Science is a wonderful thing, responsible for some of the world’s greatest and most interesting inventions. Pinhole glasses are one of those interesting products designed to help people with certain eye care issues. The question is, what can these glasses do for you?

What Are They?

Pinhole, or stenopeic glasses are a different type of eyewear than those you normally see people wearing. These special glasses have lenses that are not clear glass, but opaque plastic perforated with rows of tiny round holes. These small holes let in pinpoints of light to the eye. Pinhole glasses are generally used for a brief period of time every day, and never when driving or performing potentially dangerous tasks.

What Are They Used For?

Your natural eye surface receives light from a variety of angles, and the images can become blurred as they pass through your eye structure if your lens or cornea isn’t the perfect shape. This happens because the incoming light is not striking the exact spot of vision in the retina. When the image falls short or extends past the effective range of the retina, a blur circle exists. Pinhole glasses reduce the angles from which the light is received and direct the rays of light to more accurately strike the retina. The goal is improved sharpness, contrast, and brightness of the image, similar to the effects of squinting. They have also been popular for reducing eye strain symptoms.

Do They Really Work?

For centuries, pinhole glasses have been used by optometrists on eye care patients with refractive vision issues. The efficacy of pinhole glasses has been both touted and disputed for a long time. Some eye care professionals swear by them, yet the US Food and Drug Administration has banned certain advertising phrases and claims in the marketing of this product. Pinhole glasses could be used as an eye muscle exercise tool, which could potentially improve vision issues caused by poor eye muscle strength. While there is a lack of adequate clinical evidence that proves they generally improve vision, they ARE helpful for eye strain. Since they change the focus of the eye and block some of the intensity and glare of light sources around you, the eye can relax.

For eye care patients with eye strain or refractive issues, pinhole glasses may have some benefit to improving your vision and comfort. Consult your eye doctor for more information on this interesting optometric device.