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Dropped Glasses
"My glasses! I can't see without my glasses!"
Velma, Scooby-Doo

On the bright side, they're not contacts.

Any character who wears glasses and is Blind Without 'Em — which is to say, almost every character who wears glasses on TV — lives in fear of dropping or losing their spectacles, because invariably some helpful but elephantine bystander will promptly step forward to help look for them — and immediately crush them underfoot. The sight-impaired character must then often spend at least part of an episode temporarily blind.

Sometimes this is done deliberately, with the Jerk Jock or other bully of the week knocking the glasses off and crushing them underfoot in a classic Kick the Dog moment.

Truth in Television: Losing your spectacles can be a severe problem, as anyone who has really bad eyesight will testify. Although it's reasonably unlikely for the lens of glasses to be crushed when stepped on: in most cases, the frame will warp and a lens might pop out, but both are easily fixable on the spot. Despite the fact that they are still called GLASSes, these days lenses are made from lighter and less likely to break plastics.

Surprisingly, losing the single screw holding a lens in place is rarely done on TV. Which, in real life, are far far harder to find.

Not to be confused with A Glass in the Hand.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Used to good effect in Love Hina, with fumbling for his glasses getting Keitaro another Megaton Punch in one episode, and in another leading to both he and Naru (both Blind Without 'Em) having a great time on a date, without realizing they were with each other.
  • Played mostly straight in One Piece: When Tashigi drops her glasses, she scrambles to find them. Zoro actually does safely retrieve them for her — but then crushes them in shock upon seeing her face.
    • Anime-only though. In the manga, he apparently just hands them to her.
  • Nowy's Dropped Glasses moments become an Overly Long Gag in Glass Fleet, which eventually leads to a punch line when, to cheer up Eimer, he intentionally knocks his glasses off his own head and then goes through the usual production of searching for them.
  • Setsuna effectively wins her first fight with Tsukuyomi in Mahou Sensei Negima! by knocking her glasses off. She's helpless without her glasses.
  • In Saiyuki Gaiden, this happening at a most inconvenient time leads to Tenpou being killed in a fight he was actually winning prior to that point.
  • In D.N.Angel, Satoshi has moments where he drops his glasses...however, he admits he doesn't actually need them to see. It appears they're actually what's keeping Krad under control, so while he can see fine without them this is still a problem.
  • Averted in Suzumiya Haruhi. Yuki Nagato does not need new glasses after they break, and decides to simply go without them.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Weevil Underwood/Insector Haga pretends to do this during the Doma Arc when he is found crawling on the floor, looking for rare cards. He just threw them a few inches away and this was pointed out fairly quickly, but the act of desperation still did the job as it warded off further questioning on the matter.
  • Kozue of Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin constantly drops her glasses and has difficulty finding them again. To the point that a two-parter about her being trapped in the afterlife after a near-death experience happened because her soul had dropped its glasses... only to find them perched on top of her head.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men: Every so often, Cyclops' glasses or visor will be knocked off or removed. This enforces Blind Without 'Em on him, because without the glasses, Cyclops unleashes uncontrollable power beams whenever he opens his eyes.

    Film 
  • Dennis Nedry from the film version of Jurassic Park loses his glasses, which not only renders him vulnerable to the blinding poison of the Dilophosaurs, but also gives one of them time to hide in his car.
  • The movie A Christmas Story has Ralphie accidentally stepping on his own glasses after accidentally shooting them off with his BB gun. He manages to fake his way out of trouble by blaming the accident on an errant icicle.
  • A Running Gag in Take The Money And Run has characters removing Woody Allen's glasses and stomping on them.
    • And at one point he does this to himself to beat someone to the punch.
  • Burns in The Mummy. This is almost immediately rendered moot when Imhotep takes his eyes as part of the curse.
    • You'd think he'd want to nick a pair that work properly.
      • Fridge Brilliance: Even Mr Magoo's eyes would be having the vision of the hitmen from Wanted compared to having no eyes at all for thousands of years.
  • The Goonies: Stef drops her glasses in a dark tunnel and Mikey accidentally steps on them. It doesn't seem to affect her that much, but she spends the remainder of the film squinting.
  • In The Bank Dick, W.C. Fields' character is trying to keep the bank examiner from looking over the books, knocking off his glasses and 'accidentally' stepping on them. He's dismayed to see the examiner keeps about a dozen spares in his briefcase.
  • Scooby Doo Monsters Unleashed (Velma even lampshades this, saying "I really should consider contacts.")
  • Olivia in Final Destination 5 loses her glasses in the opening bridge collapse, rendering her helpless as she falls into the water below and is crushed by a falling car.
  • Happens in My Girl, when Thomas dies as he's stung to death by a bee swarm.
  • This happens to Dean Higgins for a few seconds in The Strongest Man in the World, when attempting to clean his glasses after they got fogged up after he eats some of the strength formula-laced cereal.
  • Brenda from Adventures in Babysitting sees badly enough without her glasses that she mistakes a giant rat for a cat.

    Literature 
  • In The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov, a dropped pair of glasses is critical to the case.
  • When the plane wrecks early in Dr Franklins Island, Semi loses her glasses and contacts and has to live in a blur, constantly afraid that she's being a drain on her companions, and needing things at a distance described to her. It reaches the verge of making her an Unreliable Narrator. When transformed, her eyesight improves.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Twilight Zone: A man can find no time to read in peace, but when an apocalyptic nuclear war leaves him the last person alive in a world full of books, he drops and breaks his glasses.
    "That's not fair. That's not fair at all. There was time now..."
    • Brilliantly parodied in The Scary Door. He not only loses his glasses, but also his eyes, his hands and lastly his tongue and head, thanks to radiation.
  • When Daniel from Stargate SG-1 is captured/kidnapped, he always wakes up without his glasses. In the later seasons, the writers apparently forgot that his sight was cured way back in the beginning of season 2.
    • That was temporary, a side-effect of using the Sarcophagus.
    • Although you would have thought ascension would have fixed it, or he would have contacts, or even a spare pair...
    • He does have contacts. In the episode he infiltrates the Goauld Peace Conference, he's seen putting them in. That said, it's never actually said that he's Blind Without 'Em. In all likelihood, he has minor vision issues. The closest we get is after he de-ascended and put his old pair back on for the first time.
    Daniel: "Wow. That's... different."
    • It's also implied that Carter is Blind Without 'Em but this trope is averted as she wears contacts.
  • Power Rangers Zeo once played this trope strictly by the book: Billy, whose glasses went away during the slight toning-down of his extreme stereotypical geek persona, has his contacts knocked out by visiting alien Cestro, who slapped him on the back a bit too hard. The robot Alpha promptly stepped on them while attempting to help search, and two worlds were put in jeopardy as essentially blind Billy couldn't finish the weapon he was working on.
  • This happened a few times with Geordi LaForge of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but not to excessive frequency. His VISOR is apparently too durable to be subject to breaking, but Phlebotinum Breakdown has led to it becoming non-functional for an episode.
  • Subverted in the final episode of Tenko where Blind Without 'Em Bea loses hers and is still able to identify The Mole based purely on tone of voice!
  • Col. Potter and Radar of Mash drop their glasses at the same time. They pick them up right away, but when they put them on they immediately realize each picked up the other's glasses.
    • In an episode in an earlier season, a comedically similar incident occurs not involving glasses. Col. Blake drops a temporary filling, which Major Burns then steps on and breaks, leaving the Colonel in agony every time he opens his mouth.
  • A sketch in 80s British comedy show Not The Nine O Clock News involves an intimidating bully who removes a studious-looking man's glasses and crushes them underfoot. "You shouldn't have done that", the bookworm tells him. "Oh yeah? Why not?" "Because you're not wearing any shoes." At which point a pained expression crosses the bully's face and he hobbles away, humiliated.
  • On I Love Lucy, when Lucy & Ricky go to Hollywood, Lucy is boasting about all the movie stars she's meeting. When a friend from New York stops by, Lucy and Ethel hide her glasses so Lucy can impersonate (badly) a whole string of famous actors. The payoff comes when Lucy is disguised as Harpo Marx ... just as the real Harpo shows up, resulting in a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Leonard, Raj, and Howard hide out at a Planet of the Apes marathon, leaving Penny to deal with a sick Sheldon. Leonard drops his glasses. Hilarity ensues.

    Video Games 
  • Inverted and subverted in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Your own character (Mario) accidentally crushes someone else's contact lens, but she can still see. She demands for you to get her a new one before you can continue saving the world.
  • Part of a puzzle in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. Wally the cartographer is blind without his monocle, which you need to "borrow" to progress in the game. Until you bring him a replacement, Wally is seen frantically and blindly searching for the missing lens.
  • A pair of crushed glasses found at the scene of a murder become important evidence in the first case of the second Ace Attorney game. And in another game in the series Godot is rendered temporarily blind when he loses his eye mask.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • Velma from the Scooby-Doo cartoons was always losing hers at the worst possible times.
    • Which was subsequently parodied in Johnny Bravo, in the Cross Over episode "Bravo-Dooby-Doo, when Velma dropped her glasses and Johnny dropped his Cool Shades:
      Velma: My glasses! I can't see without my glasses!
      Johnny: My glasses! I can't be seen without my glasses!
    • An episode of Mystery Incorporated subverts this by having Velma drop them, only for her to put them back on a few seconds later because they were within reach. And then she sees Nibiru...
  • Happens regularly to Gus in Recess
  • The Mr. Men Show: in one part of the episode "Eyeglasses," Miss Whoops, as a stewardess, accidentally loses her glasses when a pile of carry-on luggage falls on her. She attempts to carry on with her duties regardless, but since she's Blind Without 'Em, the usual ensues. At one point, Mr. Nervous gives her his own glasses, telling her she needs them more than he does. This doesn't help any, since they have different prescriptions.
  • In a variant, Mighty Ray of Hero 108 occasionally drops his removable eyeballs.
  • This was Mr. Magoo's main gimmick.
  • Arthur once spent most of an episode looking for his glasses, not realizing that they were pushed up on his head.
  • Milhouse mistook a crab for a dog when he lost his glasses in The Simpsons episode "Summer of 4 foot 2".
    • Elvis Costello panicked when his glasses came off in the episode "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation", not because of impaired vision, but because of...
    Costello: My image!
    • Moleman once drove a large truck which was towing a house. Then a bump knocked off his glasses.
    Moleman: Oh dear...*BUMP*...now you've done it...*searches floor for glasses, truck goes off cliff and house explodes*
  • Eliza drops her glasses pretty often on The Wild Thornberrys. It becomes pretty bad when she's out exploring. Naturally her eyesight is pretty bad.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • That said, while you may be able to function to some extent without your glasses, actually finding the dropped glasses can be a real pain - your brain is constantly suggesting you put your glasses on to expedite the search. Glasses are thin, often dark-coloured, and blend in with so many things. If they fall off your nightstand, they tend to fall in the narrow spot between the bed and the stand, making you fumble around for them in the dark (or dim light), while half awake.
    • Many people who have very bad eyesight try to keep a spare or old pair in a drawer where they can be easily found to expedite finding their lost current pair of glasses.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Keep your old pair of glasses somewhere you can always find them so when you do drop your glasses when you're at home, you can see clearly to find them. There is nothing more embarrassing/annoying than fumbling about and having your brain screaming "You'd find them better if you had your glasses on" at you.

Cant See A Damn ThingVision Tropes    
Triangle ShadesGlasses TropesEye Glasses
Blind Without 'EmComedy TropesBlood on the Debate Floor

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