Written By Despina
Contributing Optometrist

“There’s IKEA furniture that requires more effort and reading and brains to assemble than measuring refraction.”

Is that so….


“If you were to buy a lens test kit and spend an hour or two on the basics of refraction, you could measure your myopia, without fail, perfectly, every single time.”


These are quote from Jake’s blog, ‘Do. Not. Measure. Your. Eyesight’.

So, by the same logic, surgeons can skip medical school, someone just needs to quickly show them how to perform a few operations and send them on their way. No background details of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, chemistry, etc. etc. required. Anyone can do it.

And anyone can prescribe their own glasses, no training or background required. Three year degree totally unnecassary. The principles of light and lenses and the anatomy and physiology of the head? Irrelevant. All you need is a tape-measure.

For the purposes of BackTo20/20, your tape-measure may be enough. But as a responsible optometrist, it is my duty to offer a word of caution here, especially as far as refracting children is concerned. This is where a little visual optics and anatomy come in useful.

Leaving an infant or young child uncorrected or under-corrected, ie. leaving them in a blur, may affect their vision permanently in a condition called ‘amblyopia’. Amblyopia is a visual developmental disorder in which the eye cannot achieve clear vision, even with a prescription. It occurs if the eye is deprived of a clear image, as in myopia (as well as in hyperopia, strabismus, cataract, all of which give a blurred image).

If the blurred image is left unfocused, the retina eventually loses its ability to form a sharp image, and the brain will ignore the blurred image. If this happens, no lens will  sharpen the image.

We know now that children should only wear their myopic correction for distance vision and not near, as this will cause hyperopic defocus and progressive myopia. And it’s great that we know that now. 

But to avoid your optometrist so as not to give your child glasses at all may lead to irreversible damage.