Oil paintings show how people who wear glasses see the world without them

I was thinking how I see the world without glasses would depend on my prescription. Pretty sure that my uncorrected near sightedness and astigmatism cause the world to look way worse.

Also I wonder how much of my face blindness is regular blindness.

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These look pretty much like what I generally see without glasses, and my current prescription is -1.25 and -1.50

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Correctable blind AF (-13) – St. James looks closest to what I see, but fuzzier. Shapes are meaningless.

I like to describe it as “exploded lollipops of color”


My brother-in-law is in his forties and still has 20/20 vision. Not that I’m jealous or anything, the bastard.


Hey! I got this too. My wife is constantly marveling at how I fail to recognize actors in a movie we are watching that are in other movies that I love. Some I have no trouble spotting, but they are usually actors like Steve Buscemi. When I do figure them out it’s usually from their voices.


I rarely recognize actors! People will even say, “Really you didn’t know who that was?”

When I first heard about face blindness, it was about people who allegedly never recognize anyone, including significant others. I’m not that bad but I have a hard time recognizing some of my neighbors. I’ve had training sessions on my calendar with clients whose name I didn’t recognize and for whom I couldn’t produce a mental picture of their appearance. They would have to walk up to me and tell me who they were and I had no recollection of their faces. Usually regular, repeat interactions will burn faces into my mind, however.

I don’t think I was always this way. When I was younger, I’d see someone in a store and then see them again weeks later on the street and be able to identify where I’d seen them before. I don’t know what changed (a concussion or two?) but my vision has worsened ever year since I got glasses in second grade. Correction is only so successful so it makes sense to me that I cannot see as well as others, if I cannot see your face well, I cannot recognize or learn your face, if I cannot distinguish your face, I cannot learn your name. It’s frustrating.

Do you also have a hard time recognizing people in the wrong place, like if a coworker approached you in a park, would you know them? I often do not.


Mine seems to be getting worse as I get older. I’ve convinced myself that my brain is just tired of keeping track of everything.

For movies, I’ll remember characters. I just can’t make the connection of faces for the most part through different movies.

Sometimes. But I’m not a very social person, so when I’m out and about it’s usually to get a thing accomplished and then gtfo, so it’s possible I miss seeing them entirely.

I also only remember maybe three or four people from high school, and what they looked like (again, pretty sure my brain is dumping “useless” info). Which is another thing that amazes my wife. She easily remembers people from grade school.


I think it’s more on a spectrum, instead of black and white. I lean toward the other end of the scale with acute facial pattern recognition. I have to admit, it could be a primary reason why I love being a portrait artist.


Being very myopic myself I have always wondered if many famous impressionist artists were also myopic like me?
Take Monet, please!


Monet and Renoir were both developing cataracts by the end of their careers, but I’d always assumed there had been a few who suffered mild myopia early on.



I think this is part of the impressionist movement, a quick depiction of something you barely saw on a hazy day through half opened eyes under the influence and now you can’t quite recall.



I no longer live where I grew up but my family does. I have almost never gone to a bar there either but once, about 10 years after high school, I went to one with my uncle and sister. I sat there sober thinking how odd that I didn’t know one person. But after a couple hours, faces I glimpsed through the night became faces of people I’d seen before. Their names didn’t necessarily come bubbling up but I started to realize I’d seen a handful in school.


Speaking of parks reminded me of this: Back when I was 18, I was briefly an army reservist; for a while, the camouflage thing clicked for me, I was even helping other people disappear into the landscape…and then after about four days on almost no sleep, whatever it was unclicked and I just couldn’t put the bits and bobs together effectively. I just couldn’t see the patterns fully anymore.

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