Can pinhole glasses really improve the eyesight?

What are pinhole glasses?

I first heard about pinhole glasses many years ago in Nexus Magazine, a publication that looks at conspiracy theories, the paranormal, suppressed science, mysteries and alternative health therapies. I have to admit that the adverts I saw made me think it was just another gimmick but I have changed my mind about that.

So what are pinhole glasses, you are by now asking? Well, they are also known as stenopeic glasses and they work not by having corrective lenses but by having very many pinholes through which you are forced to see. Whilst this may sound as if it would make vision a lot worse it has the opposite effect.

Bard of Ely with his pinhole glasses

Bard of Ely wearing his new pinhole glasses
Bard of Ely wearing his new pinhole glasses

Pinhole glasses described

Pinhole glasses have opaque sheets of plastic cut to fill each lens space and perforated with many pinholes in each one. Otherwise the frames are like ordinary models and come in various sizes and styles.

The pinhole glasses work by making the eyes receive only the tiny beams of light that each perforation will allow to pass through. Surprisingly this gives a much clearer image and works in the same way as squinting produces an improvement in vision on a temporary basis.

In doing so, however, peripheral vision and the brightness of lighting and glare is considerably diminished. This means that these glasses should not be worn if operating machinery or driving where this could cause great danger.

Pinhole glasses can provide a much better depth of field of vision and work by correcting the refractive error in the eyes of many people with problems seeing properly.

Pinhole glasses have been known about for many years but have never been widely popularised because there has been insufficient scientific testing done to prove claims made about them.

Nevertheless, many people have found that pinhole glasses have made considerable improvements to their sight. There are many firms that make and market pinhole glasses and these firms claim that problems with short-sightedness, long-sightedness, astigmatism and even cataracts can all be improved or even cured. Under the terms of the Federal Trade Commission such claims are no longer allowed in advertising in America though.

It is recommended that for the first few days after you have bought a pair of pinhole glasses that you only wear them for about five minutes but build up as you get used to them to wearing them for 15-20 minutes or longer at a time.

I can testify that they work immediately with regard to improving focus because with my new pinhole glasses on I can read lettering on something a distance away from me that I could not read with my normal shortsighted vision. With pinhole glasses I can read text without a lens that normally I would require lenses to do so. The effect is quite remarkable and I intend persevering with using my glasses to see if I can improve my sight problems.

How pinhole glasses work

Different types of pinhole glasses

Pinhole glasses can be used as sunglasses and to other people looking at someone wearing them this is probably how it would appear. Modern designs are made to look even more like sunglasses than older traditional models.

The companies that make and sell pinhole glasses offer a range of styles with modern wrap-round eye-pieces and others with larger lens frames like old-fashioned spectacles. They have bright-coloured frames, basic black or tortoiseshell frames.

All pinhole glasses have the advantage over normal glasses that they cannot easily be damaged by scratches on the lens for example. Pinhole glasses are lightweight. durable and surprisingly cheap to buy.

Copyright © 2011 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments 69 comments

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

So where does one buy them? I've never heard of, let alone seen them. Is there an online supplier? Very interesting. Speccy-eyed Lynda.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Look in the links section! I got mine on Amazon though.


Russell-D profile image

Russell-D 5 years ago from Southern Ca.

In TV before computers, we invented. I directed a kid show with a RABBIT cartoon. My thought was to have the rabbit sit on the MC's shoulder, to do the commercials together. We sat a "rabbit"on a bench across the studio against black. His camera lens was wrapped with black paper having a pinhole punched in. Cracking both cameras in opposite direction at the same time, Hosanna, a man talking to a Rabbit on his shoulder. Those days were fun. David Russell


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks for sharing that, Russell-D!


Nicole Winter profile image

Nicole Winter 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

Very interesting, Bard of Ely, thank-you so much for publishing this, I wonder if this would help with my eyesight issues, I've a weird near-point dysfunction thing and this sounds like something that might help. Definitely will have to give it a try at some point.


Joyce F profile image

Joyce F 5 years ago from USA

Very interesting indeed. I've never heard of pinhole glasses to improve the eyesight. Macular degeneration runs in the family (thank the Lord I don't have any symptoms yet) but I wonder if this would have any effect? Thanks for the hub.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you for posting, Nicole and Joyce! Of course I cannot say whether they would help you but I am very impressed with the results of the ones I have bought so far and am going to continue using them.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I can't remember where but it seems like I have run across something of this sort in the past.Early photography was some what based on pinholes, I recall. I probaly saw some ads in magazines years ago.


anonball 5 years ago

I have 20/20 vision now because I have discipline and study nutrition and raw foodism. Also I improve my circulation through exercise. I have perfect vision and can see the smallest print perfectly. I was having trouble with my site but cod liver oil, beef or chicken liver and raw foods like Kale Wheatgrass etc....and the raw food diet is what caused my vision to be perfect. I encourage you all to get into raw foods more and more...It is amazing. You may have detox symptoms. It can seem as though things are getting worse, but when you change your diet, you can start to feel terrible and tired. The body has to readjust.


anonball 5 years ago

I meant to say SIGHT


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you for your comments, dahoglund and anonball!


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

I am short sighter, and I have tried one of this pinhole glasses before, and indeed I can see objects far away. I was told that it exercises the eye muscle, and will improve the vision or maintain it from worsened in the long run.

Will appreciate it if you can let me know when you have seen the improvement.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I could see instant improvement in being able to see letters and able to read them just like if I used a pair with lenses, although with lenses it doesn't have all the bits around the holes in the way of course. I am following the directions of using for only five minutes on these first days.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Hey Bard, good for you. I looked up US military procedure on a certain technique for improving vision, and most of it you had to pay to find out, but one of the techniques included "eye exercises" darting your eyeballs back and forth, gently rubbing the eyes, that sort of thing.

Glad to hear about this... I want a pair of these I'll go through one of your links when I get the dough re mi. I worry about 2012, as someone with poor vision, what would I do if caught in a GIANT flood that washed over the earth, no more opticians i.e. contacts or glasses! Maybe in that emergency (assuming I was a real good swimmer) I could fashion my own pair of pin hole glasses out of found materials.

Interesting piece, I hope you post a dated update in the future.

Ben


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Ben, in a disaster scenario it would be a lot easier to make pinhole glasses than to make ones with lenses that is for certain!


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 5 years ago from SE MA

Interesting. I know that it works - As a child, I'd sometimes us a pinhole to see things I could not see otherwise. I did NOT know they sold such things. If they are not expensive, I may try a pair!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Yes, there are plenty for sale on the Internet and I think they are cheap.


Multiman 5 years ago

I have heard of this before and I think this has been a big help in me deciding to try them myself.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA

Hi Steve - A very useful article, this one. Nice work.

Gus :-)))


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This was a very interesting hub. I tried making pinhole glasses with my fingers as the video suggested – my “glasses” really worked! Objects in the room, including the text on the computer screen, were much sharper in appearance when I looked at them through my glasses. I’ll have to experiment with making pinhole glasses from other materials and get some pre-made glasses as well. Thanks for the information.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Also good to make if trapped on a desert island. Thanks man, one more worry laid to rest, lol!!!!!!!!!

Ben Zoltak


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you for your comments, Multiman, Gus, AliciaC and Ben!


chuckfizz profile image

chuckfizz 5 years ago from indianapolis, Indiana

I had seen these glasses and had wondered how useful the may be. Thanks for sharing the details...

Dig that shade of green, the dude "must" still abide...


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Chuckfizz, all I can say is that after just a few days I can report better vision than before I got mine! They seem to be working for me!


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 5 years ago from Florida

I know a part of my vision test is looking through whar seems like pinholes. I'll return to this hub later. Many thanks!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you for posting!


aslanlight profile image

aslanlight 5 years ago from England

I recently bought some. After reading this I'll certainly persevere. Thankyou!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I hope they work for you! I am convinced they are improving my sight and as I've already commented I found they enabled me to be able to read letters at a distance I would need my normal glasses for.


chspublish profile image

chspublish 5 years ago from Ireland

I had a pair. They worked very well. Now I've lost them, so...here goes with another. Thanks for highlighting this idea.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I am glad to hear yours worked well and that you will be getting more!


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 5 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Fabulous article. I don't really wear glasses yet but I do have trouble seeing very small print. I may try them for this reason. The drug store glasses that magnify for reading drive me crazy. Unless you totally are focused in on one thing, everything is blurry. You mentioned Nexus magazine. I have never heard of it but it has all of the topics that interest me. I hope it is in print still or online. I must investigate. Thanks for such an informative hub!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you! Yes, just search for Nexus magazine and you will find the website.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

I remember seeing these in a newspaper ad a couple decades a go and wondered if they really work.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I say they do but how well over a long period and whether they will fix my sight problems remains to be seen! Thank you for posting, Pamela!


RunAbstract profile image

RunAbstract 5 years ago from USA

I am fasinated by this! My vision is getting worse as I get older. I buy "reading" glasses to make up the difference, but now I will certainly go shopping for pinhole glasses. Much better to IMPROVE my vision than to accomadate it!

Thanks a bunch!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I feel pretty sure I am reversing the deterioration in my own sight so good luck with yours!


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 5 years ago from Holly, MI

I have never heard of such a thing! I'm ordering a pair in the very near future. What an awesome concept...excited to try!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Good luck with them! They are certainly worth a try!


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago

I haven't visited for a while and something today led me to your site. As I scrolled through to see what I had missed I found this hub. Several years ago is when I first saw a commercial on TV. I wondered but I didn't order. I would very much like to improve, to some extent, my eyesight. The promise in the commercial is that after use you would rely less on prescription glasses or contacts. After reading your hub, I think I will try them. Thank you for your research and for sharing the information with the rest of us.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks for posting, Dee, and good luck with your pinhole glasses if you get a pair!


Anthea Carson profile image

Anthea Carson 5 years ago from Colorado Springs

This was very informative and helpful, thank you for writing it. I remember trying these pinhole glasses in a store many years ago but haven't seen them since. Where can you get them, is online pretty much the only place? My niece at the time couldn't see and was too poor to afford glasses, and I suggested she try them.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Yes, I got mine online and there are some links with this hub plus eBay ads for them


Atikah 5 years ago

Hi Bard, I started using the pinholes occasionally about a year ago. My husband bought it for me and I don't believe it will improve my myopia but I wear the pinholes nevertheless. A week ago, I went to the opt to make a new pair of my glasses, my last pair was prescribed about 3 1/2 yrs back. It surprised me when I had my eyes checked and my power remains the same. So, now, I'll wear the pinholes about 10 minutes everyday hoping that it will at least maintain my optical power. Btw, my left eye is -4++ and my right eye is -3++


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks for sharing that, Atikah!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

I know a lady who makes her own out of cardboard. She claims it was improved her vision.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I am sure it would!


4 years ago

Hi Bard of Ely, how's it going with the pinholes?


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I had my eyes tested in September and the optician said he was going to reduce my prescription for new glasses because the old ones I had been wearing were now too strong and were straining my eyes. I was expecting him to say you will need stronger ones but it was the reverse! I could only think this must have been caused by the pinhole glasses!


4 years ago

That is great, I am very happy for you. And many thanks for your quick reply. This morning I was trying to find information regarding eye exercises and in the process discovered this page. I have never heard of pinhole glasses before, but I will certainly investigate this further. Would you be kind to give some details with regards to your daily routine with the pinhole glasses, and your old and new prescription? Thank you


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I have left off using the pinhole glasses some time back but was wearing them at least 20 minutes a day as recommended after starting at 5 minutes for the first couple of months after I got them. I have very bad myopia. I don't have the figures for the lens prescriptions but I can tell you this though that the optician told me that when I got the new glasses I might find them "weird" and actually think the old ones were better, but to persevere and not to go back to the old ones if I feel tempted. He said he had to warn me about that. I asked him what the problem could be and he said I might find things looking blurred. When I got the new lenses I was expecting some sort of problem for a day or so but had none and remember commenting on this when I collected them. The company was Optical Express by the way.


4 years ago

Any improvement is good news. I was looking for eye relaxation and exercise techniques on the internet today and as you can imagine there is tonnes of information there. The one website that appeals the most to me is snezha.com

Do check it out, maybe you find something of interest.

All the best...


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you!


lja11 4 years ago

Hello, I fell upon your stuff trying to find out all I can about the pinhole glasses. I am waiting for them to come in the mail. I read through all the comments and I am just wondering why you stopped using them. It seemed like the glasses were improving your vision. Was there a reason that you can share? thanks


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Only reason I stopped wearing them is it isn't clear vision you get through them BUT I can report that I have new glasses for normal vision and reading and the optician (Optical Express) dropped my prescription down. In other words my sight was better than I expected and instead of getting worse had improved. I can only attribute this to the pinholes. Also glare problems I had have nearly gone.


Amata 4 years ago

So you say they really work? I must tell my mum. She bought them a few years ago, but they're lying somewhere on the bottom of the drawer. I will tell her to give them a try again. Thank you for this hub!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Mine are in a drawer too but I can say that after I went to have my eyes tested expecting to be told bad news and I was told I needed a lower prescription. I have new glasses with that lower prescription and haven't felt any need to use the pinholes. I bought them and was using them daily because I was worried about my sight. I have attributed my improved vision to having used the pinholes but I have no proof of that.


SherryDigital profile image

SherryDigital 4 years ago from Here. There. Everywhere. Currently: Portland, OR

Very interesting. Thanks for posting this. I just might buy a pair.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

They are worth trying! Thanks for posting!


mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 4 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

Excellent information, BoEly! I'm glad I came across this lens so that I can try out some pinhole glasses. I'm going to try them for migraine (aura) recovery as my vision goes haywire for DAYS after I've suffered a migraine. I spend time wearing an eye patch at home, switching sides, in order to get my eyes back in shape more quickly. I think these glasses might help in a similar way and I'll be able to leave the house with them instead of having people ask "Hey how did you lose your eye?" if I attempt to run errands with my patch on.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I would like to recommend you try taking ginkgo biloba on a regular basis too because I can suffer ocular migraine and find if I take this herb I don't get it.


Gina145 profile image

Gina145 3 years ago from South Africa

I've had pinhole glasses for a long time, but have mostly been too lazy to wear them. When I came across your Hub I put them on for the first time in years and will try to persevere with them this time round.

My vision isn't that bad, but I would really like to manage without glasses altogether. I'm not sure it's possible, but I will never know if I don't try.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

I wish I could manage without glasses too but I fear that is never going to happen. Good luck with your pinholes!


Karen 3 years ago

Are you still using the pinholes? Do they work? I just got mine today....


Karen 3 years ago

Actually i meant to ask, did u notice any further improvement in your sight after the initial improvement? Thanks...


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

No, but I stopped bothering with them although have recently resumed using them because my sight has got much worse again!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

People keep posting sales links to pinhole glasses and I keep deleting them as spam!


Jacobb9205 profile image

Jacobb9205 17 months ago from Gloucestershire

Wow this sounds very interesting! I may actually get a pair just to try it out properly.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 17 months ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Good luck with them if you do!


Jacobb9205 profile image

Jacobb9205 17 months ago from Gloucestershire

Thank you!

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