Eye Health Central

Does wearing glasses make you smarter or sunglasses make you more attractive?

The link between intelligence and glasses: Do they make you smarter?

The stereotype, which you have seen no doubt in countless movies and shows, is that individuals wearing glasses are more intelligent than non-glasses wearers. But is this true? Is there an actual connection between the presence of eyewear and intellect?

Intelligence, as defined by psychologists, is the capacity to learn, reason and solve problems. It’s not influenced by physical factors such as wearing glasses! Intelligence is generally thought to be derived from your genetics and environment.

So where does this idea come from? The Media, especially movies and books, have always focused on characters with glasses as the “nerdy” intellectual type which has really given life to this stereotype.

Another point is that individuals who wear glasses usually have them for reading or desk work, which also reinforces the impression that they are more academically inclined since reading, studying and computer work are normally associated with intelligence.

But is there any truth to this at all? One study conducted at the University of Edinburgh showed there is a slight correlation between the need for corrective eyewear and higher cognitive function. The researchers found that individuals with higher cognitive abilities were 30% more likely to have genes associated with needing glasses. This suggests a link between myopia (nearsightedness) and intelligence.

Do glasses equal intelligence

It's crucial to remember though that this is only a correlation meaning needing glasses does not make you smarter! The genetic factors that contribute to higher intelligence may also lead to a higher likelihood of needing glasses.

Another explanation has also been thrown around, that our ancestors who were “more intellectual” normally did close work, like tool-making and artistry which could have increased the prevalence of myopia in these populations, which has helped cement this correlation between myopia and intelligence.

Finally, first impressions could be a major culprit here in spreading this idea since a person wearing glasses is assumed to be more intellectual from the get-go.

To summarise, while there may be a minor genetic correlation between the need for glasses and higher cognitive abilities, the link between glasses and perceived intelligence is rooted in stereotypes and biases. Intelligence, cannot be determined by wearing glasses or not and so the well-known quote “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is the most relevant takeaway message here.

The allure of sunglasses: Do they really make you more attractive?

Sunglasses, apart from helping shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, have become fashionable accessories that change your perceived attractiveness. But why?

Psychology is crucial in our perception of attractiveness. Research has shown that we tend to find mystery intriguing and enticing. Sunglasses, by concealing your eyes create an air of mystery making you seem more appealing.

The eyes reveal a lot about our feelings and intentions, and by covering them, you keep others guessing about what you’re thinking or feeling. This sense of intrigue can make you appear more interesting and more attractive.

Additionally, sunglasses help bring symmetry to your face, a feature associated with beauty. We are mostly attracted to faces that are symmetrical and sunglasses help achieve this effect.

Sunglasses also highlight your cheekbones and add structure to your face, making it more defined and appealing. If you also choose the right pair of sunglasses it can complement the shape of your face, which adds to your attractiveness.

Going back to the above question, going back to how the media has portrayed characters with sunglasses, they are mostly always cool and suave. The use of sunglasses by Hollywood stars also leads to an increase in attractiveness as they can give the impression of a high-status lifestyle, which can be very appealing.

Suave in sunglasses

Furthermore, sunglasses are often associated with characteristics such as confidence, independence and rebellion - traits that many people find attractive. Studies support this connection between sunglasses and attractiveness. In a 2011 study from the University of Nottingham, researchers found that people tend to rate others as more attractive when they're wearing sunglasses.

Despite the above, context is everything. What works on a sunny beach might not have the same effect in a formal business meeting. Also attractiveness is not just physical, true attractiveness revolves around traits like kindness, intelligence, confidence, and a sense of humour. Sunglasses might help with first impressions, but lasting attraction is all about personality.

Finally, when you are choosing sunglasses, prioritise comfort and eye protection over style. Not all sunglasses provide the same level of UV protection, and prolonged exposure to UV rays can lead to serious conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration.

To summarise, sunglasses can enhance your perceived attractiveness but it's worth remembering that sunglasses are mainly protective eyewear. So while you enjoy the boost in appeal and the “cool” factor, make sure you're also keeping your eyes safe from the sun. And remember true attractiveness stems from who you are, not what you wear. 

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 10 Jul 2023, Last modified: 20 May 2024