Can glasses cause neck pain?


Justine Cosman Physical Therapist Whole Body Health

Author: Justine Cosman, PT, DPT : Doctor of Physical Therapy, Business Owner, Associate Professor, and Blog Contributor. Explores common client questions and helps find solutions for every day functional health concerns, and then some. Loves empowering others, seeking adventure, and learning every day. Learn more about Justine on Google+.


The simple answer is yes.

Are They the Cause of YOUR Neck Pain?

Do any of these questions pertain to you:

  1. Did you recently change your glasses prescription and are you more recently noticing a change in your neck symptoms? (i.e. tightness, soreness, pain)
  2. Do you have an old prescription pair of glasses?
  3. Have you recently tried using dual lenses and noticed changes in how you feel?

If so, they could be the culprit. Of course, there are other factors to weed out such as ergonomics, lifting patterns, general aging changes... etc. But don't worry - we (your fav physical therapists) can help you sort it out! :)

The Wrong Lenses

neck pain reading

Has it been a while since you have seen your optometrist? Or have you recently changed your prescription glasses? Are objects on the other side of your lenses blurry? In order to improve what we see, we will tend to move in or out from the object in order to bring it into focus. If the lens is not correct, we may have to exaggerate some of these motions, which can place us in positions that increase stress on the neck and upper back.

A Tale of Two Lenses

neck pain and glasses

Dual lenses are very convenient - 1 pair of glasses that can accommodate both near and far distances. However, if you are reading for long periods where you are using the bottom of your lenses, this can place stress on your neck because your head either has to tilt back or you have to lean forwards to accommodate your vision. Either position makes the back of the neck work harder and can cause pain and/or headaches around the neck. This may be fixed by simply getting the right pair of "readers" for you.

Taking a Break from Your Glasses and Still No Relief?

There are multiple factors that can affect how your neck and/or headaches feel. Glasses are one of the many factors. I generally like to work on ergonomics (workspace motions) and general posture before focusing on typically more costly endeavors like a visit to the optometrist. However, if other efforts aren't producing the change we want, it is totally worth the investment to help your sight and how you feel.

Have Questions?

Neck pain is often multi-factoral. Your physical therapist can help.

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