Follow TV Tropes


Smart People Wear Glasses

Go To
Homestar, who tries his hardest to subvert this trope.

Customer: I like these glasses. They make me look more smarter!
Customer's boyfriend: Yeah, well looks can be deceiving.

In the media, smart characters have a tendency to wear glasses. The association with the nerd archetype helps in modern works, although this trope is possibly older than that. Sometimes believed to be Truth in Television, as it is a common myth that since smarter people typically do more reading, they place more strain on their eyes and are more likely to develop myopia (nearsightedness). It should be noted that whilst reading in dim light can cause temporary eye-strain, there is no clinical evidence that this has any long-term effects. Some studies have gone so far as to claim that myopia itself is linked with open-mindedness and intelligence. On the other hand, glasses are expensive, so people wearing them will not risk them in sports or fights (but some may use contact lenses instead). The trope's origins are more likely connected with the financial aspect, as both a high-quality education and seeing a doctor to get prescription lenses have always been expensive, so if a rich family can invest in one they'll probably invest in the other, too. Going even further back, glass of a high enough quality to be used as corrective lenses was difficult and expensive to make in many parts of the world, increasing the difficulty of obtaining glasses and monocles even further, and limiting it once again to the rich and academically inclined.

In anime, there is a commonly-used variant of this called Glasses-Kun: A Lancer who has black hair, is taller than The Protagonist, is always smarter than the main character, is relatively quiet, somewhat broody, and wears glasses.

In Real Life, there are lots of different types of people who wear glasses, but in fiction they are more rare. This is due to problems such as glare from the cameras in live-action media (cosplayers often pop the lenses out to avoid this in photos), difficulty reading facial expressions, etc., and is the reason why when such characters are present it seems more significant. As proven by the examples, it is also why this trope occurs more so in live action, animated programming, and other pictorial media and less so in literature; it's a visual cue to the audience that the character is intelligent, yet is used sparingly because of the aforementioned difficulties involved.

This trope is an inherent part of The Glasses Gotta Go and Beautiful All Along, and often nerds. Supertrope to Nerd Glasses. The invoked form of this is Purely Aesthetic Glasses. Compare Glasses of Aging and The Short Guy with Glasses.


Please do not list aversions, seeing as then it would be just a list of characters with glasses.

    open/close all folders 
  • Explicit use of the trope as symbolism: Ads for the mental-exercise website Lumosity show people giving testimonials while various background and foreground animations appear. In one of them, glasses are drawn on the speaker's face as she says the site helps her stay sharp.
  • The nerdy I.Q. from The Burger King Kids Club Gang wears red glasses.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Assassination Classroom, Koutarou Takebayashi and Manami Okuda are the only Class 3-E students who wear glasses, and both of them are among the smarter students in the class. In the epilogue, they combine their knowledge to develop universal artificial blood.
  • In Asteroid in Love, Mikage invoked it during her School Festival exhibit the year before Mira and Ao entered high school. She doesn't need any correction, but she put on glasses to look more professional and academic.
  • Firo invokes this trope in Baccano!. After taking the position of the Martillo Family bookkeeper, he immediately takes to wearing a pair of Purely Aesthetic Glasses. Why? Because he's doing a smart-person job now, so he has to look smart (and because he wants to look slightly less like the perpetual teenager he is).
  • Ishida Uryuu from Bleach wears glasses and is number one in his class. He also perfectly fits the description for a "glasses-kun". He takes after his father, Ryuuken, who also wears glasses and ends up being revealed to be so intelligent that he can keep up with Urahara. To put that into perspective, even the hyperintelligent Big Bad Aizen admits that Urahara is the most intelligent shinigami alive. Urahara first realised Ryuuken was capable of keeping up with him when Ryuuken was only a teenager, and was stunned.
  • Played with in Case Closed. Shinichi is already very smart without glasses, but as Conan, he wears glasses so he won't be recognized as a younger version of Shinichi.
  • Chainsaw Man: This trope is parodied in episode 10. Denji and Power, who are decidedly not the sharpest tools in the shed (and don't wear or need glasses), decide that they'll "use their brains" and try to beat seasoned devil hunter Kishibe through smarts. When he comes to their house the following day, both Denji and Power are wearing glasses.
  • Sion Ogura is the only glasses-wearing character in the cast of The Demon Girl Next Door and also the smartest of the bunch.
  • Digimon Adventure 02: Played with Osamu/Sammy Ichijouji. He's a child prodigy and an Academic Athlete. He wears glasses, but this is more to give him a resemblance to the Digimon Kaiser/Emperor, who subconsciously modeled his own appearance after his deceased older brother Osamu.
  • Dragon Ball: To showcase that Gohan has fulfilled his dream of becoming a scholar, he's wearing glasses after the Boo Saga. For almost three decades, nothing really indicated that he has actual vision problems and he's fine fighting with or without them. In Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, it is finally revealed that Gohan is Blind Without 'Em when he does not transform, but that didn't bother him during the Tournament of Power in either version. In Super Hero, Gohan is shown to be a workaholic researcher, and him wearing glasses in addition to his old Piccolo-style dōgi symbolizes his two-faced character: being a nerdy scholar and a fighter.
  • Food Wars!: Downplayed with Zenji Marui. While he is very smart and studious, he's nowhere near being the smartest character in the series. There are some fields that are just beyond his knowledge. Alice's molecular gastronomy techniques, for instance, is not something he can explain to his peers when they are watching her match against Soma during the Autumn Election quarterfinals, prompting Yuuki to ask if his glasses are just for show. Later we're shown that the entire Miyazato Seminar, the research club he is a part of, all wear glasses.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Maes Hughes works in the military's intelligence division for a reason.
    • Sheska, the bookworm who memorizes every single thing she reads — to the point where she can rewrite entire alchemy journals from memory.
    • Scar's brother is a brilliant self-taught alchemist who happens to be the very first person to realize that Amestris is actually a nation-sized transmutation circle. He even devises the countermeasure to Father's anti-alchemy buffer.
  • Both Franz Heinel and Shinsuke Maki in Future GPX Cyber Formula. One is a Gadgeteer Genius with cars and a computer expert, and the other is a computer machinist who makes computer games in his free time.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers, America's glasses are a hint that he isn't as stupid as he seems. One of his hobbies turns out to be archaeology.
  • Highschool of the Dead doesn't reveal that Saya wears glasses until the second chapter, when she finally removes her contact lenses. However, the manga wastes no time in establishing her as the smartest girl at Fujimi High by illustrating her analytical and decision making abilities right from the start. In addition, she not only serves as the brain of Takashi's group, she's usually the one to provide exposition as well.
  • K:
    • Yhe Blue Clan, Scepter 4, has three glasses guys, all of whom are the smart ones:
      • One is an expert hacker.
      • Another, the above character's subordinate, assists him in computer things and is a nerd in his own right.
      • The Blue King himself i something of a super-genius.
    • The Smart Guy of Red Clan wears sunglasses — smart enough to wear glasses, but cool enough to fit with HOMRA.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Played with Osaragi. Despite wearing Opaque Nerd Glasses and sometimes showing that she can be very observant when it comes to other people, she's actually among the bottom quarter of the freshman class in terms of grades. Then again, Hayasaka's Flash Forward has Ishigami mention that she's attending grad school, so her grades must have improved later on.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT:
    • Stern Starks, who is this Alternate Universe's version of the Material of Wisdom, is depicted as regularly wearing glasses in the real world.
    • In the direct Sequel Series INNOCENTS, Fate is now shown wearing glasses as well, most likely to emphasise the slight Time Skip between series.
  • Hazuki Fujiwara from Ojamajo Doremi, the resident smart girl in The Team, wears glasses and consistently makes very high grades in school. She is able to use those smarts to help solve issues in the series as well.
  • Ouran High School Host Club:
    • Kyoya is the one that keeps the club afloat and one of the highest-ranking students in the school. Naturally, he wears glasses.
    • Haruhi is also explicitly described as exceptionally intelligent. She initially wears glasses in the series until Tamaki insists on replacing them with contact lenses.
  • Pani Poni Dash!:
    • Discussed in one episode. Class rep Ichijou notices that Miyako is wearing glasses while they study (up until then she mostly wore contacts). When the group fails to get much studying done during their sleepover, Ichijou says that she has it covered — by bringing enough glasses for everyone.
    • Played straight in Rei and Miyako, who always wears glasses and sometimes wears glasses, respectively, and both have high grades.
  • The Place Promised in Our Early Days: Takuya is so smart that he's doing cutting-edge study into alternate universes at a university despite only being a high schooler, contrasting the glasses-free and spacey Hiroki.
  • Pretty Cure:
  • Rune Soldier Louie: Ila is only a novice mage from the Magician's Academy, but what she lacks in prowess is made up for by her extensive knowledge of ancient tomes and magical artifacts. Which often helps Louie and his travelling party on their adventures.
  • Sailor Moon: Ami Mizuno is The Smart Girl of the Sailor Scouts and wears glasses occasionally, but only for reading.
  • Parodied during a sketch in Seitokai Yakuindomo when Aria comes to the student council room wearing glasses without lenses for fashion purposes. Tsuda comments that they make her look smart (she's already the second-highest-ranked student in the school), but — this being Seitokai Yakuindomo — she turns it into a sex pun.
  • Sekirei: Playful Hacker Matsu is the only member in Minato's harem who wears glasses, and she's hands down the brains of the group, always using her extensive computer expertise and Technopathy to help as Mission Control.
  • Invoked in a chapter of Squid Girl, where the titular protagonist becomes convinced that wearing glasses automatically makes one smarter, so she starts wearing a pair of Purely Aesthetic Glasses. It doesn't work that way, but it does make her look cuter than usual.
  • Tokyo Ghoul plays it completely straight on numerous occasions.
    • Nishiki Nishio wears glasses, and is described by others as being a "prodigy". He's Good with Numbers and excels in a prestigious Pharmacy program at Kamii University, even though his childhood involved very little formal education.
    • The legendary Investigator Kishou Arima wears glasses, and the prequel about his teen years shows him to have been a brilliant student that memorized text books and to be able to deduce things from small details.
    • Novelist Sen Takatsuki turns out to wear glasses when she's not making public appearances and is famous for having published her first, bestselling work as a teenager.
    • In the sequel, Badass Bookworm Haise Sasaki has typically nerdy reading glasses.
    • Invoked in the sequel, with Ginshi Shirazu borrowing Sasaki's glasses in order to try to look more intelligent.
  • The glasses-wearing Eddie from Yo-kai Watch is the smartest and most tech-savvy major character in the anime.
  • Discussed in episode 6 of You and Me. Chizuru buys novelty glasses and says that they make him feel smarter when he puts them on. One of the twins says, "Illness starts in the mind and studying starts with glasses."
  • Kousei from Your Lie in April is not particularly book smart, however he is a Child Prodigy at the piano. Other similarly gifted musicians lack glasses, though Kousei was well-known for his abilities at a young age.
  • Yubisaki Milk Tea:
    • Minamo Kurokawa and Chika Kodama, who are best and second best of their year, both wear glasses.
    • Later Hidari Morii, whom Minamo teaches, as well.
  • Defied in Yuyushiki, where the local Ditzy Genius Yuzuko says that she doesn't usually wear glasses since she does not want to appear too smart.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • As a psychologist/psychiatrist, Harley Quinn is shown with glasses. When she goes off the deep end and becomes a supervillain, she ditches the glasses. She's never seen with glasses outside of flashbacks, even in civilian clothes.
  • In Jimmy Tornado, Lupé is a brainy scientist who wears glasses.
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Milly Hayday fills the role of The Smart Guy for the Holiday Girls and is the only member to wear glasses.
  • In all incarnations of Motu Patlu, Patlu wears Purely Aesthetic Glasses and is much more intelligent and reasonable than his brother/friend Motu, for whom he has to brainstorm ideas when they are in a pickle since Motu literally cannot think on an empty stomach.
  • Klik and Teela from Pocket God are Gadgeteer Geniuses and are the only pygmies that wear glasses. Klik usually keeps on the top of his head, however.
  • [[Robin: Sebastian Ives wears glasses and consistently scores better than anyone else on tests. Tim also notes that he's annoyingly good at spotting and getting rid of a tail despite his vision problems.
  • Brainy Smurf from The Smurfs. (Although he's more of a Know-Nothing Know-It-All than truly smart.)
  • Spider-Man:
    • While not as smart as Reed Richards or Charles Xavier, Spider-Man has above-average intelligence and originally wore glasses in his civilian identity as Peter Parker, before they were broken in an altercation with Flash Thompson. Depending on the Writer and the continuity, he either never truly needed them to begin with (the glasses having a weak prescription that he wore due to his aunt's concern over eyestrain due to him reading so much) or his vision was corrected by the spider-bite that gave him his powers.
    • Lampshaded in an issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Black Cat mugs a female scientist for her clothes, and states that none of the other researchers will suspect her as an impostor since she's wearing a pair of glasses.
  • Discussed in Superman: Secret Origin. When attempting to sell his old science books, Lex Luthor targets Clark Kent, who has started wearing glasses, stating that glasses mean one of two things: genetic inferiority, or he reads a lot. Somewhat subverted since in actuality, Clark's heat vision has just developed, and the lenses from the glasses shield it in case it's accidentally triggered.
  • Suske en Wiske: Professor Barabas wears two large glasses without a bridge to support them on his nose.
  • Tom Poes: Professor Zbygniew Prlwytzkofsky and Professor Sickbock both wear glasses.
  • Tytus, Romek i A'tomek:
    • A'Tomek, a nerdy, math-minded kid.
    • Professor T. Alent, a genius inventor.
    • "Papcio Chmiel", the Author Avatar.
  • The Beast from X-Men (who's a Genius Bruiser) wears glasses when he reads. (And it looks kind of funny, considering that he's a muscular guy covered with blue fur.)

    Comic Strips 
  • Crabgrass: In a January 2023 story arc, when Kevin is about to take a science quiz that he absolutely must ace or he will be held back a year, he tries to invoke the trope by putting on a pair of oversized glasses, and asks Miles how smart they make him look. Miles is clearly not impressed by the plan. Kevin even lampshades the trope. Kevin nevertheless sticks to his strategy, and when he gets an A+ on the test, it only increases his believe that the glasses make him smart. He also starts acting more like a stereotypical smart person, like resorting to Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness in his conversations.
  • The Far Side: Two cavemen (grimacing and red-faced) are cooking meat over a holding it in their bare hands. A third is looking over to a fourth caveman sitting nearby at his own fire, calmly cooking his lunch on a stick ("Hey! Look what Zog do!"). Zog, although dressed in the same sort of caveman outfit as everyone else, is also wearing eyeglasses.

    Fan Works 
  • All Mixed Up! takes Oprah's appearance trait of having Purely Aesthetic Glasses at the end of the Odd Squad episode "How to Interrogate a Unicorn" and makes it so the glasses are actual reading glasses that she needs to wear in order to be able to read books and other such reading materials properly.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Although Japan only wears hexagonal glasses with his Teru Mikami cosplay, he still is a very smart person.
  • This comes up in Girlfrenemies when commenting on why Apple refuses to wear glasses. Raven tells her that Rosabella wears glasses, to which Apple replies that Rosabella (the next Beauty of Beauty and the Beast) is supposed to be bookish so she can get away with it.
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles Mini-sodes:
    • Parodied. In one strip, Naruto is portrayed as being intellectual while wearing glasses. Then Hinata removes his glasses from his face and he goes back to being his normal, significantly less intellectual self, much to her joy.
    • In a story arc, Naruto accidentally creates clones with different personalities. One of them is the smart one and appropriately wears glasses.
  • Wally West, resident science nerd of the new Titans in the Our Own League fan novels, wears thick glasses his comic counterpart lacks. The goggles he wears as part of his Kid Flash uniform are also fitted with corrective lenses.
  • Invoked in Psalm of the Lark. At a hearing to get out of Arkham Asylum, Harley intentionally forgoes her contacts in favor of glasses so that she'll look more smart.
  • Welcome to Night Vale fanfiction and fanart tend to portray Carlos the scientist as wearing glasses.

  • Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man. Unlike in Raimi's movies, this version of Peter doesn't get his myopia cured by Spider-powers, so he keeps using glasses and contacts even after he's become Spider-Man. He's also able to figure out how to construct a costume and create functional webbing based on research and a bit of elbow grease.
  • Milo Thatch from Atlantis: The Lost Empire. He's the only Disney leading man (or woman) wearing glasses, and he has a double doctorate in Linguistic Theory and Dead Languages, as well as minor degrees in Chemistry, Literature, Art History, Sociology, and Anthropology, and that's just his formal education.
  • Invoked by Professor Sutwell in Beach Party. When he first became a professor, he was so much younger than the others that he got laughed at by his students. On the advice of another professor, he grew a beard and started wearing glasses, which made his students take him more seriously.
  • In Doctor at Large, Joy wears fake glasses to her medical final, to try and make the examiners look past the fact that she is a woman and see how qualified she truly is.
  • In Ghostbusters (1984), Egon Spengler, The Smart Guy, Gadgeteer Genius, and Mr. Exposition of the group, is the only Ghostbuster who wears glasses.
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch: The Brain Gremlin immediately puts on glasses when he establishes that he's smart.
  • Referenced in Hidden Figures: When Jim Johnson expresses surprise that women work at NASA, Katherine Goble (who does wear glasses) goes on a rant, culminating in this memorable put-down:
    Katherine: So yes, they let women "do some things" at NASA, and it's not because we wear skirts, it's because we wear glasses!
  • Invoked by Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, when she dons glasses to appear smarter and more professional in order to help Paulette get her dog back.
  • The McKenzie Break: The only bespectacled character in the movie is Unger, a trained engineer who acts as the Tunnel King.
  • Napoleon Dynamite and his brother Kip both wear glasses but are more stereotypically nerdy than intelligent.
  • Noge, the hero of No Regrets for Our Youth, is a studious and serious young man who joins the anti-war underground Japanese left after graduating from college. Naturally, he wears glasses. Significantly, they are knocked off his face when he's arrested by State Sec.
  • Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries. It's part of her early Geek Physiques look, though it turns out that she was Beautiful All Along. (Of course, it's freaking Anne Hathaway.)
  • You can tell that David Talbot in Queen of the Damned is intellectual, although not clever enough to accomplish much with his knowledge of vampires, by the fact that his office looks like a library and he wears glasses, which he draws attention to by taking them off and putting them back on a lot.
  • Invoked in the 2007 St Trinians, when the PR guru advises the posh totties to wear fake specs as part of their image to make themselves look smarter.
  • In Sucker Punch, both Dr. Gorski the psychologist has glasses, though he mostly only wears them when he need to take a closer look at something (they might merely be reading glasses, rather than corrective lenses).
  • In Turning Red, Mei wears glasses, is a huge nerd, gets straight As, and is quite smart.

  • While the Oxford Clerk from The Canterbury Tales lacks the requisite glasses from this trope (they were just starting to come into fashion during the time period), he is specifically noted as having poor eyesight from staying up and reading books by candlelight.
  • Tris from Circle of Magic is the most academic of the main characters, and the only one to wear glasses.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Alex Aruda has a pair of typical Nerd Glasses.
  • Ponder Stibbons in the Discworld series is a brilliant natural philosopher and theoretical wizard who wears thick, round glasses. In The Last Continent, when he's given a chance to help design life on the Disc, he plans for this trope to trump Wizard Beard (which he can't grow) as a symbol of wisdom.
  • Intentionally invoked in Divergent by the intellectual Erudite. Purely Aesthetic Glasses are part of their "uniform".
  • Don't Call Me Ishmael! has Scobie and Prudence, the resident Teen Geniuses, who both wear glasses. Scobie is brilliant at debating and very good at all his school subjects. Prue plays three instruments and is usually seen reading doorstoppers.
  • Kosma of The Girl from the Miracles District is a walking encyclopedia and a tech genius, and he wears glasses.
  • Murph, the Teen Genius introduced in the fourth Henry Huggins book, is the only character to be described as wearing glasses.
  • Monster of the Month Club: Owl, the September Selection, is easily the smartest of the monsters (and the only one able to speak English), and the only one to wear normal glasses.
  • George "Sticky" Washington from The Mysterious Benedict Society wears glasses and has a nervous tic of cleaning them. While all the children are some form of smart, be it book smart or street smart, Sticky has been shown to be on a different level from the others due to his Photographic Memory.
  • Roys Bedoys: Downplayed for Maker. He wears glasses, and seems to have a bit more general knowledge and be slightly more academically inclined than his friends.
  • In Skate the Thief, Haman is a wizard in Boss Marshall's crew who handles all of the paperwork and record keeping. He's knowledgeable and diligent, and he's the only character in the book who wears spectacles.
  • Tumpkin in The Sixty-Two Curses of Caliph Arenschadd is bookish, and intelligent enough to solve the problem that has every other character stumped. The power of this trope is strong enough that he wears glasses despite them technically being an anachronism in an "Arabian Nights" Days setting.
  • Uesugi from Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note, whose epithet is "the numbers guy".
  • Worm has the Number Man, The Smart Guy/Evil Genius (depending on how you see him) of Cauldron, who deliberately dresses like a stereotypical accountant down to the glasses, and is so Good with Numbers that it goes right into Badass Bookworm.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Ark (2023): Angus and Alicia, two of the smartest people aboard the ship, both wear spectacles most of the time.
  • Andrea Zukerman, the Go-Getter Girl from Beverly Hills, 90210, is always shown wearing glasses, except in her very rare Beautiful All Along moments.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Leonard and Amy are both highly intelligent people who wears glasses.
    • Bernadette has a Ph.D in microbiology and wears glasses as well.
    • The trope is at one point invoked by Penny, who wears a pair of Purely Aesthetic Glasses that make her look smarter, and sexier, simply by tilting them down and saying, "molecule".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles, while not the resident genius, is the resident Mr. Exposition.
  • Several in the Charite hospital — Professor Virchow, Professor Koch, Doctor Kitasato, and Doctor Ehrlich, all of whom are highly renowned medics and research scientists.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • Garcia, a computer genius, wears glasses.
    • Garcia's boyfriend Kevin Lynch, who is himself an FBI computer technician, does as well.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • Ben Urich, veteran journalist with the New York Bulletin, wears a pair of spectacles that give him this image. After he dies, his editor Mitchell Ellison takes up the mantle.
    • Admittedly he only wears the glasses because he's blind, but Matt Murdock graduated from Columbia Law School summa cum laude.
  • Liberty, Toby, and Claire on Degrassi: The Next Generation. Actually, if a character wears glasses on that show, it's almost a given that they're intelligent.
  • Dollhouse:
    • Lampshaded in the episode "Ghost", when Echo's programmed personality is a hostage negotiation specialist. Topher explains that the glasses aren't to make her look smarter; her implanted personality is short-sighted and her intellect comes from the drive to overcome such imperfections.
    • A weird example as it's something of an informed trait: Scientist Bennett wears, as Topher so gleefully puts it, "glasses. On a chain!" She's apparently far-sighted, because she only wears them when looking at computer screens.
  • Dr Harrison Wells, from The Flash (2014). He works alongside a Gadgeteer Genius, a brilliant geneticist and a smarter-than-average forensic scientist, but there's no denying that even compared to them he's a genius. This is emphasised by the fact that he is the only member of Team Flash to wear glasses. Earth-2 Harrison Wells is similarly indicated to be a genius by his glasses, although he is seen with them off much more frequently because he's been forced into the role of action hero.
  • FBI computer genius Winifred from General Hospital wears nerd glasses, even though the guy she's a Distaff Counterpart of (Spinelli) does not.
  • Lane Kim from Gilmore Girls. Lampshaded by her mother and boyfriend when she get contacts. It's a big moment in the series, when the strict mother and slacker boyfriend finally agree on something — the glasses suit Lane because they show that she's smart.
  • Herman's Head: The personification of Herman's intellect wear glasses, even though Herman himself has perfect vision.
  • Just Cause:
    • Ted Kasselbaum, the resident private investigator and genius computer hacker on the show, wears glasses with blue tinted lenses.
    • Peggy, a paralegal with three graduate degrees, also wears glasses.
  • Alex Dunphy from Modern Family is the only one of the Dunphy kids to wear glasses, and is definitely the brains of the family.
  • Person of Interest: In "Bury the Lede", Reese decides that the best way to protect the Victim of the Week is to take her on a date. Because her profile on the dating website says that she likes the intellectual type, Finch gets Reese the appropriate Nerd Glasses. Reese is understandably reluctant to wear them, but does.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: In the series' original incarnation, Billy (the Blue Ranger) is shown to be a straight A student, and actually suffers a mild Heroic BSoD the one time he scores a "B" on a test. However, he gets rid of the glasses by the end of the second season, switching to contact lenses.
    • Power Rangers: Dino Thunder:
      • Tommy Oliver's doctorate apparently came with smart-guy glasses.
      • In "Leader of the Whack", Conner, normally the unintellectual jock, gets a personality inversion from a strange meteor fragment and starts behaving like a brainiac. In the next scene he is suddenly wearing glasses. Either he normally needs glasses and doesn't wear them (or wears contacts) because glasses would spoil his athlete persona, not that there's any sign of imperfect vision in other episodes; or the glasses are cosmetic and he's wearing them because he's feeling nerdy and therefore needs to wear glasses; or they're reading glasses and he doesn't normally bother reading (he does come in with a pile of books the first time he's seen wearing them).
    • Kendrix in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Cam in Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Noah in Power Rangers Megaforce, and Kendall in Power Rangers Dino Charge also wear glasses and are their respective teams' smartest members.
  • Pretty Little Liars:
    • Mona, evil genius. She loses the glasses when she leaves her dorky past behind her, in order to become the not-so-ditzy Alpha Bitch of Rosewood High.
    • Spencer, the smartest PLL, is also sometimes shown with glasses.
  • George Costanza from Seinfeld claims in the episode "The Cafe" that he is not smart but people think he is. He does not state a reason for this, but it can be assumed that it's because he wears glasses, especially since many real-life viewers of the show made the exact same mistake and simply could not see George as anything other than The Smart Guy of the group purely because he wears glasses, no matter how many times they were told or shown otherwise. It eventually got so bad that the show's creators had to dedicate an entire episode to George proclaiming (and proving) himself "Lord of the Idiots" to finally get it through their heads that glasses do not automatically equal smart person.
  • Stargate SG-1: In an alternate universe episode where she never joined the SGC, we find Sam Carter wearing huge Nerd Glasses. It may be that in the regular timeline she wears contacts. Either way, there's no denying that her (excellent) combat skills are not the only reason she's on the team.
  • Invoked by Dr. Kovich in Star Trek: Discovery when asked why he wears glasses when any issues with vision can easily be corrected in the 32nd century.
    "They make me look smarter. I like them."
  • Van Kooten En De Bie: Their characters O. den Beste, a German language teacher, and Professor Kipping, a Dutch language specialist, both wore glasses.
  • A computer genius from Vengeance Unlimited wears glasses.

  • Lampshaded in Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues. Ivy creates a drone called Ziz that then has to make an inquiry during a school crisis. Ziz reasons that since its creator wears glasses, and its creator is clearly a genius, then that means that all people who wear glasses are intelligent. It's also ironic since, while there are multiple characters who are smart and bespectacled, Ivy herself is only about average intelligence (though her superpower does grant her temporary bursts of genius).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Res Arcana: The male Demonologist wears glasses and is implied to be intelligent — he's portrayed studying a book, and he's capable of growing demons in People Jars.

  • Ghoulia Yelps from Monster High is the smartest student in the school, and, you guessed it, she wears glasses.
  • Double subverted with Apple White from Ever After High. She's very academic and needs prescription glasses for her nearsightedness, but goes without because they clash with her Princess Classic look.

    Video Games 
  • BlazBlue: Characters originating from the science-based Sector Seven, such as Kokonoe, Tager, Litchi, and Roy (before he became Arakune), all wear glasses. The rare physical-based hard-hitters like Azrael or Makoto do not wear glasses and they're usually the less smart (in the book-learning manner) characters from that faction.
  • Lex from Bookworm. He's a regular old bookworm who is able to tell if the paper he eats has letters on it and if said letters form words. As a result, he chooses to only eats words.
  • In Code:Realize, Victor Frankenstein is one of the foremost scientific minds in all of Britain, with a focus on alchemy and chemistry, and is one out of two of the love interests to wear glasses.
  • Danganronpa: Junko Enoshima's "teacher" personality wears glasses. She typically switches into it to give exposition dumps or explain the finer workings of her plans.
  • Death Stranding: All three scientists that are a part of Sam's support team (Deadman, Heartman, and Mama) wear glasses.
  • Dennis, Dr. Mosely, and Daniela, probably the three most intelligent characters in Double Homework, all wear glasses.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Double-subverted with Tepau; while he is a researcher, his glasses are actually Mystic Eye blockers that he would have to wear regardless of his intellect. He's actually pretty surprised when the party tells him that they make him look smart and distinguished.
  • Iggle Pop!: Both Dr. Iggle and his assistant Rizzo are geniuses, and both wear glasses.
  • Monty from Kindergarten is the only student to wear glasses (at least in the first game), and he's a Gadgeteer Genius who can reprogram or disarm bombs, synthesise the drugs Ms. Applegate is addicted to, and read (which is still more impressive than it sounds, given that the characters are kindergarteners).
  • Shad from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is an archaic researcher and Cunning Linguist at age seventeen. He's the first prominent character in the entire Zelda series to sport glasses.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work: A few researchers who work at the FBI Laboratory wear thick glasses. Most other characters in the series don't.
  • The very intelligent Becca from Melody wears spectacles.
  • Dr. Ray from METAGAL is a bespectacled genius who made nine robots.
  • Miitopia: The Goblins Mages and the Banshee Brainboxes both wear glasses, invoking this trope. The Banshee Brainbox's description even alludes to her highly educated status.
  • Osvald from Octopath Traveler II is The Smart Guy of the party, being a renowned scholar and magic researcher, and he's the only one of the main cast to wear glasses.
  • Overwatch: The two characters that wear glasses are particularly intelligent people:
    • Mei is a brilliant Chinese climatologist who has a lot of research notes about trying to stop global warming.
    • Winston is a hyper-intelligent sapient gorilla. To drive the point home even further, Winston has the ability to Hulk Out and act like a mindless rampaging beast for a little while, and this ability tends to be associated with his glasses being broken (a pair of broken glasses is even the HUD icon for this ability). The real reason for this is because the glasses are a Tragic Keepsake from the scientist who raised him and having them broken seriously pisses him off, but the fact that his intelligence seems to correlate with what kind of shape his glasses are in has to count for something.
  • In Puyo Puyo Tetris, Ai is the sole member of the S.S. Tetra's crew to wear glasses. He knows enough about repairing spaceships to act as the Tetra's engineer.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse: Invoked. Resident Ditz and assistant relic hunter Bolo is given a pair of X-Ray Specs to help with his nearsightedness. While it doesn't help with his vision, it does make him feel super smart, and he proceeds to identify the fossil he was given with a series of smart-sounding words. "It's been heavily pyritized, and contains high levels of sulfur." then procedes to clean it. "I've removed most of the sediment, but left a bit of matrix for stability." Some time later, the Techno Baron employs him as his assistant simply because of how super smart he looks with his glasses... whereupon this gets subverted as Bolo accidentally installs the circuit panel of the Targeting Module backwards, upside down, and inside out, causing the Disruptor Cannon to miss its intended target wildly and hit the Techno Baron several islands over. While Shantae initially believes that he did that on purpose, talking to him in Propeller Town afterwards proves that he had no idea about what happened and removes any doubts about him still being the same dunderhead as before.
  • Splatoon: Sheldon, the resident weapons expert and Arms Dealer, wears what appears to be a pair of brass binoculars as glasses. While he initially planned to join the military, years of staying up late at night tinkering with weapons and small parts caused him to develop nearsightedness. The military rejected him because of his poor eyesight, so he instead put his skills to use designing and selling weapons.
  • Them's Fightin' Herds: Oleander, as if she wasn't enough of an intellectual showoff already, wears a pair of teacher-like glasses when going over the mechanics in the game's tutorial mode.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: Steve is the only of his immediate family to wear glasses and is quite the smart guy. His other friends don't wear glasses and, while geeky, most of them are less likely to be shown as smart (especially Barry).
  • Chicken tries to invoke this trope in the Cow and Chicken episode "The Cow with Four Eyes", thinking glasses will make him smart after Cow seems smarter once she starts wearing hers. He even goes so far as to deliberately flub his vision test. Chicken thinks he's smarter, but is really a Know-Nothing Know-It-All. Cow even tries to tell him that glasses don't work that way.
  • Daria:
    • Daria is famous for her coke-bottle glasses, and for being one of very few Lawndale residents with a rapier-wit.
    • Invoked in "Through a Lens Darkly", where resident jock Kevin starts wearing glasses to become smarter. Mind you, the frames don't have lenses in them. They don't want to be too smart.
  • PeeBee Kappa from Dennis the Menace is Dennis's friend and resident genius and technology freak. PeeBee wears glasses as part of his Child Prodigy ensemble.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: Both Dexter and his equally brilliant rival Mandark wear glasses.
  • Invoked in an episode of Family Guy with Brian, who wears glasses just to try to look smart and really comes off as more arrogant and pretentious than usual, which subsequently prompts Stewie to destroy the glasses with a bat, during which the lenses cut Brian's eyes.
  • Poindexter from Felix the Cat is a Child Prodigy.
  • Parodied in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. When Bloo freaks out after seeing Mac doing schoolwork during recess, one of the "proofs" that Mac is a nerd is a picture of Mac with coke-bottle glasses. In actuality, Mac doesn't wear glasses. Bloo took a picture of him and drew glasses (and a mustache) with a marker.
  • In Gravity Falls, both Stan and Ford wear glasses in their old age, but the Whole Episode Flashback reveals that Ford, being a genius, had them even as a child.
  • Gumby played with this in the late 1960s episode "Dopey Nopey". A smart, intellectual boy has lost his glasses and is blindly trying to find them, and then when Pokey finds them he wants to wear them because he thinks the glasses will make him smart. But despite Gumby warning him that's not the case and not to wear them, Pokey doesn't listen, puts on the glasses anyway, and proceeds to walk right into a closet (he was meaning to go to the library). And then Gumby's dog Nopey comes in, gets into a scuffle with Pokey, and the glasses end up on his head, but don't make him any smarter (hence the title), and Hilarity Ensues... at least until they come across the boy and return his glasses, and he gets back to reading his Shakespeare book.
  • Chief Quimby in Inspector Gadget (2015) wears glasses, possibly to add emphasis to him being smarter than Gadget.
  • Dib from Invader Zim, who's the only human smart enough to instantly recognize that Zim is an alien (and suffers for it). Downplayed by the art style, since his glasses function as an Expressive Mask and are oddly drawn without temples, making the bridge the only way to notice them visually.
  • In the Kaeloo episode "Let's Play Stumpy's I.Q.", Stumpy is granted intelligence by a spirit after his stupidity causes him to die. Immediately after he rises from the grave, having been brought Back from the Dead, he dons a pair of glasses.
  • Lisa Loud in The Loud House is a Child Prodigy with Eye Glasses.
  • Dr. Woolly from Monster Farm wears glasses and is the most intelligent of the monster animals, though he doesn't wear them when he turns into his monstrous alter ego Mr. Ewwe.
  • PJ Masks: Amaya and Newton both wear glasses in their daytime identity, and are among the smartest characters on the side of the heroes (Newton in particular, as he spends most of his time studying anything space related). However, they loose them when transforming into their superhero identities.
  • Shy Violet from Rainbow Brite wears glasses. She is the most science savvy of the main characters and uses large words often.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Plenty of smart people in the show wear glasses, like the scientists Dr. Rafferty and Dr. Bergs, and Wise Beyond His Years Mitchell.
  • Gretchen in Recess is a Child Prodigy and a Meganekko to boot.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: Invoked when Rocko's idol (a professional jackhammer-er) says that he wears contacts while on the job, but prefers glasses when off because they make him look like an intellectual. Cue a Fangirl approaching and asking him questions about Friedrich Nietzsche. Heffer then that claims he needs glasses because he doesn't know who Nietzsche is.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: Mr. Peabody is likely the smartest being in existence, being an Omnidisciplinary Scientist who built a Time Machine. And he wears glasses.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: In every incarnation of the series, Velma Dinkley is the group's resident genius.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Professor Frink, Data, and Waylon Smithers are all among the smartest characters on the show and wear glasses.
    • Inverted with Milhouse who is nerdy and wears glasses but isn't particularly intelligent.
    • Homer Simpson attempts to exploit this trope when he finds abandoned glasses in a bathroom. He recites a version of the Pythagorean theorem (quoted verbatim from The Wizard of Oz) when he looks in the mirror, but it backfires when someone points out that his version is incorrect. However, the trope still saves his job when during a random firing, Mr. Burns decides not to fire him when he sees him wearing glasses and believes him to be smart.
  • We Bare Bears: Chloe is a Child Prodigy who is in college and wears large glasses.

    Real Life 

Alternative Title(s): Glasses For Geniuses, Smart Spectacles, Bespectacled Brainiac