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Reading glasses improve up-close vision. Many people wear them when looking at a computer screen or reading.
Some reading glasses feature blue light to filter out the light from technological devices. Reading glasses can be prescription or over-the-counter (OTC). They come in a variety of strengths.
Usually, vision experts recommend that OTC reading glasses only be used on a short-term basis. They are also best for people who have the same vision strength in both eyes.
Prescription glasses are a better option over reading glasses if you have:
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Most people realize they need reading glasses when they are straining to read, especially when words are written in small print.
They might move the text further from their eyes or shift materials around until their eyes can focus.
The most definitive way to know if you need reading glasses is to undergo a professional eye exam. However, this isn’t always necessary.
The following are an indication that reading glasses might help you see better:
Reading glass power is measured in units called diopters. The lowest strength is usually 1.00 diopters.
Glasses increase in strength by factors of .25 (1.50, 1.75, 2.00). The strongest reading glasses available are 4.00 diopters.
Yes, but you won’t find them as easily as generic glasses.
In most cases, you’ll need prescription reading glasses if you have two different strengths.
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Your eye doctor will help you choose the right prescription reading glasses. They’ll create a prescription for your lenses after you undergo a vision examination.
Once you have a prescription, you can choose frames that can be customized to the prescription and your eyes.
When choosing prescription reading glasses frames, consider:
If you don’t need prescription reading glasses, you’ll likely be on your own when making your choice.
Most people use some trial and error when they shop for OTC reading glasses.
A customer can try on a few different magnification strengths and styles when they shop. Some even want a different style or frame based on what they’re doing or where they are wearing their glasses.
If you’ve never worn glasses, determining what style looks best and is most comfortable can be challenging. But it can also be fun.
Non-prescription reading glasses are inexpensive, so many people have several pairs in different styles. You can also choose a different frame or style of glasses for various occasions.
Just like any type of glasses, it’s important to invest in a style that you love and keep searching until you find something that suits you.
Another popular practice is to buy backup pairs of OTC reading glasses that can be used when you don’t want to use prescription glasses.
Some people only wear their prescription glasses while working or reading. Then they wear their OTC reading glasses during recreational activities.
Yes. For many people, inexpensive OTC reading glasses are all they need to see better when looking at close-up materials.
The key to making cheap reading glasses work for you is to choose the right lens type magnification.
It helps to try a few different magnification strengths before making your purchase. Also, remember that the magnification you need might increase as you get older.
If you’re someone who doesn’t want to wear reading glasses, there are other options available.
In some cases, people opt to undergo LASIK or PRK surgery to improve their vision. This is more common for people who have non-age-related vision issues. These procedures correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Another alternative to reading glasses is refractive lens exchange. This is a procedure that removes that eye’s natural lens and replaces it with an intraocular lens implant. The steps are essentially the same as cataract surgery.
In addition to refractive lens exchange, a person who wants to avoid wearing reading glasses can choose monovision.
Monovision corrects someone’s dominant eye for distance vision and corrects their non-dominant eye for near vision.
In response to these corrections, the brain makes the needed vision changes automatically. Monovision allows for a change in the range of focus without the need for glasses or contact lenses.
Keep in mind, neither of these corrective alternatives to readers gives you blue light protection. It might be a good idea to invest in these lenses to protect your eyes, even after your vision is corrected.
(1) “Presbyopia | National Eye Institute.” www.nei.nih.gov.
(2) Mayo Clinic. “Presbyopia - Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, 2017.
(3) “Aging and Your Eyes.” National Institute on Aging.
(4) “Vision Changes as We Age: What’s Normal, What’s Not?” Utah.edu, 2016.
(5) “Eyestrain - Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, 2018.
(6) “Tips for Eye Health in Adults over 65.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 14 Aug. 2020.