Changing Perceptions, Perspectives, and Prescriptions: A New Look on Glasses

Glasses have gone through their very own evolution over the past several years, both societally as well as for Millennials. The perception of wearing glasses has changed considerably since our own youth, when in elementary schools students may have been reluctant to wear glasses, until eventually finding their style and gaining acceptance among more mature peers. But there is a lot more to these little framed lenses than that which meets the eye.

Glasses culture has changed. But can it be attributed to us as individuals growing older and learning the appropriate response to those with glasses? I want to argue that this may be a part of it, but this explanation does not catch the entirety of the situation. In other words, something else is at play here. I believe there has been a cultural shift on societal perception of glasses that has enhanced not only the vision of those called “four-eyes” but has changed the once present stigma associated with glasses.

Over time it seems that society has begun to become more accepting as well as creative with glasses in general, with many influential figures docking their very own pair of glasses, as well as the incredible impact that important pop cultural icons, looking at you Harry Potter, have had on lenses.

The birth of nerd culture becoming something to be proud of rather than ashamed of as well as the influx of the hipster cultural trend (fad? movement?) has only contributed to the growing popularity and acceptance of wearing glasses publicly. But there’s more to it than just that. It leads to those who don’t need glasses to wearing glasses. And that’s where the real question surfaces, bobbing up and down to now be investigated and probed at as we try to get to the bottom of this.

When people choose to wear glasses without prescription lenses (those who wear them without any medical necessity), is this a symptom of the final acceptance of those with bodily differences? Have we begun our long quest to end the stigma and taboo that cling so tightly in our society to those who we deem to be “disabled”? Or on the other hand, is this some sort of underhanded exploitation of those who actually need them as a necessity, thereby perpetuating an ableist agenda of sorts?

While I may not have the clear-cut answer to the issue, it is something worth discussing, as it may serve as an important gateway to facilitating an important discussion as we inch towards creating larger dialogue regarding “disability” and different abilities on a larger scale.

This article was written by Amar Ojha, founder and writer at dusk magazine. 

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