How Do You Know What Strength Reading Glasses To Get?

Ask the Optician

As reading glassses aren't tailored to your prescription, it's not always evident which ones to go for.
reading Glasses

As the name suggests, reading glasses are glasses that help read, see objects in close range or complete daunting tasks like threading a needle. When buying a pair of readers, there are several types to choose from, which can be good but also confusing. 

What lenses work best? How do you know what strength to get? Will the reading glasses help your astigmatism? We are here to answer all these questions and more.

Do I need reading glasses?

Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eye’s ability to focus on nearby objects. The symptoms of presbyopia are typically an age-related condition that occurs and deteriorates over a period of time. The best way to find out what strength reading glasses to get is by consulting an eye doctor and getting medical advice.

Because it is an age-related condition, we advise seeing an eye doctor regularly as the age progresses, especially if you are already experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned above.

Even though presbyopia tends to be an age-related condition, people younger than 40 also tend to get it because of the modern-day nature of working on near-distance objects, especially on digital devices.

A comfortable pair of prescription reading glasses can help with vision correction; they magnify vision, making smaller print larger and easier to read.

Eye test for readers glasses: how to find out if you need readers

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.

At home reading glasses test

When looking for reading glasses and not knowing what power to select, it can be very tempting to search for at-home tests to give you that information. Unfortunately, determining the strength of the glasses on your own can lead to selecting the wrong power and damaging your eyes.

By deciding what power to get on your own, you could end up using more power than you truly need; this could lead to your eyes getting used to it and making your vision worse.

If you need a pair of reading glasses, the best way to find out which power works for you is by consulting an eye specialist. This will prevent you from getting the wrong glasses and damaging your vision.

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 $29 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
reading glasses

Many people experience the onset of presbyopia after the age of 40, and begin to use reading glasses.

What if my glasses don’t work

If you’re already wearing reading glasses and find yourself experiencing headaches or still having difficulties reading, you might start to wonder if your reading glasses are effective or not.

Chances are you got your prescription a very long time ago and now need more power in your lenses, which means you should probably get your eyes checked.

Another reason why your reading glasses might not be working for you is that you chose the power without consulting a specialist. If you still struggle reading, you probably chose the wrong power and need to consult a specialist. Once you have that sorted, you will be able to choose between different types of lenses.

What are reading glasses and the many types you can choose from

The most common type of lenses for reading glasses are single-vision lenses; in this case, both lenses have the same power. Multifocal/progressive lenses, on the other hand, have multiple prescriptions in one lens, which makes it easier to switch between seeing close-up, in-between, and far away.

Multifocal lenses are the best choice for those looking to correct more than one problem, while single-vision lenses can be a good option if you need the same power for both eyes and only have one prescription.  Another option to consider is adding a blue light block to your lenses.

This will help with eyestrain, fatigue, and headaches whenever being in front of a screen for many hours. Check out our guide for more information on buying glasses online and the types of lenses we offer.

Will reading glasses help my astigmatism?

Although the symptoms of astigmatism and presbyopia may seem similar, reading glasses cannot help all individuals with astigmatism. It is important to remember that generic reading glasses only magnify whatever you look up close.

Because people with astigmatism may also be nearsighted or farsighted, reading glasses are not advised if you suffer from astigmatism. To determine whether you have astigmatism, we advise seeing an eye professional.

Where to buy reading glasses: 5 easy steps to buy the perfect pair

With so many options, both over-the-counter and online, it can be confusing to choose the best pair. So here are five easy steps to select the best readers from the comfort of your home and immediately start seeing better!

Step 1: Head to our website

Step 2: Head to our glasses section

Step 3: Filter to reading glasses

Step 4: Choose your favorite frames and select the power (It is possible to choose from +1.00, +1.50, +2.00, +2.50, +3.00, and +3.50)

Step 5: Securely check out online!

With SmartBuy Readers, you can invest in several pairs to always have one 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. If you have any more questions about reading glasses, ask our opticians!

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