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How to Choose Reading Glasses: The Specs on Spectacles

How to Choose Reading Glasses: The Specs on Spectacles

Posted by Shark Eyes on 13th Nov 2019

Is reading becoming a bit of a blur to you? If so, chances are you need reading glasses.

Prebyopia, or farsightedness, is a condition that often sneaks up in middle age or the elder years. It's caused by the naturally occurring decrease in elasticity of the eye's lens. When the presbyopia strikes, fine print appears microscopic, and reading a book can be next to impossible.

The good news is that a good pair of reading glasses can instantly remedy the problem. Here’s some information that will help you put everything into focus:

What Are Reading Glasses & How Do They Work?

Reading glasses, also called cheaters and over-the-counter-readers, correct vision. They are constructed of hard plastic or glass lenses that are mounted into a frame that a person wears.

Typically, they are attached by a bridge piece over the nose and arms that go over the ears.

While glasses are used for both nearsightedness and farsightedness, those worn for reading purposes are strictly for foresight. If you have to hold text out an arm's length to see what you're reading, you probably need reading glasses.

Refractive errors cause defective eyesight. 

All corrective lenses, including glasses, correct refractive errors by bending the light that enters the eye so that the eye can focus properly. 

When presbyopia is present, reading glasses make it possible to focus specifically on close-by objects like the print in books, computer screens, the words on television, etc.

Reading glasses differ from prescription glasses in that they can be purchased without a prescription. They are a simple, practical, and affordable solution to the inability to see text at the normal, up-close range.

However, they are not designed to meet more advanced needs, like astigmatism, chromatic variations, or refractive problems.

What reading glasses are not are magnifying devices. Instead, they use diopter strength correction to crystalize focus on nearby objects.

How Do I Know What Strength to Get?

The strength of reading glasses is measured, or rated, in diopters, which is the name for the formula opticians goes by.

Even though diopter and magnification are not the same, for the sake of being more consumer-friendly, manufacturers usually label glasses according to diopter strength and magnification power interchangeably.

There is a “sweet spot” where vision is miraculously corrected and made perfect or almost perfect. Everything becomes crystal-clear and super sharp, ideally, at least.

When the diopter is too strong, that spot is too far, and when it's too weak, the spot is too close. To find the desired "sweet spot," the correct diopter must be found.

Since text doesn't always come by way of books, the "sweet spot" range can differ. If one needs to see a computer, the distance will be further away than a book would be held.

For this reason, a person may opt to get reading glasses in addition to reading glasses for computer and other reading purposes.

An excellent way to choose your OTC reading glasses is to select three pairs you think maybe your desired strength. Then, try each on and hold text up to you in the same distance it will be when you are using your glasses. Distinguish between the three as to which is best.

If that one still doesn't target your "sweet spot," keep experimenting until you find the pair that corrects your reading sight.

Once you’ve determined your reading glass strength, you can go from there and pick the style and brand you like. If at any time your glasses are doing the trick and your vision become blurred again, you can repeat the routine to find a different strength.

Typically, you'd add +0.25 or +0.50 diopters to order a stronger corrective lens. It's always a good idea to try a pair on when you can, but many online shops do stand by a no-haggle return policy in case you get it wrong.

If you find yourself needing to order stronger lenses more than a few times, you'll want to go in for an eye exam with a professional.

If at any time you note any additional issues, like strain, pain, or discomfort in your eye area, a film that affects the lens of your eye, or pressure building within your eyes or anywhere in the field of your eyes, be sure to see a specialist immediately.

If the same strength of lenses does not correct your eyes, you'll need to order from a supplier of reading glasses which can accommodate that type of order. It will be imperative to distinguish which eye requires each of the two strengths.

Are Cheap Reading Glasses Bad for Your Eyes?

Generally speaking, reading glasses are excellent for temporarily providing a remedy for the inability to read text up-close, ensuring there are no additional vision complications.

Most people required corrective lenses for reading once they hit the age of 40 or shortly after that because of the loss of eye flexibility that occurs as one gets older.

The fact is - other parts of the eye are aging too. More severe conditions may be present.

A severe problem that can arise is that some individuals put off regular eye exams because they feel they do not need for one since they've corrected their vision woes with reading glasses.

Traditional eye exams conducted by a professional eye doctor are imperative, so conditions like glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and astigmatism can be screened for, and general eye health can be evaluated.

Another potential problem with self-correcting one’s vision is that nothing can take the place of a professional exam to access the exact strength of diopter correction that’s needed.

Frequently the eyes require different strengths, which are usually not an option when picking eyeglasses off the rack. Others may need correction for distance vision, in which case they will need bifocal or multifocal lenses.

As long as you are not neglecting regular eye exams and are confident of the strength of correction needed, there is no harm in grabbing a pair or two of non-prescription reading glasses.

Many eye doctors give their patients their blessings on doing so.

Can You Wear Reading Glasses all Day?

Some people wear reading glasses for reading purposes alone. Others wear them to make a fashion statement too. Those who like the look and feel of their glasses often wish to wear them all day. But, is this a safe practice?

It's fine to wear prescription lenses all day if the glasses or contact lenses accommodate your full-spectrum eye health needs.

That is to say, if you need both nearsighted and farsighted lenses and you have bifocals, you'd most likely want to have them on during most of your waking hours to function.

But, if you are wearing glasses for reading purposes, doubtfully will you want to wear them when you're going about other activities that don't involve reading because you won't be able to see well. Reading glasses generally only correct vision when reading or close-up vision is involved.

Of course, if you notice you see better with your reading glasses for doing such things as watching television, gardening, or doing crafts, it’s alright to wear them to do so.

But, you probably need to visit an eye doctor to see if you need a pair of prescription glasses.

Never wear your reading glasses while sleeping. You risk rolling over and breaking them, which could cause injury. It is also not recommended that you wear reading glasses when playing contact sports or when

Where to Buy Reading Glasses

When buying over-the-counter, non-prescription reading glasses, there is a multitude of places you can purchase them from.

You can walk into a pharmacy or big department store, try some on until you find your match, and buy a pair right there. Or, if you know the strength you need, you can easily order online. If you order, be sure to review your order before sending it in carefully.

If you need wholesale reading glasses, we’ve got great prices on bulk packs.

There are all price ranges when it comes to reading glasses. You'll have options in frame color and styles and lens shapes and sizes too.

You can grab a pair for next to nothing at the discount store, or you can opt for a higher-quality, more fashion-forward pair at boutiques, upscale department stores, and eyeglass specialty shops. If you want, you can have a cheap pair or two and a nice pair or two as well.

Smooth Sailing

Once you find out what strength of reading glasses you need, you’ll need to locate a source to buy your reading glasses at. You can comparison shop.

When you are comfortable with a reference for your glasses, you may want to stock up. You can experiment with different styles too.

Reading glasses are generally very affordable but can get lost or break at the most inconvenient times. Besides, sometimes, you’ll find they’re cheaper by the dozens.