What percentage of the population has glasses?

Glasses, also known as spectacles or eyeglasses, are visual aids with lenses worn in front of the eyes, usually to correct vision or protect the eyes from damage or fatigue. Glasses are very common around the world, with a significant percentage of the global population wearing prescription glasses, reading glasses, sunglasses or other types of eyeglasses. But what exactly is the percentage of people worldwide and in certain countries that wear some type of glasses? Let’s take a closer look at the prevalence of glasses wearers globally and in specific nations.

Global Prevalence of Glasses

According to data from 2021, it is estimated that around 30% of the global population wears some type of glasses. This equates to roughly 2.5 billion people worldwide who use glasses for vision correction or eye protection. The rate of glasses wearers worldwide has steadily increased over the past few decades for several reasons:

– Increased access to eye care and vision correction in developing nations
– Growing rates of myopia (nearsightedness) globally
– Aging populations requiring presbyopia (reading) glasses
– Greater awareness of eye health and UV protection with sunglasses
– More widespread use of devices like computers and smartphones contributing to vision issues
– Fashion trends promoting the popularity of eyeglasses

So with around 30% of the nearly 8 billion people on Earth wearing glasses, it has become a very common visual aid and accessory globally.

Prevalence in United States and Canada

In the United States, the prevalence of glasses wearers is estimated to be even higher than the global rate. According to surveys and studies by vision care organizations, around 64% of Americans report using some type of eyeglasses. And similarly in Canada, an estimated 60% of Canadians wear glasses for vision correction.

The higher percentage of glasses wearers in the US and Canada can be attributed to several factors:

– Very high rates of myopia, with over 40% of Americans being nearsighted
– Easy access to optometrists and prescription eyewear
– Aging populations requiring reading glasses
– High use of digital devices, reading and screens contributing to eye strain
– Lower UV index in northern climates driving sunglasses use
– Fashion and style trends making glasses popular

So with glasses wearers encompassing about two-thirds of the population, eyeglasses are extremely prevalent vision aids in the United States and Canada.

Prevalence in European Countries

Across European countries, the percentage of people wearing eyeglasses ranges widely but is estimated between 30-70% in most nations. Here is a breakdown of the glasses wearing statistics in some key European countries:

– United Kingdom: Around 65% of Britons wear some type of glasses, with higher rates among adults aged 65+
– France: An estimated 51% of the French population wears glasses
– Germany: Approximately 57% of Germans use prescription glasses or reading glasses
– Spain: Around 32% of Spaniards report wearing visual aids like glasses
– Italy: About 60% of Italians wear eyeglasses for vision correction
– Sweden: An estimated 70% of Swedes use glasses, one of the highest rates in Europe
– Russia: Around 45% of Russians wear glasses, with lower access and affordability in rural areas

So while rates vary, the majority of populations in European countries utilize eyeglasses, especially in northern regions like the UK and Scandinavia.

Prevalence in Asian Countries

Myopia rates have increased dramatically in East Asia in recent decades, leading to very high levels of glasses wearers. Here are the estimated statistics for some major Asian countries:

– China: More than 70% of Chinese adults are nearsighted and wear glasses
– Japan: Approximately 60% of the Japanese population wears glasses
– South Korea: Rates of teenage myopia exceed 90%, so a very high percentage wear glasses
– India: Around 35% of Indians use prescription eyeglasses, with lower access in rural areas
– Thailand: An estimated 45% of Thais wear glasses, with increasing prevalence
– Singapore: Myopia is endemic, with over 70% wearing glasses or contacts

So most populations in East and Southeast Asian nations have very high percentages of glasses wearers, driven by endemic rates of nearsightedness in these regions. Access to glasses remains a challenge in less developed parts of Asia.

Prevalence in Australia and New Zealand

In Australia and New Zealand, glasses wearing statistics include:

– Australia: Approximately 46% of Australians wear some type of glasses
– New Zealand: Around 57% of New Zealanders use prescription glasses or reading glasses

With robust public health systems and high quality of life, access to optometry and correctional eyewear is easy in these countries. The weaker sunlight compared to tropical regions also makes sunglasses very popular. Therefore, eyeglasses usage is quite common in Australia and New Zealand.

Prevalence in Middle East and Africa

The percentage of eyeglasses wearers in the Middle East and Africa is significantly lower than other regions globally. Challenges like limited access to vision correction and cultural stigma have hindered glasses use. Here are the estimated statistics:

– Saudi Arabia: Only around 20% of Saudis wear glasses, heavily skewed towards males
– Egypt: Approximately 25% of Egyptians have prescription eyeglasses
– Nigeria: Only around 5-10% of Nigerians wear glasses
– Ethiopia: Less than 2% of Ethiopians have prescription eyewear
– South Africa: Around 22% of South Africans wear glasses

So while glasses usage in the Middle East and Africa remains relatively low, initiatives to increase access to vision care for underserved groups could boost rates in the future.

Factors Affecting Global Prevalence

Some of the key factors influencing the percentage of eyeglasses wearers worldwide include:

Increasing myopia rates – As nearsightedness reaches epidemic levels in areas like East Asia, more young people require correctional glasses.

Aging populations – Older adults lose the ability to focus up close and require reading glasses.

Digital device usage – Excessive use of phones, computers and screens can contribute to eyestrain and vision issues requiring glasses.

Sunglasses popularity – UV protection sunglasses have become a fashion accessory and are used widely.

Improved access to eye care – Developing nations are gaining more optometrists to diagnose vision issues.

Fashion and style trends – Eyeglasses have become chic, trendy accessories leading to greater adoption.

Increased knowledge – Public awareness of eye health and available treatments encourages glasses usage.

So as eyecare access expands globally and vision issues rise, the percentage of the population wearing corrective or protective eyeglasses is expected to continue rising as well.

Glasses Types and Usage

There are several major categories and types of glasses worn by the global population:

Prescription Glasses

– Single vision – Correct myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia
– Bifocals – Separate lenses for distance and reading vision
– Trifocals – Adds intermediate zone for progressive lenses
– Occupational – Custom glasses for work environments

Reading Glasses

– Typically for age-related presbyopia only
– Lower strengths compared to prescription
– Ready-made reading glasses widely available


– Tinted lenses to filter bright sunlight
– Polarized lenses to reduce glare
– Popular as UV protective accessories

Computer Glasses

– Special prescription lenses to reduce digital eye strain
– Pre-set focus for viewing screens

The majority of eyeglasses wearers globally use either prescription glasses for full-time vision correction or reading glasses for presbyopia. Sunglasses and computer glasses have also gained immense popularity for eye protection and visual aid during specific activities.

Future Projections

Looking towards the future, the worldwide percentage of eyeglasses wearers is expected to continue rising. By 2050, some projections estimate that 50% of the global population could be using some type of glasses. Main drivers will be:

– Soaring myopia rates, exceeding 50% of the population in high prevalence areas
– A larger aging population needing reading glasses
– Increased device usage and close work contributing to eyestrain
– Greater fashion consciousness expanding sunglasses use
– Improving access to vision correction worldwide

Targeting higher glasses usage rates in disadvantaged regions through vision care initiatives could bring the benefits of eyeglasses to billions more worldwide. With glasses vital for education, work productivity and quality of life, increased usage has far-reaching societal implications.


Glasses currently aid the vision of around 30% of people globally, with higher rates in developed nations and East Asia. Variances in the percentage of eyeglasses wearers by country are influenced by myopia prevalence, access to optometry, aging, digital device use, fashion trends and more. While robust growth is expected in the coming decades, improved education and access to vision correction in underserved populations could benefit billions more worldwide through the gift of sight and protection provided by eyeglasses.

Leave a Comment