"My glasses! I can't see without my glasses!"
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
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
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.