Your vision can change throughout your life, and though you may not wear glasses now, you might need them at some point. If you’re not sure whether you need glasses, we’re here to help with some common signs to look out for that may mean you’d benefit from wearing glasses.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms we mention, or you’ve noticed a sudden change in your vision, we suggest booking an eye test with your local optician to get your vision checked.

Signs you need glasses

Common signs you might need glasses include:

  • Difficulty focusing on objects up-close, for example when reading
  • Holding things further away to read small print
  • Trouble seeing or driving at night
  • Difficulty seeing objects in the distance
  • Double vision

  • Eye strain, or visual fatigue, particularly when using screens
  • Squinting or narrowing your eyes to see things more clearly
  • Blurry, fuzzy or distorted vision
  • Trouble adjusting your vision between various distances
  • Frequent headaches

Types of vision problems

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, it may be the result of a vision problem. Here are some common eye conditions that may be causing issues with your eyesight — but not to worry, all these can usually be corrected with glasses or contact lenses:


Myopia (more commonly known as near-sightedness or short-sightedness) is when a person can see more clearly when looking at objects up-close, but has difficulty when looking far away. This may mean that you can read from your phone just fine, but seeing things like the television is tricky, or a road sign in the distance may appear blurry when driving. You can learn more about it on our myopia page.


Hyperopia (or more commonly, far-sightedness or long-sightedness) is when a person has clearer vision when looking into the distance but struggles to focus on close objects such as a phone, computer screen, or book. To find out more, visit our page on long-sightedness.


Astigmatism is an imperfection in the curvature of your eye’s cornea or lens — with the shape being more like a rugby ball than the ideal football shape. It’s extremely common and nothing to worry about. As a result, light is unevenly distributed across the eye, often making your vision blurry, alongside other symptoms such as headaches and eye strain. Astigmatism usually happens alongside myopia or hyperopia — to learn more, visit our astigmatism page.


Presbyopia is a normal part of ageing. After the age of 40, you may begin to notice changes in your near vision, and things that used to appear clear will become blurry and more difficult to focus on. Other symptoms of presbyopia include finding it difficult to read small print and having to hold things further away to see them clearly. Find out more on our presbyopia page.

Partially sighted

The definition of partial sight varies from country to country. In the UK, the legal definition is "substantially and permanently handicapped by defective vision caused by a congenital defect, illness or injury".

The optical profession has defined this further by using a value that can be measured by standard tests: a visual acuity of 3/60 to 6/60 with full visual field (breadth of vision), or 6/24 or worse, with moderate visual field, or 6/18 or better with very reduced visual field (breadth of vision).

Visual impairment

Visual impairment or low vision is a severe reduction in vision that cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses and reduces a person's ability to function at certain or all tasks.

If your vision has deteriorated to a certain level, you may choose to register as visually impaired. You will need to see an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) and depending on the severity of your vision loss, you'll either be registered as sight impaired (previously "partially sighted") or severely sight impaired (previously "blind")

Your eye specialist will measure your visual acuity (ability to see detail at a distance) and your field of vision (how much you can see from the side of your eye when looking straight ahead). 

These measurements will help the eye specialist determine whether you’re eligible to be certified as sight impaired or severely sight impaired. If you are, they will complete an official certificate with the results of your eye examination. Your optometrist can advise you if you are likely to meet the criteria and refer you if appropriate.

Noticed a change in your eyesight?

If you’ve noticed a recent change in your eyesight, are experiencing any of the associated symptoms, or are just unsure whether you might need glasses, book an eye test with your local optician to get your vision checked.

You can find lots more information about other common eye conditions here.