but moreso people noticing me in general. I think my atrocious eyesight let me get by decently on most days thinking that the majority of people didn't notice me, but now I understand that most people can recognize a face from really, really far away and it's just freaking me out. On top of that, I dress pretty well and have flaming red hair and a great big bushy beard so I feel as if that makes me very memorable too. It's just amplifying the general feeling of being uncomfortable existing in this world, I think. I understand the silliness of wanting to dress fashionably and also not wanting to be noticed, btw. it's a sucky feeling.

As for medication, no, I'm not on any. I recently registered with a new family doctor and I'm going to be going to a physical and getting bloodwork done for the first time in maybe 8-10 years, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to do some dietary stuff and get therapy and get a handle on my anxiety. it sounds hypocritical of me because I fully support medication, and it's actually helped my girlfriend back from the brink of suicide which I will forever be thankful for, but I want to try and deal with it myself before I take medication.

If you still ran into anxiety issues despite having glasses for a long time, that probably means it's a brain thing on my end. It just kind of sucks that one of the biggest improvements in my life in terms of moment-to-moment quality also comes with such a significant drawback.

@handlas: I'm not really into contacts just because of the cost that they would be over the course of my life. I'm also not into putting my finger in my eye every day, honestly, I'd rather one invasive procedure to get it all over with. it's good to hear that you are bothered by the peripheral vision thing, too. I thought for a hot second I was the only one who hated that and I was just afraid to speak up, but the blurriness on the very edges of my vision and the feeling of being ever-so-slightly distorted was bugging me initially.

Avatar image for lobster_johnson
#6 Posted by lobster_johnson (71 posts) -

I don't really have anxiety but, when I've gotten new glasses after my prescription has changed, I've definitely had that thing where you're suddenly aware of when people are looking at you and it's weird. It stopped feeling weird after a couple of days I think?

Last time I got new glasses I got larger frames than I'm used to and it was a couple of weeks before I got used to a larger portion of my field of view being in focus.

It may just take a bit longer for you to adjust to things.

Avatar image for shindig
#7 Posted by Shindig (4987 posts) -

You'd be surprised how bad your prescription can get before contacts are no longer an option. I can't imagine life without them now.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b85a38d6c493
#8 Posted by deactivated-5b85a38d6c493 (1990 posts) -

I didn't wear glasses for a long time even though my vision was completely fucked up just because seeing clearly made things scarier. Having everything be a complete blur was a bit of a relief though it was an obvious hindrance at the same time.
I can relate to most of what you are describing. And I can tell you that wearing contacts for me made a big difference. I never liked wearing glasses, having contacts feels more "freeing" in a way. And while the cost can certainly be an issue, do not fear having to touch your eyes. I've always hated the thought of having to touch my eyes, but really after a few days it becomes a non-issue. You aren't really touching your eyeballs with your fingers in any case, you are just lightly applying the contact to the eye.

Avatar image for robbparris
#9 Posted by robbparris (301 posts) -

@the_nubster

If you don't mind my asking, how old are you?

I only ask this as I had the exact same issue when I was younger, absolutely hated wearing them as a result, would never wear them on nights out etc.

Whereas I will say later I've actually grown to like how I look with them, I actually don't wear contact because I think I look better with them on.

Avatar image for tom_omb
#10 Edited by Tom_omb (1087 posts) -

I've worn glasses since I was ten and have battled with social anxiety for most of that time. I can understand your issue. Simply being aware of more faces looking at you can be troublesome, but I can't say I've suffered this myself due to glasses. I've just worn glasses for so long I don't even think about them. I'd like to say you'll get used to it like I did, but maybe getting them much later in life would make this more challenging. That goes for my impaired peripheral vision as well, I'm aware it's not perfect, but it's never been a problem for me. I've never even seriously considered contacts or laser surgery because I'm happy with glasses and I don't want anything touching my eyes.

Maybe if these issues persist surgery could be the answer for you. Now that you have the glasses, I'd suggest you try them out for a while. They are strange at first. When I first got them I took them off to eat for some reason. Sometimes getting a new prescription has thrown me off for a little while as my brain adjusts to me new, sharper vision.

Avatar image for the_nubster
#11 Posted by The_Nubster (4359 posts) -

@robbparris: I'm 23.

@boonsong: Interesting. I'll definitely stick with the glasses for a while and see how my brain handles them, but I guess contacts aren't completely off the table. Though again, if I am going to go the glasses-less route, I'll probably just get laser eyes.

Avatar image for alwaysbebombing
#12 Posted by alwaysbebombing (2717 posts) -

You should visit your local counseling service. Even without insurance they often have a sliding scale of billing.

Good luck to you!

Avatar image for kylenalepa
#13 Posted by kylenalepa (188 posts) -

@the_nubster said:

I got glasses about a week ago (I'm nearsighted, severely) and I've been wearing them around a good deal for driving and walking around and watching TVs that are slightly too far away and looking at my girlfriend's face and such. However, I've noticed a pretty significant drawback.

The simple act of wearing them makes me incredibly anxious over longer periods of time.

My anxiety is largely social but sometimes flares up when I'm alone and feeling particularly paranoid or depressed. I think I've narrowed it down to two things. 1) Being able to clearly see faces, pupils, and what people are looking at makes me incredibly self-conscious that people might be looking at me, and realizing that they can see as clearly as I can now makes me worried that they are glaring at me from across the room and 2) having frames makes me feel boxed-in to my own brain, and it causes me to mentally retreat and feel distant and disconnected from the world and more focused on myself and how I'm presenting myself.

For anyone else who suffers from anxiety and has glasses, is this something you've experienced as well? Does it go away, or subside over time? Is this specific to my Shit Brain? I've been hot on laser eye surgery for a while but figured glasses would be an acceptable and possibly stylish alternative (and hot dang are they stylin), but I may end up going with laser eyeballs if this keeps up.

I have anxiety and have worn glasses forever. To be honest, I can't think of any time the glasses in and of themselves have caused an anxiety attack, though. I do have trouble with eye contact, though, and have noticed that either looking at some other part of their face or just putting them slightly outside my direct line of site helps in those situations. Another idea, when you're noticing an anxiety attack coming up, might be to just take that as an opportunity to clean your glasses. Keep talking to whoever you're talking to but just take off the glasses and give them a bit of a wipe with your shirt or something. It's a totally normal thing to do and nobody will think twice about it.

And, most importantly, give it time. A week is still a pretty short time to get used to something so different so try reevaluating things in a month or two and see if it's still a problem. Good luck!

Avatar image for ryuku_ryosake
#14 Posted by Ryuku_Ryosake (446 posts) -

I have about a -6 and -7 in my eyes and they have been that bad for most of life. To me at least the very concept of not having any corrective lens going on is unfathomable. As for me without them the only thing getting me by is light and color variations when either of those are low I might as well be completely blind. On the anxiety front I can't give you too much advice but I do have some tips when it comes to glasses and contacts.

One contact really are not that that bad. I was extremely put off by the idea of touching my eyes but I went years wearing them almost exclusively pretty quickly. My putting them in technique basically was looking up putting them on below the pupil and having them slide into position naturally so you don't have to watch your finger go in.

You can also really REALLY stretch out an order of contacts lenses if the cost is an issue. Generally if you always take the out before sleeping and when they start getting dry and crappy at the end of the day. A pair of weeklies usually last a month if not two. Really only toss them when they get tears rather than for poor condition. I also didn't do any damage to my eyes doing that my optimeterist could barely tell I was wearing contacts. Also lie to them seying you don;t wear them often to have them stop from trying to upsale you on more than you need.

On the glasses front big frames are in which is a massive boon. My current big old frames cover pretty much my entire field of vision. Back when small frames were popular that was a bigger issue. Also lens materials make a massive difference. The difference material determine how thick your lenses have to be for a given prescription. The thickness changes how much distortion you get around the edges and when I made the switch to the thinner materials my lenses at least a half thinner. So those changes over time I've had maybe like 60% field of perfect vision to about 95% field of prefect vision I'm rocking now. It make a world of difference with the claustrophobic feeling glasses can give you.

Avatar image for the_nubster
#15 Posted by The_Nubster (4359 posts) -

@kylenalepa: The glasses cleaning is a good tip, I'll try to keep that in mind. I've just been taking them off entirely until it subsides but I guess I really should be keeping them on as often as possible to get used to them. I plan on giving it a couple months to see where I stand with them.

@ryuku_ryosake The cost isn't a big problem up front, honestly, I'm pretty good with my money. It's just the idea of the cost over a long period of time which would bug me. The distortion and framed edges are a big factor of what's freaking me out I think so I'll definitely look into that. The smaller framed fit my face well, though, but apparently I have an oval face which is the most ideal face shape and can look good with most anything (which I think is hot garbage but my opinions on fashion trends and body shaming are a whole other topic). It's definitely something I'll look into in the future if I keep having issues with these glasses.

Avatar image for omgfather
#16 Posted by OMGFather (1066 posts) -

You'll get used to them over time. I think everyone is nervous at first, you're changing your look - people are going to notice. I used to think for the longest time that I looked stupid because my glasses seemed way bigger on my smaller head than everyone else with glasses looked. I wear them every day and have done for years now.

Avatar image for captain_insano
#17 Posted by Captain_Insano (3540 posts) -

I wear glasses.

Glasses are pretty cool nowadays.

They seem fairly common.

You're a cool duder

Avatar image for zaccheus
#18 Posted by zaccheus (2099 posts) -

I don't have the issues you do, but getting glasses was still a big deal to me. I sat in first row in school for few years since I didn't see but didn't want to get glasses because I knew everyone would talk about it... Seems kind of silly now but teens are I guess. When I went to a different school I started using glasses since in my mind if everyone would meet me with glasses it wouldn't be a big deal.

It took a long time to get used to them. At first it seemed impossible to me. Still seeing is pretty awesome so I just kept on it. Now... I have gone into the shower with glasses on since I didn't remember to take them off. They are a part of me. This is great except when you have to buy new glasses, it's almost like getting a new face to me and it's fucking difficult.

I can't really talks to your specific anxiety, but know that everyone has to get used to wearing glasses and it will take time.

Avatar image for forkboy
#19 Posted by forkboy (1650 posts) -

I feel your pain. I got glasses when I was around 11 or 12, & burst into tears when I had to get glasses. It was super hard to cope with the idea, I had a lot of dumb kid ideas that somehow having glasses would make me an outcast, and then I went to school on the Monday, could actually see, and nobody said more than "nice glasses". I really love my glasses now, if only because I'm blind effectively without them.

I realise anxiety is way different from a childhood fear but you do get used to them, to being able to see the faces of those around you. Are you on any medication for the anxiety? Seeing a doctor at all? Because it seems like the sort of thing you could talk to someone about, I don't know if CBT actually works on anxiety disorders but seems like the sort of thing where you could use something like that to "correct" your thinking about being able to look in peoples eyes without that lingering sense of dread. I know I find direct eye contact is something I loathe, and makes me come out in a cold sweat, so I just try and focus on their nose or their forehead or something. Direct eye contact always feels like a personal space violation to me.

Avatar image for zelyre
#20 Posted by Zelyre (1904 posts) -

@the_nubster: I've been wearing glasses since I was 10 and until I was 20, I hated it. I was pretty much forced to get frames that were in my parent's price range, and since I also had a tiger mom, I had to get the glasses she agreed on. So, I spent my teen years looking like Harry Potter!

I got the exact frames I wanted when I got a job and was on my own insurance and it gave me a boost of self confidence that I needed. I got into performing on stage around this time and with hundreds of people watching you, you learn not to give a crap about them!

I thought contacts would be really sweet. But, they irritated the heck out of my eyes. I used to carry rewetting drops everywhere. Now, I just wear them when I'm fencing.

Any time you get new frames, you're going to feel detached from the world. Like, you're viewing the world from a window. I went from having glasses with a wider lens and very thin frame to a more "stylish" frame. Anytime I get new frames, I get dizzy/headaches for a week while I readjust. Your brain eventually makes them not there anymore.

I also strongly suggest just keeping the glasses on your face when you're awake. If you constantly take them on and off you're going to lose them.

Avatar image for dudeglove
#21 Posted by dudeglove (13792 posts) -

It sounds like you still have an adjustment period to get through. Kinda like when you wear new items of clothing and can feel it against your skin.

Are your frames quite heavy? What are they made of? Do the nose rests pinch slightly? Sometimes legs can feel like they slightly "dig" into the side of your head, but you can obviously get wider frames. Ask your eye doctor person to fit them on your head properly. You're likely not the first person to experience this.

FWIW I've worn glasses all my life and right now they're solid plastic frames. I've had all sorts of glasses over the years and I kinda wanna get gigantic big dorky frames next as opposed to the hipster shit I'm wearing right now.

Avatar image for hunkulese
#22 Posted by Hunkulese (4225 posts) -

@the_nubster: Go talk to a professional. You're not going to overcome this through forum advice.

Avatar image for zevvion
#23 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@the_nubster: Contacts are like no discomfort whatsoever and the time it takes to get them in is so insignificant, it matters just as much as washing your hands once.

Avatar image for matatat
#24 Posted by MATATAT (1225 posts) -

The weird thing is for some reason glasses make me less socially anxious, but I hate wearing glasses most of the time. It's a catch-22.

Avatar image for gaff
#25 Posted by Gaff (2768 posts) -

Not to sound like a dick but... The glasses aren't a problem, your anxiety isthough.

I honestly find it hard to believe that with a severe near-sightedness you only just had your glasses. This would have to mean that throughout most of your childhood and adult life you were severly impaired. Why didn't you look for help earlier? Did you find a way to work around your impairment, basically cheat your way through stuff? Or was your anxiety already that severe at that point in your life?

This has less to do with glasses, and "suddenly" being aware of the people around you, and more to do with your anxiety, which actually might be more severe than you think. All the quick escapes you're thinking of (contacts, lasik) are not going to solve your problem, if anything, they're more likely to make it worse. Remember, you can always choose not to wear contacts / glasses and live in the illusion that other people can't see you, lasik is permanent and will make you aware of other people all the time.

Avatar image for vasta_narada
#26 Posted by Vasta_Narada (752 posts) -

I agree with Gaff. It's just the anxiety flaring up, nothing to do with the glasses. I got glasses in high school after having trouble reading things more than 10 feet away for years and I knew that I wanted glasses to be as unobtrusive as possible. I went with wide rectangular lenses and thin frames; I keep them high on my nose and I have to make an effort to notice the parts around the periphery of my vision that aren't covered anymore.

I can't say wearing glasses has ever made me anxious, but a word of advice from someone who gets uncomfortable in crowds because of my conduct: no one's looking at you. They're busy in their own world. If they glance at you, it's just a glance. They aren't thinking anything significant about you almost certainly. I understand that anxiety means you can't just tell yourself this and make the panic go away, but I find it helps the more sure you are of this.

Avatar image for sfbaybunny
#28 Posted by sfbaybunny (22 posts) -

Hey @the_nubster !

  1. I agree with @hunkulese. Working in the health field, I recognize how valuable it is to speak with a professional about this. If you need any help connecting with the right kind of provider-- let me know & I'll be happy to help. o:)
  2. I'm 23, practically blind since 7... Been wearing glasses/contacts since & deal with anxiety on a daily basis. I feel you. Some frames are insanely heavy or fitted in a way that cause headaches. For funsies, check out Warby Parker's site. I bought two pairs from them & although they're a bit pricey, they've been great. *I had them adjusted afterwards, but the frames themselves are solid.
  3. If you haven't tried contacts yet, please do. They're liberating. Contacts are a must for when I exercise or for days when sunnies are necessary. To avoid any trouble, I've learned to bring a travel size of contact solution, my case, & glasses just about everywhere. Knowing I have solution to wash them/glasses to switch into when my eyes get irritated is such a relief!
  4. Nonetheless... Laser eye surgery sounds like the dream. To wake up and be able to see clearly without scrambling around for glasses is... Incredible. I'm confident you'll feel 100% comfortable soon enough. Just be patient and allow yourself to try some alternatives. :)
Avatar image for pezen
#29 Posted by Pezen (2394 posts) -

I know this is going to sound like bullshit advice and it's hard to convince yourself of something. But there's a saying that has helped me over the years as someone that also suffers from what I can only assume is a form of social anxiety (I haven't actually had a diagnosis of any kind). I used to go long periods without glasses, partially due to being lazy about getting new ones and partially because them often made me feel ugly. Not having glasses also helped me feel invisible (for the same reason you list, being able to see other people's faces possibly looking at me), which I sometimes feel like I need to be.

Either way, the saying is “You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” -- That goes equally to them looking at you. People will look at you. But that means nothing. Imagine any time you look at any random stranger on the street. How often compared to how seldom do you actually think about them or even notice them? For me, reminding myself of that has helped a lot. And I am one of those people that can suddenly obsess over how I walk for no apparent reason.

But mostly, being able to see better will eventually be common enough in your life to where you'll probably not think about it. You'll get used to it and it'll be the way it is. Concerning the frames, I can see that though I haven't experienced anything like it. But how about getting some frame-less ones? Might be harder depending on the thickness of the glass but for me it's made it easier to forget that I am wearing glasses.

Avatar image for justin258
#30 Posted by Justin258 (15693 posts) -

Hey @the_nubster !

  1. I agree with @hunkulese. Working in the health field, I recognize how valuable it is to speak with a professional about this. If you need any help connecting with the right kind of provider-- let me know & I'll be happy to help. o:)
  2. I'm 23, practically blind since 7... Been wearing glasses/contacts since & deal with anxiety on a daily basis. I feel you. Some frames are insanely heavy or fitted in a way that cause headaches. For funsies, check out Warby Parker's site. I bought two pairs from them & although they're a bit pricey, they've been great. *I had them adjusted afterwards, but the frames themselves are solid.
  3. If you haven't tried contacts yet, please do. They're liberating. Contacts are a must for when I exercise or for days when sunnies are necessary. To avoid any trouble, I've learned to bring a travel size of contact solution, my case, & glasses just about everywhere. Knowing I have solution to wash them/glasses to switch into when my eyes get irritated is such a relief!
  4. Nonetheless... Laser eye surgery sounds like the dream. To wake up and be able to see clearly without scrambling around for glasses is... Incredible. I'm confident you'll feel 100% comfortable soon enough. Just be patient and allow yourself to try some alternatives. :)

Speaking as someone who has been searching for the best place to buy decent glasses recently, I need to ask you something I can't seem to find a straight answer on - does Warby-Parker's prices include lenses? Like, do I pay for the frames and then pay more for the lenses, or do I just pay the price listed on their website?

Avatar image for the_nubster
#31 Posted by The_Nubster (4359 posts) -

@hunkulese: That is definitely on the list. I just registered with a family doctor much, much closer to me and I'm going to get a physical and bloodwork done to make sure I'm otherwise healthy, talk to him about my mental health issues, and then go from there. It's all in the plan.

@gaff: I know you're not trying to be a dick and I don't want to inundate you with a life story you don't care about, but to explain: my vision deteriorated rather recently (started about 5 years ago from what I consciously noticed, may have been longer before I picked up on it) and my anxiety only started to come on in about that same time frame. Several people who I love went through some very, very awful things and because of how I was involved in it, it caused a severe amount of stress that eventually morphed into anxiety. My lack of glasses is the same reason I've yet to talk to a professional about it: my anxiety (and frequent depression) stopped me from committing to bettering myself for most of that time. I would write, work out, talk with friends and socialise in spurts, but it hasn't been until recently, and with the support of my very wonderful and giving girlfriend, that I've started to pull out of it and actively try and get better over a long period of time. I'm not looking for cheats or trying to avoid the issue; I've simply never had to deal with this specific set of circumstances and I was looking for different points of view on it. I appreciate your input though.

@sfbaybunny: Thank you for the advice! As I mentioned above, talking to a professional is on my short list of things to get done and I'm working on it. I think the fit may be an issue and there's a place near where I live that does fittings for free (as far as I can tell), so I am going to pop by there and have them adjusted. I see contacts being suggested again and again in this thread so I may look into that as well, even though I am still hesitant for reasons I've explained previously.

As a general response to everyone who has mentioned this piece of advice: I understand that nobody really cares about how I look. It's something I've understood for a long time. But it's a constant battle to tell my brain that that is the case. I have it playing on repeat in my head, I've talked to friends about it, I've had it drilled into my head from countless online resources and posters on plenty of message boards when anxiety comes up in conversation. The fact is that I simply cannot turn that part of my brain off and it's a fight to get it to settle down enough to conduct myself like a normal person in public. It's why I am going to talk to a therapist. It's how I know I have a problem that extends beyond my glasses. The more people who tell me that the solution is simply to not care, the more broken I feel. I know the advice is meant well, but it's not that easy for me, even though I wish it was.

Avatar image for shorap
#32 Posted by shorap (455 posts) -

I just got glasses a bit over a year ago because I've got a slight stigmatizm in both eyes. It's never caused a panic attack but if/when I have one coming the glasses can make me feel trapped.

In a similar way, driving a car, coats, shirts or anything that makes me feel claustrophobic can make my panic attacka worse. Hell, sometimes just having a panic attack, along with the disassociative feeling that anxiety sometimes gives can make me feel trapped in my own body.

I'll say that I don't notice the glasses as much the more I wear them but anxiety is a weird thing. I would say that if I absolutely had to I'd go for contacts over the laser eye surgery and this is coming from someone who can't even put eye drops in his own eye because I've got an eye phobia similar to what Jeff has described.

Avatar image for sfbaybunny
#33 Edited by sfbaybunny (22 posts) -

@justin258: Lenses are included & you pay for the listed price. :)

Avatar image for monkeyking1969
#34 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7691 posts) -

I remember getting glasses when I was 12 it took me awhile to start ignoring the frames. As far as seeing the people see you, sometime staht is good too, keep telling yourself that. When you cannot see well, you miss a lot of social cues like "Hey, come over" or "do you see what I'm seeing?" I cannot give you advice for feeling less anxious, but do try to think about "what you can see" as helpful and inclusive.

Consider This:

  • In most surveys people, report seeing someone in glasses makes them appear smarter.
  • Sunglasses in 12th century China (or possibly earlier) were created out of flat panes of smoky quartz, and were used by judges to hide their expressions when interrogating witnesses.
  • You have the option to dramatically remove them, when the mood strikes.
  • In servesy, people say, Glasses can make you look more honest.
  • Social class: Higher social class is associated with wearing glasses.
  • Glasses take away your apparent threat level, especially if you’re a man.
Avatar image for mekon
#35 Posted by mekon (514 posts) -

In my experience people forget the change in your appearance of not-wearing/wearing glasses very quickly. I made a few aborted attempts to wear glasses because either I felt self-conscious or unsure they were helping my vision. At the time, that was either because I noticed the edge of the lenses or I was unsure of the prescription, but I think I was so busy at work one day that I only realised at the end of that day that the glasses were doing the job.

Avatar image for flowerpuff
#36 Edited by FlowerPuff (1 posts) -

Hi, hopefully someone sees this -- just finding this thread now.

Does anyone suffer from the feeling of "getting lost in the trees?" As in, seeing the trees, and no longer seeing the forest.

That's been my experience of correcting my astigmatism, and it's really stifling. I really relate to your description of anxiety as causing you to be frozen and thinking in your head too much. Because I've mostly never corrected my eyesight my life till now (29), seeing "the way 'everyone' sees" is like having a bad trip. I get frozen. Not to mention, my orientation of where I am in my body is totally skewed due to the astigmatism. So it's like I'm frozen in a body, uncomfortably, overwhelmed by detail, terrified to say or do anything because it feels unfamiliar and I don't want anyone to see me. When normally, I'm way flowier and okay with being a little weird / walk to my own drum.

I need them to drive technically. Otherwise I feel way better without them. I did however read an article about how astigmatism can cause some negative personality tendencies, so I became nervous. I want to be a good person! I just also want to not be "frozen in the details"...?

Avatar image for nick
#37 Edited by Nick (1044 posts) -

i wonder, is there a relationship between anxiety and bad eyesight? i have fantastic vision and close to zero social anxiety. i doubt it's one to one, but i can think of a few anxious people i know that wear glasses. maybe bad eyesight is just a contributing factor.

Avatar image for justin258
#38 Edited by Justin258 (15693 posts) -

A relationship between anxiety and bad eyesight. That's weird.

If it helps at all, the vast majority of people don't have the time, the energy, or the brainspace to care that some stranger is wearing glasses or has flaming red hair or whatever. As you get older and start to realize this more and more, you'll care less and less what the random people at Wal Mart think. At least, that's how it has been for me. This should help a lot with the glasses thing.

Also, it takes time to get used to glasses. They suck, and that adjustment period sucks even more, but at some point soon you'll get used to them and never think about them much again.

Avatar image for casepb
#39 Edited by Casepb (776 posts) -

@nick: I'm going to say very much no. My step dad wears glasses and I truly believe he has never experienced any form of anxiety in his life. The guy is the most easy going human being I've ever seen in my life. The kitchen was on fire and he was taking his time calm as hell putting it out like nothing serious was going on. And then I have a cousin who does not wear glasses or corrective lenses and she has some extreme anxiety that takes a xanax a day.

Avatar image for nodima
#40 Edited by Nodima (2654 posts) -

Man, that sucks. I can't say that I feel any anxiety derived from my glasses other than I wish I didn't have to wear them. I'm satisfied with the glasses I have now but I don't feel like any frames really suit my face, and I just look like someone who shouldn't be wearing glasses. Nobody I know has ever confirmed that but obviously nobody would be thinking about my appearance as much as I do. I had my car stolen seven or eight years ago and my glasses had been in them; my eyesight was never awful so I just went that long without them. But the girl I was dating two years ago came across an amazing Groupon offering frames and lenses for just $50 so I took her up on it (she constantly made fun of how often I'd squint at the TV) and let me tell you - as much as I wish I had a tolerance for contact lenses, being able to see is way cooler than not.

As somebody with a pretty healthy dose of social anxiety who also has a very public-facing job as a bartender, my best piece of advice I can give you is the sort of token advice you've probably been given a hundred times before about other ways your anxiety attacks you: nobody is thinking about you as deeply as you are, and nobody is talking about you as passionately as you're picturing them. Glasses especially are exceptionally normal accessories in adulthood and nobody is judging you for that.

Avatar image for the_hiro_abides
#41 Posted by the_hiro_abides (1325 posts) -

Hi.

I know this is necroposting but I'm hoping that positive changes have happened for you since your OP.

Anxiety isn't easy all the time but I'm glad you were going to a professional. Also I have mega thick glasses because I can't see clearly past arms length.

@hunkulese: That is definitely on the list. I just registered with a family doctor much, much closer to me and I'm going to get a physical and bloodwork done to make sure I'm otherwise healthy, talk to him about my mental health issues, and then go from there. It's all in the plan.

@gaff: I know you're not trying to be a dick and I don't want to inundate you with a life story you don't care about, but to explain: my vision deteriorated rather recently (started about 5 years ago from what I consciously noticed, may have been longer before I picked up on it) and my anxiety only started to come on in about that same time frame. Several people who I love went through some very, very awful things and because of how I was involved in it, it caused a severe amount of stress that eventually morphed into anxiety. My lack of glasses is the same reason I've yet to talk to a professional about it: my anxiety (and frequent depression) stopped me from committing to bettering myself for most of that time. I would write, work out, talk with friends and socialise in spurts, but it hasn't been until recently, and with the support of my very wonderful and giving girlfriend, that I've started to pull out of it and actively try and get better over a long period of time. I'm not looking for cheats or trying to avoid the issue; I've simply never had to deal with this specific set of circumstances and I was looking for different points of view on it. I appreciate your input though.

@sfbaybunny: Thank you for the advice! As I mentioned above, talking to a professional is on my short list of things to get done and I'm working on it. I think the fit may be an issue and there's a place near where I live that does fittings for free (as far as I can tell), so I am going to pop by there and have them adjusted. I see contacts being suggested again and again in this thread so I may look into that as well, even though I am still hesitant for reasons I've explained previously.

As a general response to everyone who has mentioned this piece of advice: I understand that nobody really cares about how I look. It's something I've understood for a long time. But it's a constant battle to tell my brain that that is the case. I have it playing on repeat in my head, I've talked to friends about it, I've had it drilled into my head from countless online resources and posters on plenty of message boards when anxiety comes up in conversation. The fact is that I simply cannot turn that part of my brain off and it's a fight to get it to settle down enough to conduct myself like a normal person in public. It's why I am going to talk to a therapist. It's how I know I have a problem that extends beyond my glasses. The more people who tell me that the solution is simply to not care, the more broken I feel. I know the advice is meant well, but it's not that easy for me, even though I wish it was.

Avatar image for the_nubster
#42 Posted by The_Nubster (4359 posts) -

@the_hiro_abides: Hey! Thanks for caring. I really do appreciate it.

Without getting in to too much, things got extremely worse for a good while (I made this post a year and a half ago!), but are now on the upswing. The bad stuff came from a situation I was in that was making my anxiety and self-esteem worse by an order of magnitude, and seeing a professional did help correct that somewhat. I'm mostly doing okay now, and my anxiety is much more under control than it was when I made this post. The glasses do still sometimes compound my anxiety but I'm not nearly as worried about it as I was back then.

Avatar image for mac122
#43 Posted by MaC122 (93 posts) -

I wore contacts and glasses for over 20 years. I was -4.50 and I thought I was blind. I finally got LASIK last year and it was the best decision. I just keep asking myself, ‘Why did I wait 20 years to do this?’. There are some minor drawbacks, but being able to wake up and see without putting contacts in is amazing.

Avatar image for fyaretskiy
#44 Posted by fyaretskiy (1 posts) -

@the_nubster

I have personal experience in this.

There are 2 potential problems.

1. You have dry eyes. I think when my eyes were dry, wearing eyeglasses was more uncomfortable. Get evaluated. I suggest someone who owns a lipiview or otherwise different imaging tool. Or someone who is is marketed as a dry eye specialist.

2. You lenses are not a good fit. If you purchase eyeglasses from an online vendor, they probably won't be centered vertically. You can save money by buying frames online but have the lenses made via a local optician.

Recently when changing eyeglasses my mood improved substantially! I've been experiencing what feels like anxiety from eyeglasses for a few years.

Avatar image for sahalarious
#45 Posted by Sahalarious (802 posts) -

On celexa and buspar for anxiety and depression, but I've been wearing glasses since I was 8. I'll say that I think your blurred vision was just as much of a blanket as my looking down at my phone as far as dealing with crowdsa goes, it may take some time to adjust. Frames I don't mind but also takes an adjustment, contacts are a viable alternative if you really remain bothered. Good luck, know it's not easy.