The Australian Passport Office will ban glasses from passport photos from July 1, 2018, citing specs as a major impediment to accurate computer matching of the person with their passport photo.
"Research has shown that glasses adversely affect passport facial matching," the Australian Passport Office says. "Matching is more accurate without glasses," which in turn “further strengthens the integrity of the Australian passport."
The SmartGate terminals at Australia's international airports currently allow incoming passengers to leave prescription glasses on while their photo is snapped at the gate, provided they're also wearing glasses in their current passport photo and as long as the frames are thin.
"Thick rimmed glasses can affect arrivals SmartGate's ability to compare your image with your ePassport photograph, so it is better to remove them, if possible," the APO advises.
But from July 1 all new passport photos must be taken sans specs, although the APO allows that "a limited exemption for medical reasons may apply where supported by a medical certificate."
This can include cases of recent eye surgery and severe sensitivity to light, but vision impairment alone – the reason most people wear glasses – will not be accepted as a reason for medical exemption.