Is love at first sight real?

Monday, 6 February 2023 by Vision Direct

Love at first sight couple

As the day of Saint Valentine is upon us again, our ever-curious team of romantics and realists have been debating over the controversial question of 'is love at first sight real?'. Yes, we know, this is classic eye expert chat, but we'd really like to get to the bottom of it. If you're equally as intrigued, follow us on our journey to find out the truth. Plus, take a peek at our top 5 rom-coms to watch with your contact lenses, so you don't miss a thing.

Love at first sight, are you a believer?

Couple in love men

The idea of being in love with someone just from seeing them for the first time is magical, right? Many of our favourite rom-coms wouldn't exist without it. But obviously, there’s a lot of scepticism around this theory.

The main issue lies in the fact that we can’t know enough about someone to fall in love with them after one single glance (even if Hugh Grant, the hero of rom-coms, has built a career on it).

Also, what does it say about us if we're willing to fall for someone purely based on looks? Surely personality is a key factor?

Researchers vs cupid: Sceptical study of love at first sight

Couple on a date love at first sight

Researchers from the University of Groningen aren't fooled by romantic comedies and took a less enthusiastic view after a study a few years ago. They started by reaching out to nearly 400 Dutch and German students, asking them to fill out a questionnaire on their current romantic relationship status. Following that, the students were shown pictures of several people they’d never met and had to rate their level of attraction and describe any feelings of intimacy, passion or commitment. Participants were also queried, as to whether they agreed with the statement ‘I am experiencing love at first sight’.

A speed dating event was then held, where the participants had to report back, saying how attracted they were to their dates and if they thought it was love at first sight. After largely negative responses to both scenarios in terms of ‘love at first sight’, the researchers concluded that it doesn't seem to exist. Instead, they saw it as more likely that people remembered their strong initial attraction to one another and combined it with how they feel about their partner in the present to conclude that they fell in love at first sight.

Our eye experts’ opinion

Well, slow down for a second now, nay-saying researchers. First of all, the situations used for this study were highly artificial - love at first sight is something that you'd expect to occur in a much more natural environment. Looking at photographs of someone in a university lab and thinking about whether you find them attractive is not really comparable to seeing someone across a crowded room and suddenly being sure that 'they're the one'. You hopeless romantics out there will know the feeling!

Plus, with the online dating world now added into the mix, we also have to question how it applies to apps like Tinder and Hinge. As 'match at first sight' is definitely a thing, and you do manage to swerve the dreaded catfish out there, here's hoping that their personality is as good as their looks. Or, did you just swipe right because they were holding a puppy?

Listen, love is complicated and unscientific in our opinion, at least. Plus, it's really hard to design tests and studies that can prove anything about it. We say, if you believe that it was love at first sight, then it probably was, and we doubt there'll ever be science that can prove otherwise - some chemistry just can't be explained.

Top 5 rom-coms

Now, let's leave the harsh realities of life behind, dim the lights, assemble the snacks and delve into Vision Direct's most-loved rom-coms, with your contact lenses of course! We're talking about the classics, oozing with clichés of over-the-top romantic gestures, tear-inducing soundtracks and highly unlikely meet-cutes. Hold onto your tissues and pick your perfect movie match now.

  1. Crazy, Stupid, Love: Highlights of the plot include a shirtless Ryan Gosling and a reenactment of the iconic Dirty Dancing lift with Emma Stone - need we say more?
  2. Definitely Maybe: If you're looking for a refreshing take on a love story, with the charismatic and (shocker) nearly-divorced Ryan Reynolds, this rom-com is definitely a 'yes'.
  3. Serendipity: Whether or not you believe in fate, the charming tale of Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack continuously bumping into each other is bound to make you feel something.
  4. You've Got Mail: A Nora Ephron masterpiece of autumnal New York scenes, featuring our favourite rom-com duo of the 90s, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
  5. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: Kate Hudson's yellow dress is the real star of this film - not forgetting the dying love fern, and a joint rendition of 'You're so vain', with Benny Boo-Boo (aka Matthew McConaughey).
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