Non-prescription glasses are glasses that offer no change to a person’s vision (beyond the very subtle way all glass distorts light). Most people who wear these kinds of glasses do so for fashion.
These “fake” glasses are perfectly safe, although designer frames can be somewhat expensive.
What Are ‘Fake’ Glasses?
What people often call fake glasses are more accurately called non-prescription glasses. These are glasses that offer no visual correction whatsoever. A person wearing them is just looking through glass that isn’t meant to refract light in any unusual way.
Can Wearing Fake Glasses Hurt Your Eyes?
Looking through a normal pair of non-prescription lenses is basically the same as looking through a window. While it won’t offer any visual correction, it also won’t hurt your eyes.
Actors and people who wear glasses for fashion frequently wear these kinds of glasses for long periods with no issue.
Why Wear Fake Glasses?
Probably the most common reason people wear non-prescription glasses is fashion. Many people like the look of glasses but don’t actually have any refractive error that needs correcting. Wearing non-prescription glasses offers these people the option of wearing glasses without straining their eyes through prescription lenses that don’t help them.
Non-prescription glasses are also good for props, where an actor might play a character who wears glasses despite not needing glasses themselves. In these cases, they can wear non-prescription glasses and simply pretend their vision is worse when not wearing the prop.
Choosing the Right Pair of Non-Prescription Glasses
Because they have no medical purpose and aren’t dangerous, a person can buy more or less any pair of non-prescription glasses they want and can afford if they like their look. Here is some fashion expert advice for selecting a good pair of glasses:
- Choose eyewear that fits your face. Certain frame shapes suit certain face shapes better.
- Choose a frame color that complements your skin color.
- Coordinate your jewelry choices with your glasses.
Even this advice has its exceptions. For instance, some people aim for bold, striking looks that may use vibrant or clashing colors to their advantage.
Best Places to Buy Non-Prescription Glasses
For people on a budget, Zenni Optical is a good company to look at frames at a reasonable price point in a moderately wide selection. For a wider selection but a higher price point, Warby Parker is a glasses seller known for a good selection and excellent customer service.
Insurance won’t cover glasses purchased for the purpose of fashion. However, frames are available at nearly all price points.
As with many fashion choices, the cost of non-prescription glasses is going to depend on your goals. If you purely care about aesthetics, you can likely find a pair in a style you like for under $50. You can even find options that are less than $10. If you have a designer brand in mind or want special features for your non-prescription lenses (like blue light blocking), costs can rise significantly.
Where Did This Trend Start?
Wearing glasses as a fashion statement rather than for the purpose of just correcting your vision is a trend that is somewhat difficult to trace, but it seems that it started to become relatively common in the 1920s. According to Claire Goldsmith, managing director of the frames brand Oliver Goldsmith, the trend began to spike up post-war, with more extreme styles developing.
Non-Prescription Glasses FAQs
What are fake eyeglasses called?
Assuming one isn’t discussing knock-off designer eyeglasses (where someone is selling glasses under a false brand name despite them being lower quality), fake eyeglasses are more accurately called non-prescription eyeglasses. These are glasses that have lenses that don’t offer any vision correction at all and are worn purely for aesthetics.
Is it okay to wear fake glasses?
As long as a pair of glasses doesn’t cause you any eyestrain, which non-prescription glasses normally won’t, it is perfectly fine to wear glasses for the purpose of fashion. Non-prescription glasses won’t cause you or anyone else harm under normal circumstances.
How can you tell if a pair of glasses is fake?
Non-prescription glasses aren’t “fake” in the traditional sense. Most glasses are actually only really identifiable by the aesthetic and brand of their frames, with many companies offering non-prescription lenses as one of the options they can put into these frames.
Looking through a pair of glasses can sometimes help you determine if the lenses are prescription, as a prescription will normally distort your vision if it isn’t set to your specific needs. However, some people may simply have very mild prescriptions that are hard to detect through this method.
3 Tips for Looking Great in Glasses. (February 2021). my fashion life.
Could Wearing Non-Prescription Glasses Damage Your Vision? (January 2016). KSA Vision Clinic.
The Evolution of Spectacles From Necessity to Style Statement. (September 2016). Raconteur.
Eyeglasses. Love to Know.
Last Updated August 9, 2022
Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.