If you are having trouble reading or need to squint a little too much for small texts and fine prints, you probably need reading glasses. This will save you from some really gruesome headaches, and also prevent your eyesight from further deterioration. When you find yourself in a position like this, your first instinct might be getting reading glasses from the drugstore. They do have a nice collection for readers, with styles and colors to suit every personality and aesthetics, but are they right for you? Deciding where to buy reading glasses can be hard, and we are here to help!

Reading glasses are available in many strengths and powers. These factors are determined by the type of lens and its thickness. It can be challenging to find the one that suits you best, especially if you haven’t had any experience with contact lenses or glasses in the past. In this article, we’ll guide you through the selection process of reading glasses, along with some great tips so that you catch up on that reading you’ve been putting off.

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Where to Buy Reading Glasses: Best Tips Everyone Should Know

The first thing to consider when buying reading glasses is whether to get them over-the-counter or through prescription.

  • Eye Exam

No matter where you buy your reading glasses from, it’s best to have your eyesight tested. This is especially important if it’s difficult for you to read, use the computer for long hours, or if you experience frequent headaches, double vision or blurred vision. It is imperative to have an ophthalmologist’s opinion to make the right decision.

Reading glasses aren’t an emergency situation, so schedule a proper and thorough eye exam. Having trouble with reading after the age of 40 is called ‘presbyopia’, but having a double or blurred vision can have other underlying causes as well, which can’t be taken care of with reading glasses alone.

Once you start using glasses with power, schedule yearly appointments to keep an eye out for problems like macular degeneration, cataracts or glaucoma. This isn’t to scare you with fancy terms, most of them have very common and simple treatments but shouldn’t be put off.

  • Drugstore Reading Glasses

Getting over-the-counter reading glasses from the drugstore is an option you might want to consider for short term use. These glasses are also available from local department stores and several general retailers or small shops. You don’t need a prescription for them, which is the part where it gets a little tricky. If you’ve never used glasses before, you don’t know what power you’ll need or if the same lens power and strength is required for both eyes. This makes the decision difficult. This variety of reading glasses is only recommended to those who have the same vision in both eyes and need the exact same lenses, and don’t have ‘astigmatism’ – a condition that causes blurred vision. These conditions certainly can’t be self-diagnosed.

The power and strength of lens for most drugstore reading glasses are in the ranges of +1 to +4. If you don’t have an impaired distant vision and need to try out the reading glasses just for reading and short-term use, it might be an affordable option to go for over-the-counter reading glasses. The best way to purchase such reading glasses is to keep some reading material with you, try the glasses on and do a little reading test. In this way, you can assess which one suits you best.

An even cheaper variety can be found at the dollar store, but we won’t recommend that as it lacks some of the most important qualities that all reading glasses must-have. For what it’s worth, you can find the one with round frames and use it for a harry potter themed party.

  • Prescription Reading Glasses

Prescription reading glasses are for long term use and also require frequent follow-ups. They also help with conditions like myopia, astigmatism and unequal strength in each eye. Low power reading glasses in the range of +1.25 – +1.5 helps with light reading and computer work. If you have nearsightedness and have trouble reading from objects that are close, stronger power in the range of +2.0 to +2.5 is required. With increasing age, the power can also increase.

In some cases, one lens power is required for close reading, and the other for extended use. This means that you may need reading glasses with two different lenses, or two different pairs altogether depending on your activity. It’s best to not compromise on the quality of the lens and frame.

While over-the-counter reading glasses start at as less as $1, prescription glasses are far more expensive. However, you need to realize that the prescription glasses are much more potent and durable, it’s an investment you are making for your health. Besides reading glasses, multifocal lenses or glasses can also be used to improve vision. Surgery is also an option with LASIK and refractive lens.

  • Online Buying

Buying reading glasses online is quite a gamble. For one thing, you won’t be able to try them on first. Even though you can choose the type of lens and power to make a careful selection, there are other factors to consider when it comes to glasses. You can’t assess if they go well with the shape of your face, and if the frames will be comfortable. Even when buying from a reliable source, you can’t be sure about the quality of the reading glasses. Although online shopping makes life easy and saves a lot of time, for reading glasses we’ll suggest going to the store and handpicking your reading buddies!

  • Designer Reading Eyewear

With the advancements of technology, you can now find designer wear even when it comes to reading glasses. They tailor to different activities, environments and vision needs. The frames range from contemporary to old-school, classic designs with a high quality lens. This variety is available online, and you can find many options from plastic to more natural and ecofriendly materials. The price range is more towards the high end, and they can be custom made on order as well.

 

Types of Reading Glasses

There are many types of reading glasses available in the market. While the frames can range from bendable to rigid, metal to plastic, the lens is also of different kinds and having an idea about them really helps to make a sound decision. Here are the five most common types of reading glasses.

  • Single Vision Reading Glasses

These are the most common variety, ideal for those who have trouble seeing either near or far. As the name suggests, there’s single power throughout both lenses, and the glasses have a full field of vision so that you can see clearly for distances up to 18 inches. These can be found over-the-counter easily.

  • Bifocal Lens

Bifocal lenses are the prescription types with two different powers within a single lens. This allows you to use the same pair of reading glasses for both nearsightedness and farsightedness.

  • Trifocal Lens

As the name suggests, these glasses have a lens with three powers to correct up-close vision, distance vision, and intermediate distances.

  • Progressive Lenses

This is specifically designed to correct vision for presbyopia, and the users are mostly in their 40s and 50s with classic symptoms. These lenses offer three different vision powers all within one lens. This allows for a natural and clear vision.

  • Task-Specific Glasses

These are used for specific tasks that are difficult to do, such as long term use of computer, troubles reading fine texts or vision problems with a specific distance.

 

Considerations When Buying Reading Glasses

Reading glasses are a lot more than their strength and power, they are apparel and a part of your look when you are out in public. Not to mention that they’ll be resting on your face for the better part of the day. So the safety, comfort, and appearance of the reading glasses are also equally important and something you should consider. There’s no harm looking up for different brands online before making a decision. When in doubt, it’s best to go for prescription glasses as it is a much safer choice.

The store-bought a variety of reading glasses that don’t have an anti-reflective coating, whereas the ones bought from optical retailers do. This feature reduces glare which is always a plus point when using the computer or reading outdoors. Another thing to consider is the tint. A tint percentage helps reduce fatigue and strain with extensive use.

 

Bottom Line

Having all the necessary information about reading glasses is important to make a decision, but at the end of the day, only an eye specialist can help you with visual problems in the best possible way. Even if you are going for over-the-counter reading glasses, do get an opinion to at least know your lens power. Also, don’t believe in the myths circling around reading glasses. Regardless of what others say, they don’t weaken the eyes with long use, and you’ll still need them after having cataract surgery. Happy Reading!