What Are Reading Glasses?
Sometimes it can be difficult to read small print or see things close up with complete clarity. Many people find that they benefit from reading glasses, a set of frames with lenses that use magnification to enlarge whatever is in your viewing area. You don’t need a doctor’s prescription to purchase reading glasses and you can choose from various strengths of magnification to meet specific needs.
Do I Need Reading Glasses?
As we age, our eyes naturally go through changes. Even if you have had perfect vision your entire life, it’s likely that around the age of 40 you’ll start to struggle a bit when reading things up close. Many people first notice they could use reading glasses when they go out to eat and try to read the menu, while others find that activities like sewing or tying flies when fishing becomes more difficult on their eyes.
Anyone who needs reading glasses is said to have presbyopia or farsightedness. Sometimes, if you already wear glasses for seeing long distances, you’ll find that you now need a correction for both near and far vision. If you’re not sure if reading glasses are right for you, consider these situations and ask yourself if you’ve experienced difficulty with the following:
- Reading small print, particularly in dim lighting or at the end of the day. Reading menus in low light is a common situation when people struggle to see clearly.
- Completing close work like sewing or beading becomes difficult. You may find that threading a needle or trying to tie a fly while fishing is very challenging.
- Trying to read for extended periods of time makes your eyes hurt or brings on a headache. For some, even reading for a few minutes can create these symptoms.
- Your close vision has slowly become more blurry as you reach and pass age 40. This is the most common time when people begin to experience trouble seeing up close.
- In order to see smaller print clearly, you have to hold reading material farther away from your face. It’s common for people to do this for a while before they begin to use reading glasses.
How Do Reading Glasses Work?
Just as most parts of our body change as we get older, our eyes are no exception. The process of being able to see clearly doesn’t always function in the same way throughout our whole life, and most people start to experience changes in their eyesight around age 40. This means that seeing close up can be more challenging as the eyes have a harder time adapting to seeing at this focal point. Some people might need glasses for both near and far vision while others use reading glasses only.
In order to help close items look more clear, reading glasses use a magnified lens. This enlarges whatever is in the viewing area and takes the strain off of your eyes. Reading glasses can be used to quickly look up something on your phone or may be used for long periods of time when sewing or reading a book. It’s smart to keep a pair of reading glasses with you at all times just in case you need to see something up close.
Are Reading Glasses the Same As Prescription?
Many people wonder what the difference is between reading glasses and prescription glasses because, at first glance, they seem to do the same thing. Designed to help magnify your close vision, reading glasses are made to be used occasionally throughout the day and are not intended to correct vision problems. In a way, they are no different than holding up a magnifying glass to read.
Prescription reading glasses are far more expensive and can only be purchased at your optometrist’s office. This eyewear is custom-made for your specific visual needs and often works to correct more than just presbyopia. Most prescription glasses are manufactured using high-quality materials and offer a wide range of styles to choose from.
Reading Glasses Strength
Just like our vision isn’t the same as everyone else’s, reading glasses aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Reading glasses come with different strengths of magnification and can be used for various purposes. Called diopters, the strength of the lenses may vary based on your age and how you use your reading glasses.
People who just start to use reading glasses for the first time may opt for a +1.00 pair, indicating a strength of one diopter. Typically available in quarter steps, the magnification power increases and often reaches up to +4.00. You may want various strengths for different activities or could find that you require stronger lenses as you get older. Remember, no two pairs of eyes are the same, so it’s best to choose reading glasses that work for your needs rather than buying what your friends or family wear.
Types of Reading Glasses
Whether it’s your very first pair or you’ve worn a vision correction for years, selecting reading glasses isn’t like other shopping experiences. Not only are there a range of magnification options to choose from but even the lens styles themselves can vary. It’s smart to think about when you’ll use your reading glasses throughout the day and then decide which style is right for you.
Let’s explore three of the most common types of reading glasses available. Each has its own benefits and you could find that different styles work best for different activities. Reading glasses may not require a prescription but you can tailor your purchases to best suit your lifestyle. Stylish reading glasses can even help you to express yourself when you’re at the office or reading a menu at a restaurant.
Considered to be the most common style of reading glasses, full readers contain a single magnification throughout the entire lens. They offer clear vision up to 18” away from your face and can be worn for most types of close activities.
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Computer readers are similar to full readers with a slight variation as they are designed for computer use only. These glasses provide clarity at a distance between 20” and 26” and can be worn for long periods of time to combat eye fatigue while on the computer.
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Bifocal Sunglass Readers
Another option to consider is a bifocal reader, which combines two different prescriptions in one lens. When you look straight ahead you can see clearly far away, and just below a faint line in the lens, you’ll be able to read up close. Many people enjoy these in a sunglass option for reading by the pool.
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Types of Reading Glasses Frames
Reading glasses are designed to be just as fashionable as they are functional with a range of styles to choose from. It’s important to consider your overall comfort when it’s time to purchase readers, as you may find that you wear them for many hours each day. While you may not have a say regarding the strength of the reading glasses that you need, you can most certainly select a style that best suits you.
Today’s reading glasses come in a variety of colors, materials, shapes, and more, but there tend to be three main options when talking about the frames themselves. If you use reading glasses at home, at work, or find that you need additional pairs to keep around the house, it’s fun to purchase different styles and change things up every day!
Sturdy and bold, full frame reading glasses are available in just about every color you can imagine! This eyewear can be made from different types of metal or plastic and is a popular option for most people. Full frame reading glasses are great for people on the go as they are very durable.
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If you’re in need of a more sophisticated style, half frame reading glasses will be your new favorite. They are made using metal or plastic on the top portion of the lens with the bottom exposed. Half frame reading glasses are lightweight while remaining strong.
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A timeless style that’s incredibly light on the face, rimless reading glasses are the perfect option for someone who wants their glasses to be nearly invisible. The lenses are mounted directly to the bridge and temples and, while still durable, are the most delicate of your options.
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Reading Glasses Test
If you’ve never worn reading glasses before or you find that your vision has recently changed, it might be tough to know which lens strength is right for you. While this chart is in no way a replacement for seeing your eye doctor, you may want to print our diopter chart to better help you determine which reading glasses to purchase.
Simply hold the chart at a comfortable reading distance. You’ll find that some lines are easier to make out than others. Each line is associated with a number indicating the strength of reading glasses needed to see it clearly. Once you reach the line that’s difficult to read, take a look at the number next to it and that’s the reading glasses strength you’ll find success with!
Print Magnification Test Here
Should I Try Reading Glasses?
For most people, using reading glasses on a regular basis opens up a new world of possibilities. No longer do you have to hold printed material at an arm’s distance or deal with eye strain when trying to read your favorite book. Reading glasses offer you the ability to regain your close vision and help you to enjoy day-to-day tasks with ease.
At some point in time, everyone will deal with blurry eyesight up close so instead of trying to fight your vision change, why not embrace it with a beautiful pair of reading glasses? Consider purchasing several pairs to keep in your home, car, at the office, or in your purse. With an array of styles, colors, and strengths to choose from, wearing reading glasses has become something to look forward to.
Frequently Asked Questions
Individuals with perfect vision may find that reading glasses do not help them to see clearly up close, however, you won’t be doing any harm to your eyes if you choose to wear them. People with perfect vision may take longer to adjust to reading glasses than those who have presbyopia.
Reading glasses are often referred to as OTC items, or “over the counter” glasses, as you don’t need a prescription to purchase them. You’ll find that a range of magnification strengths are available for various close-range activities.
If you already wear prescription eyewear, your reading glasses are not designed to take the place of them. Instead, your reading glasses can be used to help you with specific tasks and may make the transition to bifocal glasses easier.
As reading glass lenses magnify whatever is in your field of vision, it may or may not be safe to wear them all day. If you need to drive or engage in tasks that require you to see far away, you may want to take your reading glasses off.