Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

While shopping in the local supermarket yesterday, I was surprised to find this display on one of the shelves.

enter image description here

I also realize that I should have taken a pamphlet with me, as well as a picture of the boxes for the glasses, as seen in the picture to read more about it.

This answer at Skeptics.SE shows that there are in fact probably no long-term benefits of wearing pinhole glasses, but my question is...

What potential harm/side effects can be caused in the short and long-term from wearing this type of eyewear?

share|improve this question
They forgot the point: "make you look like an idiot" – nico Jul 23 '12 at 17:27
Did you try them on by any chance? – Luke Jul 26 '12 at 16:20
@Luke, I didn't. I had a feeling that they were just an alternative healing scam, and so didn't bother. – LanceLafontaine Jul 26 '12 at 17:14

Probably not many side effects except in specific instances, but no benefits either. My guess is that there are potential side effects because these glasses reduce the amount of light that the eye receives and restrict the visual field. Therefore, the restricted visual field would be bad for activities such as driving, in which you need your peripheral vision. And the reduced light makes objects appear dimmer, so it is harder to see with them at night. I also imagine (just a guess) that they would be bad for very young infants, who are almost always born without perfect vision and require some visual stimulation to correct.

There are probably many reasons why optometrists use a pinhole occluder for diagnostic purposes, but never prescribe it as treatment...

share|improve this answer
interesting answer, well reasoned, but do you have any references (e.g. for the infants being born without perfect vision)? I agree that these could definitely be argued to reduce your field of vision, and thus be unsafe for driving, but if you can find a study into this that would be ideal – Luke Jul 26 '12 at 16:22
A good reference by someone who studies child vision is here, and a less technical one is here. The infant brain is highly plastic. Completely patching the eye (24/7) will cause form-deprivation myopia, but interestingly, patching a few hours a day (in young children) can correct myopia. But I don't know how pinhole glasses will affect them. And as for studies, well, everything I can find online sounds like a scam. – jello Jul 26 '12 at 19:09
Oops, I meant that patching in children can correct amblyopia. – jello Jul 27 '12 at 11:50

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.