The decision to wear spectacles can be a source of major apprehension, with many people worried about the effect it will have on their perceived attractiveness. In reality though, is this concern justified – are glasses really a beauty killer or is it an unfounded stereotype?
We have trawled through the scientific literature to bring you the facts about the situation, and help to answer the question – “are glasses ugly”.
When thought of rationally, spectacles should not really have a big impact on our beauty, after all, they do not change our facial features in any way. However, the science tends to demonstrate that glasses do have a negative effect on facial attractiveness.
A study by the University of Colorado, found that people who wore spectacles received lower attractiveness ratings than non-spectacle wearers. Separate research also suggested that males who wear glasses were viewed as more feminine.
Unfortunately, the issue is not only related to other peoples opinions. Women who regularly wear spectacles view themselves as less attractive, which suggests a negative effect on self esteem. Luckily, there are indications that the issues surrounding beauty may be down to the type of spectacles that are worn – rimless glasses do not seem to harm perceived attractiveness to the same degree as rimmed glasses.
On the flip side to reduced beauty, spectacle wearers are almost always viewed as more intelligent than people who don’t wear them. This may be because myopia (the main reason for spectacle use) can be caused by spending time indoors and reading excessively.
One study found that glasses drew more attention to the eye area, and that the people who used eyeglasses were again perceived as intelligent but dull. As always though, there is other research that suggests this is not always the case.
A recent experiment was conducted using profile images on the popular business social network Linkedin. Female candidates were displayed either with glasses, or without. Interestingly, when wearing spectacles, the women were rated as having more expertise, and also more attractiveness than when they had no glasses.
Is this simply because their audience was largely business people, or are times changing?
Alternatives To Glasses
If you are tired of wearing glasses, or want to avoid having to wear them, there are a range of temporary and permanent solutions.
The most obvious and easiest choice is simply to use contact lenses instead – science shows that improved physical appearance, better social acceptance, and enhanced athletic performance are all a positive consequence of switching to contact lenses. However, it is important to note that the risk of eye infections also increases, especially if the lenses are not kept clean and sterile.
For a permanent solution that requires no daily maintenance (and little risk of infection), both laser eye surgery and implantable contact lenses are excellent choices. Each technique has a high success rate and they are quick, easy, and relatively painless procedures. Once surgery has taken place, you can look forward to a more confident, glasses-free future.