The immediate side effect of not wearing glasses if you need them is the equivalent of an art gallery tour without bothering to get a ticket.
"Everything will be out of focus -- you'll have an Impressionistic view of the world," said Rosen.
But while trying to focus without glasses may strain your eyes, it will not cause lasting damage. While a person may squint in an attempt to see better, the eye itself will not be affected.
In the end, the primary side effect of not wearing glasses is likely to be the temporary one that accompanies accommodation -- excessive squinting is likely to give someone who typically wears glasses a headache.
"Eyeglasses help you see better," explained Chang. "By wearing glasses your vision doesn't get worse faster, and by not wearing them, you're doing your vision a disservice."
Children with lazy or crossed eyes require intervention, and believing this myth could create permanent damage.
"If the parent or caretaker feels that the child has a crossed eye…or the child seems to be rubbing his eyes a lot, it is absolutely essential that he see an ophthalmologist," said Chang. "If they don't address a vision problem in a certain amount of time, it's too late."
When a child's vision develops, problems with crossed or lazy eyes can become permanent.
The reason, said Rosen, is some cells responsible for fusing the images you see with each eye are responsible for a three-dimensional image, and "If, early on in life, those cells aren't stimulated, they never develop," he said.
"The earlier you recognize these things, you enhance the person's chances for stereo vision and for depth perception," said Rosen. "If you recognize there's a weakness in one eye early…then they will start patching the good eye [in order to strengthen the weak eye]."
There was a lack of consensus over when, exactly, a child should have his or her first eye exam, but a child should be seen relatively early in life.
"By age 3, it's a good idea to have a general eye exam," said Chang, citing the benefits of catching a number of vision problems -- such as amblyopia and strabismus -- early.
Many nursery schools have routine screenings of children, but some say those are inadequate.
"School screenings can be very deceptive," said Moscot, noting that some school nurses are not properly trained to perform a full eye exam and some children will cheat by peering at the charts beforehand.
"When they come to an office, there's objective tests we can do better than reading an eye chart." A lot of things are missed in these screenings," he said. "But they're better than nothing."
Moscot also said that family medical history can have an impact on when the first eye exam should be done.
"Typically, when there's a family history of an eye problem or a strong prescription, we like them to be checked before a year old," he said, but noted that for some, "that's a state of thinking now -- that any child should be examined in the first year of life."