#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Glasses -or lack there of- in books.


Sinead.pngHello guys !

Let’s talk about characters’ eyes in literature, specifically those characters who have bad eyesight. I’ve been wearing glasses for years – never contact lenses though. I don’t even remember when I got my first pair – sometime in primary school. And I’m not the only one in my environment who wears glasses or contact lenses.

I want to talk about some bookish situations that irritate me as someone with bad eyesight, and as a person who wears glasses. (Not all people with bad eyesight will wear glasses, there are also other accessibility devices that we could use).

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So, you’ve got a character who’s in love with someone. And whenever they don’t wear glasses or contact lenses, they aren’t able to see their surroundings clearly. However, they are very deeply in love with one person, and whenever this person is around them, they are still able to see them clearly regardless of the fact that they’re not wearing glasses or contact lenses. This is supposed to show the reader how deep and strong their love for their love interest is. Sorry to break your bubble, but you know what? It’s so irritating. Bad eyesight does not disappear whenever you see your love interest.

Sinead 2

This is a glasses-specific topic.

Ball masks are more time-consuming to prepare for if you wear glasses. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you can’t wear masks as a glasses wearer. You can, but preparations takes more time and you won’t be as disguised as the other participants because people may still be able to see your glasses, depending on the mask design that you choose. What I want to know is why we never read about how someone with glasses prepares for a mask ball.

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A character with bad eyesight travels into the past and magically does not require any sort of corrective lenses once they arrive there. This is lazy story-writing and it most certainly isn’t representation.

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Why are there almost no characters with bad eyesight in historical fiction. It’s not realistic. We’ve always existed. And people have been wearing corrective lenses for centuries. Ok, if the novel takes place thousands of years ago, I can understand that the characters won’t be wearing glasses or contact lenses, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have bad eyesight. And no, it’s not enough that the old characters have bad eyesight or that you have one character with bad eyesight who is however super wise and does not need to rely on their vision due to their superiority.

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Glasses and contact lenses are expensive! Getting corrective surgery is expensive. Why don’t we ever hear about characters saving up for these possibilities? You’ve got to clean your glasses and contact lenses every once in awhile as well – yes, even when you’re living in a dystopian world, because otherwise you won’t be able to see because they’re dirty. In contact lenses, this could lead to infection. If your glasses get broken or bent, you’ve got to repair them – and let me tell you, I have to go every few weeks to get them fixed because, for example, someone’s elbow bent them.

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Now this hasn’t got to do with the inside of the book but with the outside of the book. Why is it that characters that wear glasses are pictured without glasses on the cover. I want to see representation and that includes representation on the cover. And yes, it will make me more likely to pick up a book because it’s pretty cool to be represented!

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I’ve listed some bookish situations where I wish authors would represented people with bad eyesight better. However, where are these characters. Why is it that there are usually very few characters with bad eyesight, and if they exist they’re usually the smart student, the geek or the teacher/professor. It’s not realistic. So many people have bad eyesight. Why is that not reflected in the books we read?

So, those are some of the issues I have with books in respect to characters with bad eyesight. The list isn’t conclusive and there are situations that I haven’t touched upon here. What situations about characters with bad eyesight bother you in books? What are some books where you think that the representation of the characters with bad eyesight was good?


Sinead sigBook Blogger @ Huntress of Diverse Books

Sinead is a book blogger. She’ll be studying Publishing from September onwards. She focuses on discussing problematic issues in books, character interviews, and promoting diverse books. When she’s not immersed in the bookish world, she enjoys dancing and eating.

Notable Posts :

Diverse Book Bloggers Discuss is a way to boost diverse bloggers who are brilliant and have a lot to say but have smaller platforms and don’t really get as much reach as they deserve. What this is, is basically a guest post feature where twice a month diverse book bloggers will discuss things they are passionate about on my blog. 


28 thoughts on “#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Glasses -or lack there of- in books.

  1. Oh this is such a lovely post and it really makes me think about books I have read with characters with bad eyesight. I actually can’t remember one right now…which makes me a bit sad. We need more characters wearing glasses and actually having this BEING part of the story. It is not the most fascinating thing ever, having to clean them every once in a while because these things get so dirty and you can’t see anything, yet…it happens. Also, YES to book covers with characters wearing glasses! I’m ALL for this! 🙂


    • There’s one book where I thoroughly enjoyed the glasses rep and that’s Heroine Complex. It’s mentioned several times and you can really tell that one of the side characters wears glasses.

      I agree with the cleaning part! I do it so often during the day because I have long eyelashes, so my glasses get dirty so fast!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always wondered about the mask thing! I have glasses and one time we made masks in art and it was so annoying because I could never see it when I put it on or it was uncomfortable over my glasses. All I can think of when they wear masks in books is WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE WITH GLASSES?? The only book character I can think of with glasses is Harry Potter.


  3. This. THIS!! Another pet peeve of mine- when the only character that wears glasses is nerdy. Not only nerds have bad eyesight, and wearing glasses does not make you a nerd!! I personally like the way glasses look on my face more than contacts, but am I a nerd?? Well, yes. But not because of the glasses! It’s such a small thing to wish for, but I wish people with glasses were portrayed more.


  4. Yesss all of these! Though thankfully I’ve never read a book in which the protagonist sees their love interest clearly without their glasses because ~power of love~ what even 😂 I guess with that logic I’d be able to see my one true love, food, clearly without my contacts or glasses 😛 Seriously though, even Harry barely talked about cleaning his glasses? His glasses were brought up from time to time, but realistically his glasses should’ve gotten in the way more. Great post! 🙂


    • I read a character like this in A Love That Disturbs and it really bothered me. Glad to hear I’m not alone in this.

      Harry’s glasses rep is ok, but his glasses problems such as playing sports in the rain or breaking his glasses are always easily solved. I can of wish that magic in the Harry Potter universe was something that cost energy or something similar, because otherwise it’s too easy a solution.


  5. I agree, while bad eye sight is the most common disability mentioned in books, it could be done better. In House of Night Marked Zoey has contact lens but they are never a major part of her life. In fact in latter books they are not talked about. There is of course Harry Potter, but, yes, authors are not always realistic, like in Royal Nights the blindness is only short term. It would have been better in a way if the prince had permanent blindness. A side note, I wear glasses and have since grade school.


  6. This post just left me wondering when I last read a book with a character with bad eyesight and whether it was mentioned in more than a passing note that they wore glasses … This is a lot of food for thought! Thanks!!


  7. I wear glasses too and I agree with everything on your list! I’ve also been thinking about the subject recently. I’ve only ever come across three characters with glasses. That’s just not enough. Of those three ( Harry Potter, Jason Grace and Juliet Palante) Harry Potter is the only one I consider good representation. Jason only gets his glasses in the very last book of the Heroes of Olympus series and he’s like ‘ Oh, That’s why it’s so foggy over here.’ or something like that and it really frustrated me. Juliet from Juliet takes a breath wears them too. It’s only mentioned once and the author does it being saying how nerdy it makes her look. I was soooo disappointed by that.😔


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  10. I was so impressed by this post that I did a post on my own blog about your post. I was going to copy you in on my Tweet about it but the Twitter link on your page doesn’t seem to be functioning. So I am using the comment section to say “thank you very much for a post that made me say several times “why did I never notice that before?” I have worn glasses for almost 53 years (since I was 7 years old) and can’t believe that these things never occurred to me! I love to read things that make me think and your post definitely did. (I put the link for the post I did with the shout out to your website in my web address if you want to see what I wrote about it.)


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