"My glasses! I can't see a thing without my glasses!"
—Velma, from the various Scooby Doo shows (whenever they need somebody to be incapacitated)
Nobody who wears glasses in TV ever needs them for minor vision correction, except for reading glasses that are worn mainly to make the character look wise. Almost all TV characters with glasses have such bad vision that if they are deprived of their spectacles, they are practically blind—usually hammered home by showing (briefly) the character's uselessly blurry point of view or the character making a Blind Mistake.
Naturally, these poor souls are almost always subject to Dropped Glasses. For some unfortunate Tropers, this is Truth in Television, though paradoxically a sign of technological improvement as people who would have found it difficult to function without a prescription of -9 can now be fully productive members of society (Though even then, it's nowhere near as bad...).
In animation, when such a character's glasses are lost, their eyes shrink down to pinpoints, which indicates either that they are squinting to see, or to point out the jarring real life effect of seeing someone who has huge eyes when seen through heavily magnified glasses without their glasses. An anime variation on this is usually represented with the character's eyes being replaced by 3's or 3_3, which is another stylization of squinting.
Note: The legal term "legally blind" is with corrective lenses (per linked article). Saying you are "legally blind without your glasses" is absurd.
Further note: because special lenses are needed to keep eyeglasses from flashing stage lights, and reflecting filming equipment, any time an actor wears glasses, it's a character choice, and the glasses are special stage glasses, which the actor may or may not need. If an actor needs corrective lenses, and it's deemed wrong for the character, the actor has to do without, or wear contacts.
Truth in Television, albeit much rarer than it is in fiction.
See also Nerd Glasses.
- The woman in this Sears Optical Ad, who mistakes a raccoon for her cat. "Come snuggles with momma..."
Anime & Manga
- Mousse in Ranma ½ is so dependent upon his glasses that without them he can mistake a bright green houseplant for the purple-haired girl he loves. This isn't helped by his tendency to take them off any time he tries to be cool/dramatic.
- Hida Sayuri in Best Student Council has a habit of having her glasses ("megane" in Japanese) knocked off so that she can meander about the ground mumbling "megane... megane...". Surprisingly, they have only been stepped on once. She's not just Blind Without'Em. She seems to lose all sense-abilities and tunes out the world completely when she loses them. The first episode alone has her apparently patting the same square foot of land saying "megane... megane..." for hours before being fireman-carried home, still in her orz state.
- Kururu from Keroro Gunsou also mutters "megane, megane" after he loses his glasses; whether they were dislodged by an explosion or shattered by boob missiles. While he is a nasty little cur, just break his glasses and he's mostly harmless.
- Tokyo Mew Mew had Retasu. Actually, she could see without them when she was transformed as Mew Lettuce, but in civilian form, small blurry eyes and feeling around still reigned supreme.
- Lucky Star averts the "shrinking eyes" effect when Konata pulls off Miyuki's glasses, and disappointingly admits that "it doesn't work that way in real life". They do, however, show her having to squint to read the board, and she says her vision without 'em is "way below 20/200."
- Mari in Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0 claims to be this although given her subsequent actions and somewhat erratic personality suggests she may well be lying.
- Integra Hellsing from Hellsing, in the anime at least, is shown at a couple of points to have extremely poor eyesight without her glasses.
- Matsuri from Ichigo Mashimaro is already quite clumsy, but it gets throttled to near-catastrophic proportions when she doesn't wear her glasses. She almost gets herself (and Nobue) killed during a visit to the public bath, for one.
- Tsukuyomi of Mahou Sensei Negima Rather than use her specs for pure cuteness, the author made it a slight plot-point when she was interrupting Rival swordswoman Setsuna from rescuing her charge, to which Setsuna responded by tossing the impeding enemy swordswoman aside, unnintentionally knocking her glasses off. She was no threat afterwards.
- Keitaro and Naru from Love Hina are both so Blind Without'Em that they don't recognize each other from two meters apart. In Naru's case, most of the time she wears contacts. It's only when she's studying or, in the case mentioned above, running away from home that she puts on her glasses in lieu of the contacts. The only times when she has neither are in the bath or when her glasses are broken. The time running away from home, she said that she spent the entire night crying. Contacts are not so good after that for a while. In the Anime both of their glasses soon break, leading to them having a nice time unknowing who they were talking to till Hilarity Ensued when they were fixed.
- Sort of subverted in Witch Hunter Robin where the title character needs glasses only for correctly using her magical abilities. And it's really not as stupid as it sounds.
- Lieutenant Tashigi of One Piece is so nearsighted that when she puts her glasses on her forehead to read, she easily mistakes random bystanders for her commanding officer.
- Sacchan from Gintama has a tendency to lose her glasses often, leading to such situations as poking Gintoki's eye out with a chopstick full of natto or mistaking a time bomb for a giant breath mint. What makes her plight all the more disastrous—or hilarious—is that she's actually a ninja.
- Ayaori in Penguin Revolution has incredibly lousy eyesight and can barely see anything without either his Nerd Glasses or contacts. Which is fortunate for the Sweet Polly Oliver who rooms with him, since he has a tendency to wander into the bathroom while she's bathing.
- The girls from Hidamari Sketch are delighted to see Sae without her glasses for once, but when it turns out that she cannot even distinguish between a clam and a soup ladle anymore they quickly make her put them on again. (The reason she wasn't wearing them in the first place was because the steam was fogging them up, so the benefits of putting them on again are unclear.)
- Nowy in Glass Fleet is apparently Blind Without'Em, given that his Dropped Glasses moments are frequent enough to become an Overly Long Gag—but a scene near the end of the series suggests that he may be intentionally exaggerating it for Eimer's amusement.
- Ichinensei Ni Nacchattara: Yume, the Mad Scientist.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray has Riika Sheder, who like the Geordi La Forge example below is literally blind without her special glasses. In the main series, the purpose behind the experiments leading the creation of protagonist Kira Yamato is that sometimes genetically engineered "Coordinators" don't turn out quite as "perfect" as they're supposed to. Riika exists as living proof of how true this is. But since the cybernetic technology in the "Cosmic Era" is just as advanced as the genetic technology, she's able to be a mobile suit test pilot anyway.
- Shou of Yu-Gi-Oh GX cannot tell the difference between a giant koala and his friend Hayato without his glasses. It's surprising he can even WITH them.... In all fairness, Judai mistakes Hayato for a giant koala upon meeting him.
- In the Kimagure Orange Road story, "Manami-chan's Big Adventure", Kyōsuke's meganekko sister loses her contacts while enjoying a day off from everyday household chores and is subsequently rescued from shady characters—in the manga they're lecherous guys, in the anime it's sukeban (girl gang) members—by Kyōsuke. He fails to recognize his dressed-up sister, and she fails to recognize him without her glasses or contacts (and he has a slight sore throat, which changes his voice) -- and they end up on a date together. (It makes sense in context and isn't squicky in the least.) In the manga story he's just being nice to a sweet girl he's met, but in the anime he does finally recognize her and treats her to the memorable day she wanted to have—with Manami never realizing that this kind, gentlemanly boy she spends the day with was in fact her brother.
- Issei Tsubaki in Full Metal Panic!'s Lighter and Softer spinoff Fumoffu, while still being functional without his coke bottles, doesn't recognize neither Sōsuke nor Kaname without them, and it leads him to almost kill the janitor after going through the entire class just to find Sōsuke who had missed their duel on the roof.
- Sunao from Potemayo, when running to school with a large group of people but without his glasses, somehow ends up in a restaurant. That's not even open. And resembles a school only in that both have doors and chairs.
- Jean Roque de Baltique in Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, including the obligatory Dropped Glasses scene. To the point that without the glasses, his eyes are drawn much smaller than the usual "anime" size.
- While a number of characters in Black Butler wear glasses, death god William T. Spears is the only one so far who seems to need them outside of making a fashion statement. About thirteen minutes into episode 9 of Kuroshitsuji II [dead link], he loses his glasses and starts fumbling around on the ground Velma-style—even admonishing a brick wall that he thinks is his partner.
- Averted in Brigadoon Marin and Melan. Marin is a rare example of a character who's far-sighted rather than near-sighted. She does need glasses, but she can see well enough to get around without 'em.
- Normally averted yet still invoked in Detective Conan to maintain Conan's Clark Kenting. He doesn't need the glasses to see, but he fakes this anyway to keep his identity secret. The dub made it one step further by making dub!Conan say he has retinitis pigmentosa.
- Riruka Dokugamine from Bleach. She refuses to wear her glasses due to vanity.
- Victorian Romance Emma: Emma, the title character.
- A one episode character from Pokémon called Symour. He gets tripped by Meowth and upon loses his glasses says: "My glasses! I can't see without my glasses!"
- Tenpou in Saiyuki Gaiden, despite being a god, suffers from this problem, to the point that he's only able to be killed once his glasses are knocked off and broken (he even admits the fight's lost once his glasses are gone).
- Hana no Mizo Shiru: Arikawa has terrible vision without glasses or contacts.
- In Nisekoi, it's shown that when Ruri misplaces her glasses, she can't tell the difference between Kosaki, her best friend, and Raku, the boy Kosaki is sweet on, at a distance of less than a meter. Not even the difference between the colors of the boys' and girls' school uniforms.
- The DC Comics hero Doctor Mid-Nite is an example of literally blind—he can only see in total darkness, otherwise he needs special lenses to filter the light.
- Pretty much the same with Riddick, though he seems to have no problem fighting in light when the plot calls for it.
- X-Men's Cyclops could be seen as a special case. Though technically able to see without his ruby-quartz glasses, he cannot turn off the concussive beams that continually shoot from his eyes. He is thus forced to keep his eyes shut in order to keep from destroying everything around him. He can therefore be said to be "voluntarily blind" in the same way that the Inhuman's Black Bolt (whose voice is a similarly uncontrollable sonic weapon) is often said to be "voluntarily mute". They are contained because his body is immune to his own power: The beams which flow from his eyes flow right back in to his eyelids with no loss of energy.
- Peter Parker before he becomes Spider-Man, as seen in the recent Spider-Man films. Interestingly, gaining superpowers mends his normal vision AND makes everything blurry when he wears his glasses. Wearing corrective lenses that aren't made for you really does mess up your vision, so this isn't unreasonable.
- Spidey's foe Doctor Octopus sometimes has this problem. Depending on the continuity, it's considered a side-effect of the accident that gave him his powers.
- In Batman: Year One, James Gordon uses having dropped his glasses as an excuse not to recognize Bruce Wayne after Wayne saves his son's life.
- Spanish comic book character Rompetechos is this, but taken to the extreme where he is blind even with them. 90% of the time he reads something (say, "Escuela de perritos", "Dog School") and he believes it's a very different thing (say, "Escuela de peritos", "School for experts"), which coupled with his very bad temper makes him believe the people in the places where he goes to are mocking him, and this lands him in loads of trouble.
- The version of the Scarecrow/Jonathan Crane appearing in The Sandman claims to be this, as demonstrated in a scene where he jumps out in full costume at Dream and John Dee, followed by an apologetic pause to take off his mask and put his glasses back on.
- One of the iconic drawn-in-the-margins characters of Cricket, a children's magazine, is Zoot, a pygmy shrew who's Blind Without'Em. A good thing too, else he might have caught on too soon that the "puppies and kitties" he'd been hanging around with were actually various insects, worms and snails that he rightly ought to be preying upon! Instead, he became so fond of them that he converted to vegetarianism when he learned the truth.
- Marcie was once told by Peppermint Patty that she would look more sophisticated with her glasses up on her forehead, resulting in her bumping into walls, a lamppost, etc. Marcie: "Before I became sophisticated, I almost never had headaches."
- Averted with Linus, who occasionally donned glasses for a time in the early '60s but seemed to see all right without them, and eventually discarded them entirely.
- Conrad, Captn Crazy's brother, is even almost-blind with 'em.
Films -- Animation
Films -- Live-Action
- Brenda in Adventures in Babysitting, after having her glasses stolen, wanders around the bus station blindly and mistakes a rat for a kitten.
- Averted in Jurassic Park. At one point, Dennis Nedry loses his glasses. He looks for them for about a second before saying "I can afford more glasses", being in a hurry to catch a ship. His sight is not drastically affected. However, not having his glasses leaves his eyes vulnerable to the spat venom of the dilophosaurus.
- My Cousin Vinny
- Subverted when the inept defense lawyer tries to discredit a witness by claiming the man couldn't have seen the perps' faces because he wasn't wearing his vital glasses. The witness replies that they're reading glasses.
- Also subverted with another witness, who was wearing her glasses when she saw the crime. In this case, though, she's half-blind even with the glasses.
- Sorority Boys contains what is probably the stupidest example of this trope ever. It's a drag comedy that expects us to believe that a character without her glasses can't tell the difference between a naked man and a naked woman.
- The Goonies. Stef, although it's really just a couple instances of "I can't see a thing"; it's not really played for comedy or anything.
- Minority Report has a man say this to very creepy effect. He is standing over his bed (which contains both his wife and another man) and as he puts his glasses on he's raising a pair of shears as if about to stab them.
- Gattaca has Vincent lose his contacts and is thus utterly helpless when he tries to cross a main drag (which is plain dumb in the first place).
- Done very scarily in the first film of The Mummy Trilogy. When Mr. Burns' glasses get broken in the tunnel, he must feel his way in the dark. He sees the mummy ahead of him, but his eyesight is so bad he's not sure he sees anything. He looks away, then back, only to be sure that someone/something was there because it's now gone. The mummy appears right behind him, so now he can see the mummy up close. He screams. And then gets his eyes and tongue ripped off. Which then mean that the Mummy, having his eyes, is short-sighted. No wonder he later thinks the lead female is his lover. Word of God says this was the idea in the original script, although they never draw explicit attention to it.
- Donald Sutherland's character in Space Cowboys says he only needs glasses for a few things, like "reading, driving, seeing movies, walking..." He nonetheless passes the NASA eyesight test by memorizing the letters: "I may be blind, but I have a perfect memory!"
- Sinistra, the bikini-clad temptress in the '60s beach-party film The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.
- In How to Marry a Millionaire, Pola (Marilyn Monroe) is blind without her glasses, and vain enough to always take them off around men. This leads to scenes like pretending to read a book, which she's holding upside down.
- Sheriff Albert Earp in Carry On Cowboy—although he is not really much better with them on.
- A mall employee from Eight Legged Freaks, who proved himself Too Dumb to Live by repeatedly taking off his glasses, even when on the run from giant spiders. Eventually, he blindly walks up to one and is killed.
- In a reversal, although not really a subversion, in Strangers on a Train, Alfred Hitchcock wanted the actress who played Miriam to wear glasses with thick lenses so he could show her murder reflected in them, and to make her resemble another character. The actress, Casey Rogers (billed as Laura Elliott), didn't need glasses, and couldn't see at all with the costume glasses on. She wears the thick lenses for close-up and medium scenes, and plain lenses for long shots, but there are still several scenes where she has to depend on other people to make sure she doesn't trip or stumble when she's wearing the glasses. In the scenes where Miriam goes to the amusement park with two men, she is holding both their arms most of the time because she can't see where she is going.
- In Guest House Paradiso, Richie donned Eddie's glasses as a disguise. They were both rendered nearly blind as a result.
- Piggy, from Lord of the Flies. He's almost completely blind without them. Poor kid never saw that rock coming.
- Tamora Pierce's Tris, from the Circle of Magic series. In a mild variation, she has much worse regular vision, but can see magic better.
- Harry Potter has very poor eyesight without his glasses and everything is said to look blurry without them. He almost never drops them, though he breaks the frames a lot, but he does have them removed when he goes into the hospital wing.
- The film of Prisoner of Azkaban averts this trope nicely when Harry gets his glasses knocked off by the Whomping Willow, leading to a fuzzy but still somewhat intelligible PoV shot that's pretty close to what the world looks like through myopia.
- Paradoxically, Harry's vision is quite good with his glasses on, enough so that he serves as Seeker on the Hogwarts Quidditch team, a position which relies on keen eyesight.
- Princess Andromeda, from One Good Knight, has been severely nearsighted since early childhood. However, the Sophont who made her glasses designed them to stay on her face (and they do, unless she chooses to take them off).
- This is an important plot point in one Sherlock Holmes story. Holmes deduces that the culprit could not have left through the front door because she would have to walk along a narrow board to avoid leaving footprints, and she is clearly blind without her very thick glasses that she lost while committing the crime.
- Doctor Who exception: The Fifth and Tenth Doctors both have only minor vision problems. David Tennant admitted in an interview that he had the Doctor wear glasses to give children with glasses a hero.
- In the crossover short Time Crash, the 10th Doctor explicitly states that neither he nor the 5th Doctor need glasses to correct their vision -- they only wear them to look clever. The 1st Doctor occasionally did wear proper glasses to improve his ailing vision.
- Exemplified in Star Trek: The Next Generation by Geordi LaForge, who actually is blind without his VISOR.
- Without this trope, the famous The Twilight Zone episode "Time Enough at Last" would have lost some of its zing. It's almost reverse Fridge Horror, though, because you realize that eventually he'll think to stumble his way into an optometrist's and find a pair that works reasonably well. He could also have just found himself a magnifying glass.
- Parodied on Futurama with The Scary Door, where the last man on Earth has just lost his glasses.
- Buster Bluth from Arrested Development, who fell in love with a "brownish area with points".
- Heroes: In the series, Mister Bennett uses his Nerd Glasses to make himself seem inconspicuous. Right up to the point where he shoots someone. In the webcomic, one villain remarked, "He shoots well, for a guy with bifocals." Gosh, really?
- Billy, the Blue Power Ranger could barely see without his glasses or, later, contact lenses, then glasses again when Alpha steps on his contacts.
- One episode of Monk has this as a plot point: the victim was blind without her glasses, yet they weren't found at the crime scene.
- Olive from On the Buses can't see a thing without her glasses.
- Played to their usual absurd degree in The Two Ronnies sketch, the Opticians.
- Sophia from The Golden Girls suffers from this. Once she loses her glasses inside a shopping mall, and she keeps inserting quarters into a condom vending machine, mistaking it for a pay phone she intended to use to get her daughter to pick her up.
Sophia: Here Dorothy, I brought you three. A lifetime supply.
- Leonard in The Big Bang Theory.
- Lilly Truscott of Hannah Montana can't tell a person from a post without her contacts.
- Private Vanderbilt on F Troop, though he's blind with them as well. Appropriately enough, he serves as the fort lookout.
- Parodied in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide in an episode that featured a chase sequence that involved Scooby-Dooby Doors... and Lisa Zemo dressed exactly like Velma, having her glasses knocked off and saying the classic quote.
- Averted in Being Human (UK) in which George is seen without his glasses almost as frequently as he is seen with them. Possibly justified... in the pilot George says that "A week before (a full moon) I need glasses to watch the news," implying that his vision gets better as he becomes wolfier.
- Possibly played straight and averted in Leverage, as Hardison is seen in flashback with glasses on and may wear contacts. Eliot, on the other hand, only wears his glasses about a third of the time.
- Subverted on Due South. Detective Kowalski appears to be moderately nearsighted. He can read, write, drive his Pontiac GTO without apparant difficulty, and otherwise function as a normal human being without his glasses. However, were he to attempt to shoot the broadside of a barn without his Birth Control Glasses, the safest place to be standing would be directly in between RayK and the barn. With his glasses on, he's an expert marksman. Of course, he never actually wears the glasses because he looks like a dork with them. And because they're so bulky, they're always getting stuck in the liner of his jacket when he actually needs to put them on during a gunfight. When asked why he doesn't wear contacts, he claims that they're too much fuss.
- Sid from Skins, mostly likely. The lenses of his glasses are noticeably thick (they magnify his eyes a little bit) and he's been shown to sleep with them on. Of course, Sid only has glasses because the actor who plays him does.
- In an episode of Seinfeld, George loses his glasses. He thinks he can see just fine (especially when squinting), but he ends up mistaking a police officer petting her horse for Jerry's uncle making out with Jerry's girlfriend. It's also revealed that he once mistook mailboxes for raccoons. Oddly enough, he was also able to spot a dime on the floor from the other side of the room.
- Minkus on Boy Meets World.
- Averted in Thirty Rock. Liz is often seen without her glasses and can see fine without Them (Leading Jenna to comment that "She doesn't even need Them"). This is partly a reference to the fact that, while They are her trademark, Tina Fey is not wholly dependent on Them and only needs Them for long distances.
- Averted in New Girl. Jess often wears Glasses but can see just fine without Them too. She even goes entire episodes without needing to use Them.
- Good Eats: Alton Brown, at least within the mildly-fictionalized confines of the episodes that have plots. In one episode, he loses his glasses in a shipwreck, then washes up on a Desert Island where he spends several days living off foraged island vegetation, completely unaware that just beyond the trees where he's getting his coconuts one of the major cities of the Hawaiian islands lies within walking distance.
- Pe Lanza, vocalist and bassist of Brazillian rock band Restart (although he assumed that he has contacts on during the concerts as a homage to Superman).
- Lisa Loeb. She's also apparently allergic to contact lenses.
- A supposedly true story about Elton John is that he had perfect vision when he was young. He started wearing eyeglasses to emulate Buddy Holly... and now 40 some years of glasses wearing have ruined his eyes to the point where he legitimately needs those glasses.
- Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo claims he's legally blind without his Nerd Glasses.
Myths & Religion
- Stan Hansen can't see beyond his nose without his glasses on. Stan's legendary stiffness in the ring is attributed to this.
- "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan: The affiable everyman wrestler often wore glasses outside the ring due to his real-life poor eyesight. Several heel color commentators—in particular, Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Bobby "the Brain" Heenan—frequently pointed this out in disdaining Duggan.
- Arn Anderson: The cornerstone of wrestling's Four Horsemen was never seen without glasses except for his wrestling matches. Like Hansen and Duggan, this is attributed to his real-life eyesight problems.
- In EarthBound, Jeff describes himself as "really nearsighted". So, he's probably Blind Without'Em, but never loses his glasses.
- Persona 4 makes the characters wear special glasses while in the TV world so they can see through the fog. These glasses also work when Inaba is covered in fog. The Main Character is a Double Subversion of this. (Once because he actually can see through the fog a little even without them and twice because it's not enough for him to not need them.)
- Seemingly averted in Siren: Blood Curse. It is implied that Sam's glasses do help his vision, but they break at one point in the game and he seems to have no particular vision problems despite never getting a replacement, although the Shibito curse may have a part in that.
- Jorge Garcia of Backyard Sports cannot see well without his glasses. Dmitri seems to be like this (he faints if he sees sun without glasses), but the difference is that his glasses may actually be goggles (as they do not break when he falls).
- But in Sandlot Sluggers, he has no glasses. Darn, he was really cute with them.
- Missing groom Matt is Blind Without'Em in the Nancy Drew game The Haunting of Castle Malloy. Used as a plot point, as finding Matt's glasses is the first sign he hasn't run off as a prank or ditched his bride. It also explains why he couldn't read all the clues Nancy finds in the rocket laboratory, and rescue himself.
- Used to foster Video Game Caring Potential in the DS game Lost in Blue. Skye has lost her glasses in the shipwreck that strands the two main characters on a deserted island. The player character must lead her around by the hand when he takes her exploring, and he must do all of the foraging for food and water. Skye can become a decent cook, however, so apparently she can see well enough for up-close tasks.
- In Monkey Island 2 Le Chucks Revenge, the protagonist Guybrush Threepwood needs to steal the monocle from the cartographer as a Plot Coupon.
- Phil's teacher Mr. Soggy in Riddle School 3. You have to knock his glasses off with the rubber band hidden in the vent.
- The Courier can be this in Fallout: New Vegas if the player chooses the four eyed trait.
- In Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice For All, Richard Wellington's eyesight without his glasses is so bad that he mistook a baseball glove for a bunch of bananas (admittedly, the glove was extremely bright yellow). In another game in the series, Godot is literally blind without his visor.
- Kenji in Katawa Shoujo wears Scary Shiny Glasses. And given how close he apparently has to get to recognize Hisao, he seems to be damn near blind with 'em, too.
"Aren't you blind?"
- Corpse Party has Sakutaro Morishige, as revealed in Extra Chapter 9. When Yoshiki accidentally breaks his glasses, he has to escort Sakutaro home, where he has a spare pair. When Mayu sees them walking together, she leaves, not wanting to "interrupt".
- Subverted in Megatokyo: Piro manages to function quite well after Largo sits on his glasses, and later explains to Kimiko that he can still see reasonably well. (Interestingly, Kimiko responds that she can barely see at all without her contacts.) He still has difficulties, however, as shown later when he searches for hidden cameras.
- Minor subversion: Brent Sienna of Pv P is quickly blinded when he removes his sunglasses.
- Faye in Questionable Content not only is blind without her glasses, she also loses her directional hearing.
- Subverted in Schlock Mercenary, in which Kevyn insists he can't see a thing without his trademark shades. In fact he can see just fine without them—if only in a single spectrum of light.
- Gwynn of Sluggy Freelance fame goes for the classic glasses trifecta, not only being Blind Without'Em and having a true set of Geek Glasses, but being Beautiful All Along to boot. Unfortunately, when she takes her glasses off to invoke Beautiful All Along, Blind Without'Em shenanigans often lead to her making a far worse impression than if she'd kept the glasses on.
- Quattro of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha only wears her glasses to look cute, and when she decides to get serious, she pulls them off in a dramatic manner. Naturally, Fan Web Comic StrikerS Nano depicted Quattro as Blind Without 'Em instead when the time came to parody the aforementioned scene.
- The Cyantian Chronicles: Twinky, a Wereskunk, (cooler than it sounds) has very bad eyesight in his human form.
- The Law of Purple: Dex's eyesight is highly dependent on his glasses, as he is incredibly nearsighted without them. Possible aversion with another character, who also wears glasses but doesn't appear to be quite as dependent on them.
- Subverted in the (now defunct) webcomic Those Destined :
Mook: I can see your strength... and your weakness.
- Subverted in El Goonish Shive: Tedd Verres's eyesight is normal, but he wears a pair of thick glasses (filled with high-tech gadgetry) while in public to make himself seem less effeminate, though at the cost of making him look more nerdish. When he is first seen without them by Grace, he initially tries to claim he is this.
- Many Survival of the Fittest characters who have glasses struggle greatly to see without, for example Simon Wood and Bill Ritch.
- In The Mercury Men, Edward Borman can't see anything without his glasses.
- Ask That Guy With The Glasses walks right into his bookcase when he takes his glasses off.
- When The Makeover Fairy yanks away her glasses, The Nostalgia Chick sulks that now she can't see.
- Subverted overall in that she functions perfectly well without the glasses, and rarely wears them after that episode.
- Looney Tunes
- Tweety's SOS (a Tweety and Sylvester cartoon set aboard a cruise ship): Granny drops her glasses while trying to keep the puddy tat away from her bird. Sylvester notices this and, seeing that Granny is virtually blind without her glasses, kicks them under her chaise. Sylvester then resumes his chase ... but is unable to grab his meal before the bird finds the glasses and puts them back on his master.
- The classic example is Velma from Scooby Doo, who was always losing her glasses in the original series.
- Nicole Jaffe, the actress who originally played Velma admitted in an interview that at the initial taping of the show, she accidentally dropped her glasses. She then exclaimed something the writers adapted into her catchphrase, "My glasses! I can't see without them!"
- Parodied by Johnny Bravo in the Scooby Doo Crossover episode "Bravo-Dooby-Doo"—he and Velma lose their glasses (shades in his case) at the same time.
Velma: My glasses! I can't see without my glasses!
- They then grab each others' glasses and:
Velma: Jinkies! Everything's Dark! I'VE GONE BLIND!!
- Leading to Johnny switching their glasses back and replying:
Johnny Bravo: I'm only going to say this once...Don't. Touch. The Glasses!
- The Simpsons
- Milhouse often loses his glasses, and he is practically blind without them. As well as this, both his parents have similar glasses.
- Professor Frink sometimes loses his glasses too.
- Averted in an episode where Troy McClure is pulled over for reckless driving. His license requires him to wear glasses, but they make him look like a nerd, so we usually never see him with any.
- Steve Smith from American Dad, who's supposed to be far-sighted, is rarely seen without them, but when he breaks them (for instance in fights or when he's been attacked by animals) he usually gets home OK.
- Miss Whoops on The Mr. Men Show.
- The nearsighted Mr. Magoo is completely Blind Without'Em, and never wears 'em. This makes him Captain Oblivious and Hilarity Ensues.
- Duckman. His eyes don't shrink to points when he removes his glasses -- he doesn't have eyes without them. Or eyelids and eyebrows, for that matter. Not only that, but they sit far down his face even normally, so you can see the blank stretch of forehead where they should be even when he's got the glasses on. Furthermore, as Cornfed suddenly notices and remarks on, Duckman doesn't even have ears to keep his glasses in place. A particularly bizarre sight gag shows Duckman face down on the floor, his glasses knocked off, and his eyes within his glasses blink and shed tears. In one episode he actually removes the glasses/eyes, and turns them around to take a look at himself.
- In My Gym Partners a Monkey, Adam deliberately takes off the Spiffy's (nerd) glasses to avoid detection of a killer mob, as they were killing off the smart people (literally) and were under the assumption that anyone with glasses is smart (despite the fact that there at least two people in the killer mob who wore glasses). In their blind state, the Spiffy's were wandering around helplessly, appearing to be so dumb they can't tell where they're going (well, it worked).
- Porcupine in My Friends Tigger & Pooh, who can't tell the difference between Darby and her dog, Buster, without her glasses.
- In the Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines episode "Fly-By-Knights", Dastardly thinks the Vulture Squadron needs glasses, so he kits them out with them. The resulting effects: Zilly sees everything upside down, Klunk sees everything in fours, and Muttley sees everything as far away. The General's hand reaches out from Dastardly's phone and plops a pair of glasses on him, with the result of seeing everything way close up.
- Gus in Recess is apparently blind without his glasses. He even says "I'm blind!" when he accidentally steps on and breaks them. What's ridiculous is that when he finds that he's considered cool without them, he ditches them, sacrificing sight for popularity. The viewer is given a scene or two from his point of view: the images are blurred, but not even close to the severity of the blur of people with glasses in real life. It's only a slight blur, and the "lines" between objects are still distinguishable.
- Chow in Jackie Chan Adventures can't see without his Cool Shades, as we learned when he tried using the Pig Talisman.
Viper: (dodging every blast) I'm going out on a limb here, but it looks like you need contacts.
- Of course, it's been established that it's very hard to aim the eye beams of the Pig Talisman because, you know, you've got red-hot beams of heat shooting out of your eyes. Coupled with Chow's need of glasses, he was never going to be a perfect shot. Whenever his glasses are taken off any other time, he seems perfectly fine without them.
- Deedee. Her eyes are shown as dots without the glasses, e.g. in the "Mirror Land" episode.
- Chuckie too an entire episode revolves around this, when the others put on his glasses they see the same stuff he does without them.
- When Didi loses her glasses, she walks into closets. When Chuckie loses his glasses, his world becomes an LSD trip.
- King of the Hill
- Subverted when Hank's glasses are broken on a motorcycle trip and Peggy has to drive him home on the bike. While we get to see the world through his blurred vision, it's not bad enough to qualify as "blind" except in the not-legal-to-operate-motor-vehicles sense.
- Played straight in the episode "A Firefighting We Will Go." After Bill breaks Hank's glasses, Hank runs face-first into a wall while chasing him up a flight of stairs.
- Mr. Herriman on Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends is blind without his monocle.
- Mr. Griff on Stanley states that he can't see a thing without his glasses.
- On Doc McStuffins, the character Hallie the hippo makes this statement, as the titular Doc takes away her glasses supposedly to give her an eye exam, but actually to hide the fact that she's in a room that's decorated for a surprise birthday party (but isn't quite ready yet). We are, however, given a point-of-view shot of what Hallie sees and it's clear that things are just blurry, like someone with nearsightedness. She probably could have figured it out if Doc and the others hadn't continued to keep her distracted.
- Everyone's individual prescription differs, but one constant is people with decent vision's impression of Blind Without'Em. For most people, having your glasses off is just blurry, but not necessarily to the point they can't operate in general. While walking down the street a person without their glasses may not be able to read "stop" on a stop sign, but they can see the big, blurry red thing and can tell they're at an intersection, so the fact that it's a stop sign isn't much of a logical leap. The blurriness is just like an out-of-focus camera, only it's stereoscopic—some blurs are closer than others.
- Nearsightedness (Myopia) is when you can focus on things that are close to you, but the farther away things are the more blurry they become. This is the most common reason for vision correction.
- Farsightedness (Hyperopia) is when you can't focus on things right in front of your face—but your distance vision is clear. This is more rare than nearsightedness.
- Astigmatism is a defect in the shape of the lens or cornea that prevents a sharp image from being projected on the retina, making vision blurry regardless of distance.
- That said, while you may be able to function to some extent without your glasses, actually finding the dropped glasses can very easily invoke this trope. They're small, often dark-coloured, and blend in with so many things.
- One of the tests required to obtain a driver's license in practically every jurisdiction is a vision test. If you require the use of glasses or contact lenses to pass the test, your license will make note of that fact (usually with a code appended to your license number, or a printed endorsement on the license stating "Corrective Lens" or something similar). For a driver with vision restrictions, driving without correction constitutes a moving violation and will get you ticketed.
- Shows up every season of Canada's Worst Driver; it's mentioned only when a driver fails to fullfil this.
- Christopher Lambert has Myopia and is almost entirely blind without his Glasses. Since he cannot wear contacts, he is often forced to act while unable to see anything clearly (Making the fact that almost all his roles require fighting or some form of strenuous physical activity impressive). This is also the reason behind his trademark intense gaze as he is really just trying to see whats in front of him.
- Possibly led to the death of FBI Agent Ben Grogan in the infamous 1986 FBI Miami shootout. Gorgon was the best trained and experienced with firearms among present officers, but lost his glasses in a crash at the start of the confrontation. How bad Grogan's vision actually was is disputed, one of the few points of debate in the well documented case, but losing his glasses didn't help.