Introduction to Optic Obsessiveness

When Someone You Love Loves Glasses: An Introduction to Optic Obsessiveness

By All4Eyes in December 2007

Table of contents:

  1. Intro - a little known "condition"
  2. Definitions . Obsession, Fetish, Enthusiasm, Or Preference?
  3. What is it about eyes and glasses? - Lenses, frames, and "vision body language"
  4. Automyophilia, GOC, and induced myopia: The flip side of OO
  5. Why are we like this? - Memories, theories, but no clear answers
  6. My girlfriend/wife has a fetish? ! I thought only men had fetishes!
  7. Did you say something about other fetishes? - Some OOs are kinkier than others
  8. Websites of interest

I've written this article as a guide for those whose loved ones have just confessed their "special feelings about glasses" and also for young people who are just beginning to realize that they may have a "different viewpoint on vision" and are seeking to understand their feelings and find others who share them. I will sometimes refer to the optically obsessed* as "we" because I am optically obsessive myself.
I think a guide such as this is needed, because I realize that while some optically obsessed people prefer being the only people in their day-to-day lives who know about their obsession, others would love to be able to share this part of their lives with their significant others, if only they knew how to approach it. I attempted years ago to have just such a discussion with my mother, but failed miserably because I simply didn’t know what to say (see “My Own Private OO” for more on my personal experiences with this obsession).
If it is your loved one who is an OO* (Optically Obsessed person, person with a passion for eyeglasses/vision defects), please understand that it was very brave of him/her to tell you about this very personal preference. Most OOs grew up believing they were the only one and even now that (thanks largely to the Internet) many of us know we are not the only ones, we still are acutely aware of being in a minority and many of us have a great deal of shame/embarrassment concerning our "condition", some carried over from our years of believing we were uniquely weird and some from current fear of being treated badly by others. Part of the reason I’m afraid to “come out” in real life - I’m afraid I’ll be misunderstood at the very least, possibly ridiculed, maybe even threatened, as happens to gays, lesbians and transsexuals sometimes, I often wonder if the only reason that hasn’t happened to us yet is because nobody knows we exist.
The Eye Scene website has had “attack” messages posted to it, most notably under the “Musicians” thread 27 August 2004, and I can see how in real-life this sort of thing could turn REALLY nasty (after all, prejudice is really not so much about the ones who are prejudiced against (whoever they may be) as it is about the bigoted people (it‘s THEIR bad attitude) ). So please try to approach this with an open mind and sensitive heart, even though you may find some of it very foreign to your way of thinking and feeling and difficult to understand. To those of you who are discovering your own OO tendencies, I hope that this will prove to be educational and perhaps relieve some confusion or negative ideas you may have had.

To start, I'd like to give a kind of definition on what an "Optic Obsessive" is. Sometimes this is also referred to as "glasses fetish", but I think this term is less than ideal, because it has negative connotations to many people, a fetish to them is a "deviant" trait. Also, I think it implies that the interest is solely in the glasses, when for most of us it is really the person wearing them that has the appeal, though there are also persons who are “classical fetishists”; they become aroused simply from seeing a pair of glasses and may or may not have any special emotion towards wearers of glasses. And last but not least, the word "fetish" puts too much emphasis on the purely sexual aspect, for many of us the sexual attraction is only part of a much broader mindstate and set of ideas, feelings and preferences. In this I think optic obsession is somewhat different from most other fetishes, though it does have certain commonalities with certain other fetishes, most notably the various forms of disability/physical imperfection fetishes. So, I will use the term "OO" or "optic obsession" to refer to this broader state of mind and (grudgingly, for I hate the stigma attached but know of no better word) use the term "fetish" only to refer to the strictly sexual side of it.
I sometimes think even the term "obsession" has a kind of psychopathological ring to it for many people and I wish I had a more positive sounding way to refer to our "condition", which is anything but "sick" (albeit rather far from statistical average) and definitely does have its joys, as well as its trials (how about “eyewear enthusiasm“ and “eyewear enthusiasts?”). Though I must admit, “OO” or “O-O” as it is sometimes spelled, is rather fitting, resembling as it does a pair of glasses in front view. Bobby has a text here called "Fetish and Obsession" which is helpful, also there is this set of definitions from Electra's MIGfetish Journal: 

Fetish -

  1. "An object of unreasonably excessive attention or reverence",
  2. "Something, such as a material object or a nonsexual part of the body, that arouses sexual desire and may become necessary for sexual gratification.",
  3. "An abnormally obsessive preoccupation or attachment; a fixation."
The first and third definitions are more what I call "obsession". It appears a person can have either or both aspects of OOness: It can be purely sexual, simply a fetish without any other interest in the subject once the sex drive has been satisfied, it can be an intense but nonsexual mental interest, or it can be a combination of the two. The intellectual/emotional interest/obsession can result in a desire to learn as much as possible about eyes, visual problems and their correction, leading to obsessive reading about vision, observing people with glasses, comparing different lenses*, collecting glasses etc. Those who find glasses important for personal attraction may be sexually/romantically attracted either solely or primarily to persons with glasses or it may simply be a preference (glasses make one cuter but aren’t an absolute requirement for attraction).

1. Different lens types and their appeal
The type(s) of vision problems/eyewear that interest OOs vary from one to another. The most common appears to be those who are attracted to people who are highly myopic* (nearsighted) and need to wear strong minus* (concave*) lensed glasses, but there are also some who prefer those who are highly hyperopic* (farsighted) and wear strong plus* (convex*) glasses, those who have a weakness for either plus or minus glasses that are, well, weak and some who are attracted to both myopes and hyperopes, either equally or with a leaning towards one or the other (such people are considered bi-lensual*).
For many hypermyophiliacs*, myodiscs* and their wearers are especially admired. Some OOs have a preference for low myopes with weaker glasses or for moderate myopes with plano-front* or biconcave* glasses. People also have interest in varying degrees of hyperopia and strengths of plus glasses, though I am less familiar with the specific lens make-up and appearances of the different plus prescriptions*.
Each type of lens has a different way of reflecting and refracting light to produce effects that we find beautiful, including power rings*, the way that light glints or flashes off the fronts of the lenses (this flashing is particularly pronounced on plano-front* glasses and moderately to very strong plus lenses have a special ability to "hold light within them", creating hyper halos*) and the magnifying* effects of plus lenses and minifying* effects of minus lenses. I’ve written more here about the effects of minus lenses because this is the type of lens I know the most about, since minus lenses are more prevalent in both the general public and in online OO stories and photos, because I’ve paid more attention to minus most of my life and last but not least, because this is the type of lenses I myself wear (-4 diopters and - I hope! - counting). But someone who was fond of plus lenses could give an equal list of the things he/she likes about that kind of lenses. Those of us who like strong glasses also enjoy seeing the thickness along the edges of strong, thick glasses when viewed from the side. Some of us also have a passion for prisms* (lenses used to correct crossed or otherwise misaligned eyes), cylinder* correction (used for astigmatism*), bi- and/or trifocals, or tinted/sunglasses.
2. Frames and Fashion
Most of us each have our favorite frame style(s), too. Plastic, metal, rimless, drop-temple (the kind where the temple pieces slope down from the ears and connect at the bottoms of the lenses, instead of the middle or top, as other frames do), butterfly, cat eye, aviators, horn-rims, circles, ovals, octagons, rectangles, squares and “unique” styles, all have their fans. Some find frames with monograms or small designs on the frames attractive. There doesn’t really seem to be much consensus on what frame styles are most appealing and why, as there is with lenses, it seems there are as many frame preferences as there are OOs. While we each have our favorite frame(s), for most of us I think the lenses are most important, with frames taking a secondary role. OOs frequently complain about the multitude of “fake” glasses (plano*, window-glass, no rx* lenses, like the kind that are used in trial frames at the opticians’; or even worse, just frames with no lenses at all!) being worn in movies and in real life. While we may enjoy the fashion aspect of frames alone, they don’t quite “get us going” without some type of prescription lenses in.

3. Glasses-wearers and Their Eyesight
Moving away from the glasses themselves a bit, to the wearer, there are a number of different things wearers do with their glasses that OOs enjoy witnessing, like glasses sliding down nose and the wearer pushing them back up, cleaning the lenses, suddenly showing up with/without glasses, the process of picking out frames/being fitted with new specs. For many of us, the person’s myopia/hyperopia/astigmatism in and of itself (and hence, his/her uncorrected vision) is also an integral part of the attraction. In this area, things like experiencing/imagining blurry vision, eye exams, talking/hearing others talk about vision (“Oh, I’m blind without my glasses”, etc.), seeing someone squinting or struggling to see, crossed eyes, and any sign of an obvious inability to see well such as holding print very close to read or asking that someone read something to him/her, are exciting. There is a small but interesting sub-group in OO culture that gets as much or more pleasure out of uncorrected myopia (their own and/or others, and presumably there is a corresponding sub-group doing this with hyperopia, though I haven‘t heard of this) as they do from wearing/seeing glasses.

There are also some who relish their own refractive error*, enjoying needing glasses, wearing glasses and everything that goes with it. There is a broad "spec"trum (pun intended) in this category, from people who would prefer to have perfect unaided eyesight but decide to make the best of things by being fashionable with their frames all the way up to those who revel in being nearsighted/farsighted and consider their glasses an essential, pleasurable (perhaps even erotic) and unquestionably permanent part of their being, who in fact regard waking up one morning to discover they no longer need glasses as their worst nightmare.
Then there are those who take their love of glasses and their wearers (and the idea of themselves as wearers) a step further-they actually wish to "suffer from" the vision defect they admire and wear the glasses they fancy. Most commonly, these people have a desire to experience being severely nearsighted and wear strong minus glasses (though there are also those who wish to experience high hyperopia and wear strong plus glasses).
Some try to achieve this by a process known as Induced Myopia, which means doing a number of things that anecdotal evidence suggests can increase myopia, including reading a lot while holding the book as close as possible, doing lots of computer work and wearing minus glasses that are stronger than the person's real rx, if any (some try wearing stronger than needed plus lenses to induce hyperopia, but since accommodation only works one way and while the eyes can grow longer they cannot possibly "grow shorter", it is highly doubtful that this practice can do anything except reveal latent hyperopia which existed all along). Success with the induced myopia method, however, appears to be quite limited and it seems that the older one gets the harder it becomes to induce myopia. Additionally, there are some who question even those cases where there is indeed an increase in prescription, saying that these people's "myopia" isn't "real", calling it "accommodative myopia" or "ciliary spasm", a temporary result of overworking the ciliary (focusing) muscles rather than a true increase in myopia.
On Eye Scene, there are 2 cases in particular which could be considered either successes or cases of "Induced False Myopia", depending how one looks at it: Bobby Laurel was able to increase his rx to -11D, but it has recently gone down several diopters to less than -7 (he did have the advantage of being pretty nearsighted naturally to begin with, it does appear that some people's eyes tend toward getting myopic more readily than others), and Specs4Ever was at one time able to wear -10, but now he is only slightly myopic. So in order to be able to wear super-strong glasses, these two and many others do something called Glasses Over Contacts or GOC, wearing glasses of the power they want and wearing contact lenses of the opposite optical power (for example, +3 contacts and -3 glasses, though if the rx is much higher than this, the equation isn't exactly even, and the contacts must be of a somewhat lower power than the glasses), in order to be able to see clearly out of the glasses and experience what it's like to be an uncorrected hi-my* when they take the glasses off but keep in the contacts. This can also be done in reverse, with strong plus glasses over strong minus contacts, though in this case the contacts must generally be of a somewhat higher power than the glasses.

Possible reasons behind the attraction that have been suggested by members of our community include: association of glasses with someone we loved as children, a feeling of protectiveness towards and/or dominance over people with the “weakness” of poor vision (in some cases this borders on a kind of S&M/bondage thing), the sparkling, luminous beauty/jewel-like quality of lenses, the subconscious link in some minds between poor vision and masturbation (the saying “you’ll go blind from that”), the idea that if a person can cope with being “hindered” in life this way, then there must be compensating positive qualities (the “peacock tail theory“), an attraction to intelligence and the belief that people with glasses are more intelligent, glasses as a symbol of rebellion, self-assurance and independence of mind (willingness to go against the stereotypical standards of beauty), the fashion/aesthetics of frames. Mind you these “causes” are often as not subconscious, those who have discussed what they feel could be the reason(s) for their OOness have generally spent years analyzing themselves to get to their conclusions and many OOs cannot trace the “cause“ of their obsession at all.

Yes, Virginia, there IS such a thing as a female fetishist! I think the "fetishists-are-male-only" myth got started because fetishism, just like "normal" sexuality, tends to express itself differently in women than in men. Women, for example, are somewhat less likely to collect physical objects associated with their fetish (in this case, eyeglasses), less likely to use such objects in masturbation or other sexual rituals, and less likely to mentally "objectify" the human "objects" of their attraction (in this case, people who wear glasses), than are their male counterparts. But this doesn't mean that women don't have fetishes. Women are also less likely to visit strip clubs and prostitutes, and to look at porn, but does this mean that women aren't sexual? There are those who argue that they aren't, or at least, that they are less sexual than men, but I think multiple orgasms and the existence of an organ (the clitoris) whose sole function is sexual pleasure tend to point the other way.
Whether we are discussing "normal" or fetishistic sexuality, the general rule is that females place more emphasis on fantasy and mental/emotional stimulation, while males place more emphasis on visual/physical stimulation. Similarly, while males often become visually sexually attracted to a partner (whether because of strong glasses, large breasts, gorgeous hair or anything else) first and then gradually become emotionally attracted as they get to know the person, females tend to fall in love with the "total package" from the very start. Thus it is possible that a purely sexual fetish takes a less prominent role in a female fetishists' life than in a male's. But I think women are also just as likely to have obsessions in which a sexual fetish is but one component. I have mentioned here that OO in general is a more "whole-life obsession" and more of a "person-oriented" as opposed to "object-oriented" fetish compared to other fetishes, and I also think that for any given fetish, the females who have it are more likely to be "whole-life obsessed" and "person-oriented" about it.
I read a book once which contained a passage where a young heterosexual man described an incident of his experimentally kissing another boy. He felt it was disgusting, "like kissing a horse" and said he thought women's sexuality must be different, "geared to something larger". That is a good way to put it, the deeper, more expansive, all-encompassing quality of female sexuality. After all, the act of intercourse is physically more internal, goes deeper inside us, so it makes sense that our emotional experience of sex is also deeper. And, since the act of reproduction is more time - and labor(!) - intensive for us, since we are "in it for the long haul", it makes since that our sexuality is wider-ranging and more serious. Of course, all this is not to say that men's sex lives don't effect their emotional lives as well or that there don't exist women whose sexuality is shallow and entirely based on purely physical motives. Nor does it mean that (glasses or any other type of) fetishists, male or female, who do engage in behaviors that physically express their interest (the collecting, sexual rituals, etc.) are necessarily lacking in a deeper emotional aspect of their fetish/obsession.

I’ve talked here a little bit about other fetishes occurring/having commonalities with optic obsession. My unofficial estimate is that maybe one-fourth of all OOs also have some other fetish(es), though the majority are by-and-large “normal people” who just happen to have this one extra thing in their life. Other fetishes that I have seen occurring along with OO include: Dental braces, dentures, leg braces/wheelchairs/crutches, amputees, hearing aids/deafness, blindness/uncorrectable visual impairment, plumpness, acne, feet/shoes/socks (I‘ve seen a few knee-sock fetishists), general nerd fetish, general disability/physical imperfection fetish, general “shiny things fetish” (this would include not only glasses but also perhaps braces, jewelry - I know of a couple hoop earring fetishists - and metal embellishments on clothing) and general interest in BDSM (though this isn’t technically a fetish). There are OOs who’s feelings towards glasses are purely sexual and I would imagine (though I so far have found no evidence) that there are other fetishes/obsessions which have the “whole-life, sexual/emotional/intellectual totality” that OOness tends to have, but it appears that OO is fairly distinctive in this among fetishes.

All links open in a new window. 
Eye Scene (if you’re new to all this, see especially the Psychology of glasses thread and the archived polls from when Eye Scene first appeared). This is the hub of the online OO community, I believe it is both the first and the best website dedicated to the love of glasses. It is a message board site where people share their true experiences as wearers and/or admirers of eyewear and includes a real-time chat room area (Lens Chat) and links to sites with fictional stories and pictures, as well. New posts are added daily to most of the topics. (the website you are just reading)
Bobby’s site is primarily glasses fiction (male and female, gay and straight), but also includes some blindness and paralysis fiction, (the stories have been written by many different authors, including Bobby himself, some stories from other sites (such as Electra’s MIG* stories and the works of the prolific Specs4Ever) and a few by me 8-) ) as well as photos of women in strong glasses (mostly morphed, but still very good) and some real-life texts about glasses that are too long to post in a message board setting. This site is updated about once a month.
(Unfortunately, this website has been down for a while.)

Likeglass’ site is all about the love of girls with glasses, with some interesting in “sights” into the reasons behind the attraction, a “Glossary of Glasses Loving Lingo”, some fiction and a “Who’s Who” list (which includes such useful info as glasses rx, email address (optional) and photo (also optional) ) of people in the pro-eyewear community, with a lighthearted/humorous slant. It appears to be dormant, but LikeGlass is still a prominent member of the pro-eyewear community and hangs around Eye Scene.
(Unfortunately, this website has been down for a while.)
Electra’s site is all about the love of guys with glasses, with fiction, photos and factual optical/psychology of glasses-loving articles. It appears to be dormant, but Electra still pops into Eye Scene every so often.
(Unfortunately, this website has been down for a while.)
Smudge report has many fiction stories, photos and news articles. It has not been updated in some time (and probably will never be updated again).

High myopic girls is all about, well, high myopic girls! This site has pictures and movies of hi-my* GWGs*. It gets updated on an irregular basis.

Yahoo groups - There are a number of groups on Yahoo dedicated to those who wear and love glasses, male and female, gay and straight. These are just a few examples: (brings you to the member sign in page)

*See “OO Terms to Know