Reading Glasses: Tips On How To Choose The Right One

Reading glasses can become more of a necessity as we age. As we age, a natural decline in visual acuity can complicate the simplest things. For example, reading street signs, ingredients on a food label, and of course, instructions on your medicine bottle.


Reading glasses have been around for a long time, and recently have grown in popularity. Last year, 53.6 million pairs were sold in the United States. Not surprisingly, more than ninety per cent were sold to people over the age of forty-five.

These glasses cost $17 on average and can be purchased mostly at supermarkets, drug stores, and convenience stores.


Reading Glasses: Choosing Magnification

Reading glasses are rated by their diopter strength. Diopter strength, aka magnification, is rated in increments of 0.25 units. A higher number indicates stronger magnification. Essentially, you may actually need two pairs; one for looking at a computer screen, and a second pair for reading.

The general guideline is that people need about 0.75 less lens power for the computer than for normal reading.


Reading sunglasses for enjoying a paperback at the beach are now widely available. Buy polarized lenses, which block UV light as well as light that reflects from flat surfaces such as roads and water. This will minimize squinting due to glare and reflections.


Non-prescription bifocal sunglasses, with reading magnification notched into the bottom of otherwise un-magnified lenses, will also let you use the sunglasses for all your outdoor activities.



Reading glasses are manufactured to a standard pupil distance that is uniform from the center of the right eye to the center of the left. If your eyes are closer together or farther apart than that standard, it can cause eye strain. If this happens, the ophthalmologist can customize a pair of reading lasses to your face.


In addition, if you wear contacts and they work well for distance vision, putting on a pair of readers for close-up reading should work okay.

Reading Glasses: Can They Help With Distance Vision?

Probably not. These glasses won’t provide the same acuity in both eyes, as each eye often as requires a different prescription. In addition, these glasses will not correct for astigmatism. Astigmatism is a defect in the eye lens which causes images to look distorted.

What Lens Power Do You Need?

Reading glasses come in a range of powers, depending on the strength that you need. You can use the following general guidelines based on your age. When you shop for these, take along some reading material that is printed in standard size letters such as a newspaper or similar and test out different lens strengths.



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