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Wearing Eyeglasses


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My 7 yr old DD was diagnosed with 20/30 vision during her recent checkup. Her doctor predicts she would probably wear eyeglasses next year or the year after because both my DH and I are myopic (me especially). I felt really sad when I heard this as DD loves to dance and I wonder how wearing glasses may impact her. At this age, she is too young to wear contacts. I started wearing contacts in my teens and was so much happier as my peripheral viision improved, and everything from running to playing tennis became easier. Please share your experience if your DC wears glasses and loves to dance. We are trying to do some eye exercises with her and unsure if this really helps. We want to delay her wearing glasses for as long as possible,. We are also trying to do more outdoor activities to develop long range vision. So much of what DD does is indoors using short range vision, like reading, piano etc. Any advice appreciated. Thanks !

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I bet she will be okay in classes without glasses for a while, maybe even until she is old enough for contacts. If not, she can wear glasses in class until the level where she starts learning pirouettes. At that time, contacts are really needed, because with glasses one will never learn to spot. I don't teach young children, so those who arrive at the levels I teach need to wear contacts, because I will not allow them to do center work with glasses on. They cannot dance on stage with glasses, and they will not learn to work correctly in class with them once they are about 9 or 10 years old.

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My daughter is 12, got glasses when she was 9 (5th grade) and her vision was 20/40 when she first got them.


She has been able to dance in class with glasses (but has had some trouble with spotting) and has worn them on stage.


We went when she was 11 to try contacts and she couldn't get them in and we left the place with her in tears and she said she'd never try them again :) (I think she'll change her mind though).


Her AD has let her wear her glasses on stage, but for some reason at last year's recital, she did not want to wear them. But she had worn them in a company production just a few weeks before (insisted that she needed them--go figure).


I would say hold off for as long as you can, unless it starts interfering with school work. When DD had trouble seeing the board in the front of the room at school is when we had to finally get them.


Best wishes :)

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My nephew (not a dancer but does martial arts) has been wearing contacts since he was 8. They are disposable so he doesn't have to worry about cleaning them etc, just throws them away every evening.

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If she continues to dance there will likely become a point where she asks for contacts herself and that will be at the time it bothers her to wear the glasses in class or to go without the glasses in class. All 3 of mine wore glasses, but they just didn't wear them in dance class. Because of the type of vision issues they had, I guess it didn't bother them for a while. As their vision worsened and they needed the glasses to actually see in class, they asked for contacts pretty quickly. It was a different age for each. DD3 is 11 and still hasn't asked.

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My DD is pretty much legally blind without her glasses or contacts. When she was diagnosed at age 7, she went to class in glasses for the first time, came out and said "Mom, you know that mirror at the front of the room? It's to SEE yourself in while you dance!" She felt like even barre in glasses inhibited her movement and got her contacts at age 8. Never had a problem putting them in, keeping them clean, etc. and has worn them at "work" (dance) and glasses in the evening ever since.

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My DD just got glasses in May and has a mild prescription. She does not wear glasses in class or on stage because she can still see fairly well. Long distances are the issue. At some point in the future, we know that she will be wearing contacts. She has girls in her class that currently wear contacts; some started as early as age 8.

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My daughter wears glasses in class. But, I wanted to share my experience with glasses.


I wore glasses from 3rd grade on. I hated them, but couldn't see anything without them. I didn't need them on stage until I was 14 or so. Then I went to contact lenses (these from the pre historic age...very expensive and very challenging :D )


Until I could master the contacts, I wore a strap around my glasses, the soft kind that you can put on your sunglasses for skiing and sailing, etc. I made them quite tight and I was able to spot in turns. But, I also had a very kind teacher who told me I didn't need to EXACTLY see what I was spotting...I was ok even if it was a black blob or a little red light (think exit sign from stage). So, even 'blind' (without glasses or contacts on stage) I was able to spot and hit marks.


Ease and familiarity with contacts with come over time and practice. I think that by 10-11 they can start practicing contacts. A friend got daily disposables for her DD and it helps as she is able to just discard without much loss if she can't get it.


My own DD's prescription is not to the point where she can't see the mirror or a mark yet so I am not thinking about contacts yet.

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I learn something new everyday! I could NEVER pirouette properly because I was essentially blind without glasses and my parents could not afford contacts so I wore glasses to class. I thought I was just a spaz! Thank you Ms.Leigh! My DD who is 10, just got glasses for the smartboard in school but does not wear them for dance. I have asked her how class is without glasses and she says she sees everything just fine. We have talked about glasses vs contacts already and she promises to tell me when she feels she needs them. :D

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My daughter has had mild vision needs. She was prescribed glasses in 5th grade. She never even once wore them to class or performances and seemed to do fine.


She tried a disposable pair in 6th grade and has never looked back. She told me she was very happy with even the mild correction, but the impact with respect to peripheral vision was remarkable. I definitely recommend them.


As a side note, my 9 yr old son got contacts recently for baseball and basketball. It took two hours before the fitter got them to stay in his eyes. The next four days were a challenge (and by "challenge" I mean "near-torture", with one early morning attempt ending with my just putting the contacts in for him in order to get him to school on time.)


However, by the fifth day, he was getting them in by himself just fine. My only point with this tangential story is this: if he can do it, you daughter can. (Seriously, he doesn't like eye drops let alone a finger in his eye. Now, he's a pro. Just like anything worth doing, it just takes practice.)


Good luck!

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My DD has worn glasses since she was 5. She cannot see at all without them. She got contacts a couple of months before her 10th birthday, and wears those for most ballet classes and all performances. She doesn't like to fool with them, though, so she doesnt wear them any other time.


Before she got contacts she did perform with her glasses on. We just made sure to always have on hand a pair with a relatively subtle frame.

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My DD started wearing glasses in third grade (around age 8) and asked to try contacts for ballet performances around age ten. She still wears her glasses in class most of the time and hasn't had any problems.

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I really have to strongly disagree with anyone at or over the age where contacts can be worn, wearing glasses in class. There will be problems from that, in terms of the usage of the head, and not just for pirouettes. It should not be necessary in this day and age of the ease and affordability of contacts.


I have a student in one class I teach each week, a teenager, who wears her contacts in my class because I require it. But I notice that she does not in other classes. I feel that this is basically because she just doesn't want to or is lazy about putting them in. In my opinion, that is not acceptable.


There are rare times when a student is having a problem with her contacts, or with an eye, and will need her glasses. Fine. That I can understand and will deal with. But I have no use for laziness, lack of priority, and not enough interest in doing the best that one can.


I am NOT saying this is the case with all of the people above who have said their dk's wear glasses in class. They probably do it because it is allowed. In my opinion, unless there are extreme mitigating circumstances, it should not be allowed, and certainly not in the Int. and Adv. levels where they are doing not only pirouette combinations and pirouettes on pointe, but also petit and grand allegro combinations. The freedom of movement needed for all of these things is just not there with glasses.

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Thank you everyone for your input !


For those of you who have worn glasses, especially those with high prescriptions, you will know what I am talking about when I say glasses limit your field of vision. It results in a slower response to the environment because you need to turn your head more to compensate for this. Think about the 'housefly' with 2 compound eyes and 3 simple eyes ! You never seem to be able to catch them because they are so quick. What I have found most difficult in dancing is not just in doing the steps correctly but in capturing the subtle movements such as the tilt of the head etc. I think this is very hard to do without peripheral vision. Hence, I agree with Ms Leigh that glasses can be a real handicap for students seeking to advance.


A part of my worry is fearing my daughter will share the bad experiences I had as a kid; being one of the first in class to wear glasses, glasses fogging up, glasses galloping up and down on my nose when I run, bumping into others while swimming (due to lack of prescription goggles) etc,...the list goes on. As a parent, I can only try my best to help her. Sometimes, I think that nature will simply have to follow its own course. In the meantime, I will try to prepare her mentally, "glasses can be cute and fun, glasses are not ugly etc". As a longtime contact lens wearer who has refused lasik surgery, I know that glasses are still necessary from time to time to allow the eyes to rest.

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YPK - I wore glasses as a child (never to class) and got contacts as soon as I had to wear corrective lenses full time. I was around 12, but kids are wearing them younger and younger without issue. My DD just got glasses for far-sightedness, doesn't need them for class yet but her MD is already talking contacts. On a personal note, I can tell you that it is possible to wear contacts with swim goggles, just make sure the seal on the goggles is tight enough not to let water in. You can also buy prescription goggles.

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