Eyeglasses | Optical Centre Smartbuyglasses UK

Which Type of Reading Glasses Are Right For You?

Reading glasses are, as the name suggests, eyeglasses that aid the wearer to see or read objects in close range such as small text, mobile phones, computer screens or threading a needle.


There are several types of cheap reading glasses to choose from. They will all address the problem of not being able to focus on objects that are close to you. While it’s easy to get hold of single-vision reading glasses online and over-the-counter, we advise that if you think you need reading glasses, you should get this confirmed first with an eye test. We recommend that you also get checked for problems such as glaucomacataracts and macular degeneration.


Signs you need reading glasses


Have you noticed your vision is blurry lately while reading a book or using your mobile? This is one of the key signs that it’s time to buy reading glasses. Other symptoms include squinting when looking at something within close range, difficulties reading small print text, headaches and eye strain after reading, holding your reading material at arm's length to see better, and increased eye fatigue. 


Who needs reading glasses?


As we approach the age of 40, the lenses in our eyes gradually lose their flexibility and get stiff, meaning vision tends to get unclear, resulting in needing to pull up objects very close or farther away. Some signs that you need reading glasses may be that you feel fatigued or even getting headaches from trying to read small text, squinting when looking at something in close range, or having to hold a book at arm’s length to see better.


These are symptoms of presbyopia, typically an age-related condition that occurs and deteriorates over a period of time. Since this leads to losing the ability to flex and focus at near distance, presbyopic patients hold objects farther away from them, as much as possible. These days people who are younger than 40 also tend to get presbyopic, owing to the modern-day nature of working on near distance objects, especially on digital devices. Hence, investing in a comfortable pair of prescription reading glasses can aid in vision correction as they magnify vision, thereby making smaller print bigger and easier to read. This is the best solution as fighting through the discomfort will not help your eyes. 


Some individuals feel that wearing reading glasses worsens their condition because when they take off their glasses, the text appears blurrier and smaller. Did you know that you see with your brain? This means that your brain is used to seeing clear, legibly sized text while you’re wearing your glasses when they’re taken off, the contrast is evident. 


What strength reading glasses do you need?


Since presbyopia is of a progressive nature, we suggest starting out with low powered reading glasses for patients in their 40s and high powered lenses for those in their 60’s. Glasses with +1.00 power are considered to be of low strength and have relatively lesser magnification, whilst those with +3.50 are considered to be high power lenses.


You can easily determine the strength of reading glasses to order by consulting the chart below. We recommend printing this out rather than reading it from your computer screen. When you print it, the table should be about 5 inches wide. Then, try reading it at 14 inches distance, without glasses.



If you’ll be using reading glasses primarily while using the computer, we advise choosing a lower reading glass power. A lower reading glass power is used when the viewing distance is longer. In contrast, if you’ll be using reading glasses to see objects that are very close or very small, you’ll need stronger strength lenses with higher magnification than what the age-based reading glasses power chart would recommend.


Generally speaking, if there are two reading glasses between which you can’t choose, it’s better to select the ones with lower power because more often than not, reading glasses that are too strong may cause more discomfort than the weaker powered ones.


It is important to remember that reading glasses have the same power range in both lenses. While readers aren’t custom-built to your exact prescription, one advantage is that they are normally cheaper than prescription glasses as they are mass-produced. Starting from just £25 with brands like SmartBuy Readers, you can invest in several pairs so you always have a pair nearby. Keep a pair in the office, one in your handbag, one in your car, and one at home so you always have easy access to clearer vision.


Reading Glasses Online vs. Prescription Glasses


While your eyes likely have two different prescriptions, over-the-counter or reading glasses online offer the same prescription in both eyes. This means it is up to you to determine your own eye correction needs when it comes to your cheap reading glasses. 


With the SmartBuy Collection, you can get a more accurate prescription to add to your favourite frames. However, this does require a trip to your optometrist. Commonly known as “cheaters”, reading glasses cut out the middleman and allow you quicker access to vision correction. That’s where the SmartBuy Readers Collection comes in. However, note that over-the-counter or reading glasses online are only for minor corrections when it comes to reading small print and shouldn’t be used to replace your every-day prescription glasses. 


Presbyopia (long-sightedness) differs in severity for everyone and as a result, lenses are available for several levels of magnification. Most people fall between +1.00 and +3.00 but even within this range, choosing the wrong magnification level might result in blurred vision and may feel uncomfortable for your eyes.


Therefore, it is important that you choose the appropriate lens type when purchasing your reading glasses online or over-the-counter.


Lens Types


For prescription reading glasses, you can get multifocal or progressive lenses as opposed to the typical single vision cheap reading glasses. If you think you need reading glasses that offer different “ADD powers” in each eye, then you should consider going to your optometrist. They might suggest you look into the following lens types when you go to buy your prescription reading glasses online. 


  • Multifocals: While single-vision lenses will improve your presbyopia symptoms, for those who have more complex vision problems, you may need to consider other types of advanced lenses.
  • Progressive Lenses: Progressive lenses feature a gradient of increasing lens power which the eye naturally adjusts to, meaning that you can seamlessly transition between different prescriptions. This is great if you want just one pair of cheap reading glasses to fix your presbyopia, nearsightedness, farsightedness, or any other visual problems.


Check out our guide for more information on reading glasses online and the types of eyeglasses we offer. 


Most Popular Reading Sunglasses 


The best value-for-money reading eyeglasses you can buy online would be those from the SmartBuy Readers collection. This exclusive collection was launched in 2018, generally for our customers who are above the age of 40, who could use an extra boost of magnification throughout their daily life. SmartBuy Readers reading glasses are affordable, yet sturdy thanks to their well-thought-out design. Every style comes with ready-made prescription lenses.It is possible to choose from +1.00, +1.50, +2.00, +2.50, +3.00 and +3.50. We have partnered with World Vision for this collection, allowing us to give back to women and children in Zambia.



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