April 4, 2008

Eyeglasses and the pushing up thereof

I’ve noticed lately that there seem to be three four distinct ways that people push up their glasses, and yet not a single study has been done about this. “10 Things You Can Tell About Your Man By How He Pushes Up His Glasses” seems like a perfect headline for a women’s magazine in the supermarket checkout line, and yet nobody is doing this important research. So here’s an overview:

Method 1: Placing one hand on each side of the frame, use the fingertips or midfingers of both hands in concert to raise the glasses into a comfortable position.

Celebrity who uses Method 1: Actress Tina Fey

Method 2: Using the fingers of just one hand, grab the frame front securely on one side and push the glasses up into a comfortable position.

Celebrity who uses Method 2: Magician Penn Jillette

Method 3: Using just one finger, press upward on the bridge of the frame, raising the glasses into a comfortable position.

Celebrity who uses Method 3: Journalist Clark Kent

Method 4: [Added after being mentioned by Pavel in the comments] Spread the hands across the face, with a thumb on one end of the frame and a finger on the other. In one motion, push the glasses up into a comfortable position.

Celebrity who uses Method 4: Pavel in the comments below

I think method 2 is the inferior method, because it raises the glasses unevenly and could cause strain on the end pieces or hinges. Method 3, meanwhile, may be the simplest and most efficient method, but seems to be associated with nerd behavior for some reason. Do people deliberately use method 2 over method 3 just to look cooler? Method 4 is efficient, but I’m not a fan because it temporarily obstructs one’s vision. But perhaps there is a refined technique I haven’t considered. I have not yet formed an opinion about method 1. But surely there is a university out there looking for some useless research to do, right?


I use method #3. Color me nerd (well, I am one) but it’s efficient! You achieve balance, you only need one hand, and you look 2x smarter as a result.

You also look 4x nerdier, but hey. I ams what I ams.

You also left out people who spread out their hand, and use their thumb and index finger to push on the corners. This obviously only works with solid-frame glasses, not the “frameless” type I have.

What about an angry water buffalo snort accompanied by a violent backwards jerking of the head?

That probably says, “Your man is a water buffalo!”

I use Pavel’s method four, although I usually use my thumb and pinky finger, rather than the index.

There’s also the variant of Method #1 where instead of pushing with the palms you grab the frames and push them up.

You’re right. Worrying about your glasses being uneven -is- rather nerdy.

Method #4: Grab glasses with one hand, covering face in so doing: index and middle finger on one side, thumb on the other, grab and push.

Effective and reduces strain on the frame.

pavel said: “You also left out people who spread out their hand, and use their thumb and index finger to push on the corners.”

this is exactly what my fiancé does. i wonder what it means. seems more common than i thought.

I tend to switch between #3 and a variant thereof—pinching thumb and index together and pushing up the bridge of the glasses with them.

Incidentally, with #3, does anyone use fingers other than index on a regular basis? I trend toward middle in that regard.

I do a variation of Method #1…I use my thumb and middle finger to readjust.

I use #4 as well.

While it occludes the vision somewhat, mine developed naturally from a nervous/stress-related tic where I would rub my forehead. Now I push my glasses up when someone annoys me—a bad habit, because I also push them up when they slide down.

Before laser surgery (PRK not LASIK), I used to use #3 or a nose-wrinkle if I was feeling lazy. I’m not sure if I’ve seen any celebrities do the nose-wrinkle or not, Quentin Tarantino maybe?

I agree with VVV, although I generally tend to try to wrinkle my nose until my glasses give in and move to a comfy spot :)

Interesting research you’ve done here… but WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!?!

Seriously though, method 1 is fundamentally flawed - although it looks “cute” it requires way too much energy (moving two hands instead of one). I think this is associated with self-righteous people who just want to look cool.

Then again - I would see a difference between elbows in and elbows out. An emo kid, hipster, or self-proclaimed artist would do elbows in - and maybe everyone else would do elbows out.

I think you’re right about #2 - it’s people who are trying to avoid #3. This means they are less confident with themselves.

#3 people are either confident, don’t care what people think, or do this method because it is the simplest and they’re busy or deep in thought. There’s no time for glasses adjustment, man! I’m working on important electronics here!

I see #4 (from the comments) as a variation of number three, but for people who are more conscience of taking care of their property. People who do #4 are more likely to be money savers and they own cars for longer than other people.

-Sam (self proclaimed glasses psychologist)

I use mostly #4 (or “Pavel’s Corollary”), supplemented by an occasional #3.

What about grabbing the backs of the temple pieces and pulling backwards???

I usually alternate between no. three and pavel’s method. I have also driven the same car for just over three years.. perhaps Sam is on to something.

The first time I became aware of #3 was the classic ‘Gates does Windows’ screensaver. No idea whether that was the chicken or the egg, though.

I only got my glasses ~15 months ago, so I’m still figuring out whether I like #2, #3, or #4 best.

I had no idea that #2 was pretentious, but I tend to do it ironically (exaggerated), so I must have assumed as much on a subconscious level. I find it advantageous in that the rim doesn’t need to slide along the nose to reach its destination, and it allows for fine-tuning.

#3 is efficient, but if your nose is greasy (I’m 17) or you push it up too far, the efficiency comes at a price.

#4 is nice if you don’t want to raise your hand too high, and you don’t mind hiding your face. It’s a good alternative to #3, if you like symmetry.

I normally use number three (using the middle finger of my right hand, or index finger of my left), unless my glasses have slipped at an angle in which case it’s number two. (Hehehe, I said “number two”.) I’ve always been aware than number three is a “Clark Kent” move, but he *is* Superman so I think it’s a reasonable example to follow.

I use number 3 with middle finger. More fun if i did it in front of people i don’t like, in an office meeting.

There is a fourth way. Index finger on one side, thumb on other (outer part of frame or hinge works). Push. Even, one handed, simple, not nerdy :)

I was doing #3 for the first 20-odd years of wearing glasses. Then I got contacts. Then I got an eye infection (don’t ask, just take *really* good care when using contacts). Then I got some Swissflex glasses (I guess as compensation). They are pretty expensive but so light that I don’t have to push them up anymore. My friend Ivgeny, on the other hand, refuses to have laser surgery because he uses method #3 to help himself think when trying to solve problems.

i find myself doing the nose wrinkle/face scrunch more often than i really should — especially in public. it requires minimal effort, and apparently i really am that lazy.

I use the 2 and 3.

I’m a #3 person myself & can attest to the one negative about it — the paint is wearing off of my frames right on the bridge of the nose where I push them up all the time.

method 4: it temporarily obstructs depth perception, but the gap between the index finger and thumb leaves visibility for one of the eyes (left eye if using the left hand to push up glasses).

I use a right-hand combination of #2 and #3: the push is driven my my middle finger on the center of the frames, but stabilized by my thumb on the lower right edge of the frames.

There is another method, but it is probably only reserved for super nerdy people who carry bags a certain way. Since my glasses only tend to fall down when I am walking briskly, I have developed a habit of turning my head, dipping it slightly and using the knuckles of the hand that is holding my purse high up on my shoulder. They usually hit the glasses in the middle, sometimes touch the lens but since it is the back of the hand, it doesn’t smudge them. The trick is to do it so fast that no one notices since it is kind of ridiculous.

I tend to take my slipping glasses off, rub my eyes, then put them back on. The glasses.

I usually use method 4, but I have a 5th method I use if I’m for instance in the heat of an online game where I can’t take my hands away. I push up my glasses by pulling my front lip down, which stretches the nose skin down, then moving my ears backwards (which pulls the glasses up my nose a bit), and then relaxing the lip / nose skin. When it relaxes, the glasses get pulled into a more comfortable position. ;)

I use both methods 2, 3 and 4 at various times, such that when I’m not wearing my glasses, I reflexively either a) hold my index and thumb up to my eyes, as if measuring the diameter of my eyeball; b) jam my finger painfully between my eyes; or c) smack my hand into my forehead.

I have a fifth method, which involves using my partner’s rather long French nose to stealthily push up my glasses while kissing.

I use method 2 instead of method 3, to look a little less dorky and perhaps more sophisticated. Great post.

I pretty much always use #3. It’s sort of a nervous “something to do with my hands” kind of thing, and I often find myself doing it when I’m wearing contacts too.

I mostly do #3, but I’ve been known to do all four.

(No paint wear issues with anodized titanium!)

I used the special number one, where you grab the frames, or the nerdy one.

What about people who use #3 but use their middle finger instead of their index finger?

I’m with Jared. I go for the ultradorky, hands-free pull-up. I shake my head backward a little and wrinkle my nose and twitch my ears at the same time. It pulls the specs right back up into place. Now that I write that out, I see how insane I must appear. Greeaat.

Hmm, sometimes I use a combination of methods #2 and #3, which is to push at a corner of my glasses with my index and middle fingers.

Perhaps the most inferior of the methods, because it causes the same strain on the hinges as method #2, but with less accuracy, at that.

How great is it that you posted this after I’ve been thinking OBSESSIVELY about this very thing for the past few months??

I personally use my finger on the bridge.
But I always look out for this one that you didn’t mention:
Using the middle knuckle of the index finger to push the corner of the frames upwards.

That’s one that I like very much, but have only known one person to do it.

I usually push up my glasses like method 3. But sometimes 1 or 2 are also used. So, all of them. I recognized method 4 … but I use that when I’m bored at work. :)

I use #4 as well. Seems pretty popular.

Thumb and middle finger.

It has the disadvantage of completely covering your field of view though.

For what it’s worth, I use #3. And this was certainly an interesting post on a much neglected subject. Now, how about tackling the real issue: how to stop spec ‘slippage’ altogether. (And if anyone suggests using double-sided sticky tape, I’ll scream.)

Wow, I don’t even need glasses, but I am amazed by the huge amount of feedback this is getting, and it’s really interesting to see how differently people tackle such a common problem.
Of course, the most sensible thing would be to find glasses that don’t slide at all. I have Oakley sun-glasses, and the bridge is made of a sticky plastic material that sits quite firmly on my nose. I can go running with them, and they sit as if someone welded them to my nose!
Couldn’t this be applied to a “normal” pair of glasses? Then you guys wouldn’t need to do it. Not that I mind, I find it rather cute when people push up their glasses :-)

I always grab the arm in the right side and lift up. I never grab the front of the frame because I don’t want to risk leaving fingerprints on the glass.

Why am I not on your list? Am I really that weird?

As I’m reading through all of these comments, I kept waiting for someone to mention my method…

” But I always look out for this one that you
didn’t mention:
Using the middle knuckle of the index finger to
push the corner of the frames upwards.”

That’s me! I didn’t realize it was such an obscure method of adjustment!

I’m a Method 3 kind of guy myself. Something I just realised: as well as Mr Kent, this also is the preferred method of one Ned Flanders.

Method 4 for me, although it’s not simply a “push back up the nose”…more of a “lift and re-secure to higher point on bridge of nose”. I’m a bit surprised by how many #3’s I’m seeing…I’ve associated this method with the surreptitious delivery of a rude gesture since I was in Jr. High (a lesson learned the hard way, in all likelihood). All of which reminds me to get my frames re-tightened sometime soon…

My brother just wiggles his nose in ways that make the glasses move upwards. It’s fascinating to watch.

I’m with Guido; when my hands are occupied—and I’m not wearing my contact lenses—I will settle for a nose squench. I eventually have to give in and resort to #3 in the end, however, because my nose just isn’t as flexible as I’d like it to be.

Also, I barely ever see anyone use the #4 method. I’m living in a college environment, so I can scientifically deduce this behavior must be an old-person thing.

No offense meant to any old people reading this comment; you just adjust your glasses funny.

I often use #3 but I tend to miss and leave fingerprints on the glass. Sometimes I even try to push my glasses up when I’m actually wearing contact lenses.
I also use another method: I grab the left temple and push it up and then use the same hand to push up the other side.

FASCINATING. I pretty much use all 4 ways, plus a few others, to get my lenses back up where they’re supposed to me. Hell, sometimes I’ll use doorway and corners to get them back up if my hands are full. Looks weird, I’m sure, but you do what you gotta do!

A variant of #3: I like use the knuckle of my thumb or index finger.

In addition, I have a great follow up post — How do you remove your glasses?! One handed? Two hands?

I believe this will also be telling research.

Where is the optigrab when you need it?


if i may, you’ve forgotten a very important method which does not involve the use of hands at all. what about using the scrunch-nose method whereby you vertically compress and relax the bridge of your nose to slowly nudge the glasses back in place? surely those of us too lazy to employ the use of extra limbs in the effort to maintain visual clarity should be recongnized, don’t you think?

I use method 4, and so does Davi Letterman

I guess I get to be the one to throw a monkey wrench into the research. I have two pairs of glasses and I use Method 1 for the frameless pair and I use Method 2 for the other!

When my glasses are falling and I need to be discreet I use the middle knuckle of my index finger to rub the bridge of my nose as if it was itchy. Usually this will slide the glasses even lower, putting the ‘blame’ on the itchy nose. Then I have an excuse to slide the knuckle further up to put the glasses back into place!

Sometimes I will rub the top of my forehead with my index knuckle (headache, for example), and I often slide my glasses up with the ‘meaty’ side of my thumb.

Will: excellent question! I use both hands (one on either side of the frame) to remove my glasses in an even, forward motion, so as not to accidentally bend either temple outward too far.

Here’s an idea for an experiment, if anyone can muster the zen-like stamina to pull it off: if you refrain from adjusting your glasses at all, how long will it take for them to slide off completely?

Good question, DMcK! It usually depends on the temperature, if I sweat more, my glasses fall off pretty soon. I play guitar in a band and it is quite embarassing if you have to push up your glasses several times during a song.

Ya know, I never paid attention to how people push their glasses up until I read this article, now I can’t stop noticing. I would be number 2 (when wearing sunglasses. Don’t wear glasses yet.)

Ha Ha, the good old Opti-Grab was the first thing I thought of while reading this article too Todd! Definitely a comedy classic that belongs in every collection.

Method #5: hands-free face scrunch

Using the middle knuckle of the index finger to
push the corner of the frames upwards

Method #6: push up on the frame at the bottom of one of the lenses with a knuckle.

I use Method #6 all the time, the others much less often. My stylish plastic frames with no rubber nose-grip things slide down pretty much instantly, so I’m always pushing them back up. If I look down for long enough they will in fact just drop right off my face.

Personally, I use method #2, but with the second knuckle of my pointer finger, to take away from the nerdiness.

I subscribe to the second method. Sometimes, however, I combine the one-finger pushing motion of #3 with the outer-frame location of #2, to avoid nose greasiness and minimize energy output.

Can’t have such a discussion without referencing one of the 20th centuries greatest inventions..

The Optigrab

I just use the knuckle on my right hand too push the frame up discreetly. It looks like I’m wiping my cheek.

I can’t be THAT unique, but don’t think this one’s been mentioned yet.

Thumb and index finger: thumb on the hinge, index finger on the bridge. Mostly the same as method 3. but with a bit of lift. Works great on rimless frames.

If you use #4, you can come in low, close to the face, and use the same technique on the lower half of the frame without obscuring your vision. However, this can be unpleasant if your hands are stinky. I’m just saying.

I have actually used, and continue to use any number of the 4 mentioned. It all depends on the frame of mind I am in, or what my hand might be doing at the time…

Hmm.. I tend towards #3 because I don’t wear glasses, and the only time my sunglasses really slip is when riding my bike so I only have one hand available. I’d never seen #2 until I read this post. There’s also a #5 where you grab one of the “legs” at the temple and push that backwards- good for avoiding fingerprints on your lenses.

Follow-up research: I remove them by one hinge because there’s a specific kind of flicking motion (like the Zippo flick) that will fold them up neatly with one hand.

Perhaps Method 7, perhaps Method 2a:
Lift the glasses by the hinge.
It’s unlikely to leave smudges on the lenses (cf. method 2), and it’s conveniently one-handed (cf. method 1) while not obscuring the view (cf. method 4).
My glasses’ arms bend by 1/2pi near the hinge so that there’s a small section of the arm on the lens side of the hinge that is parallel to the front of the glasses. Grabbing this section provides excellent control not only vertically, but also in both horizontal dimensions. Because of that ability to control, this method is also useful for realigning the glasses (horizontal position and skew), so while other methods (e.g. method 3) may result in misalignment, this method allows precise alignment adjustments on the fly.

I use #2, personally. I don’t know why; It’s just how I push them up. I also occasionally (though not often at all) wiggle my ears in such a way to pull them up. (This is actually how I learned how to wiggle my ears; I did it subconsciously and then a minute or so after realized what I had just done.)

You need to name these moves, man.

1: The tunnel
2: The loupe
3: The finger
4: The claw

“You also left out people who spread out their hand, and use their thumb and index finger to push on the corners.”
does anyone use fingers other than index on a regular basis? I trend toward middle in that regard.

I definitely use the nose wrinkle too…my nose bridge is awfully low and my glasses constantly slide. I look like a rabbit when I wear my glasses - my noses is constantly in motion.

Im a method 3 guy, interesting how each person choses his method, of course is natural, but still interesting. Great article by the way.

Interesting subject! I realise I’m a bit late to the party, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, because my long-suffering glasses snapped at the bridge a couple of weeks ago and I’m pretty sure this has something to do with my obsessive glasses-pushing habit. (Sometimes I deliberately make them fall down my nose a bit just so I can push them up again.)

I tend to use all of the main four techniques here. #2 is probably the one I use most often (but I had no idea it was considered geeky. Maybe that’s just an American thing. Where does the stereotype come from?) I reckon that #2 is pretty bad for the frames, though, so I’ve been trying to use #4 and #1 more often. (My #1 is slightly modified: I grip the frames at the hinges when I’m pushing them up.) Both of these give good, efficient, even pushes, but #1 requires both hands and #4 has the disadvantage of covering your eyes a little bit while you do it. I do occasionally use #3, but the problem with it is that it can result in an uneven push, which has to be corrected by pushing the other side afterwards.

Maybe someone should try to work out if there’s an optimal way of pushing your glasses (giving the most efficient push while putting the least strain on your frames, and, perhaps, producing the least interference with your social interaction)?

Is it strange that I’m peculiarly attracted to men who use method #3?…

there is another way. when you use your index finger and your middle finger together to push the bridge of the frame up moving your glasses to a comfortable position. This is the method i use :)