What are Reading Glasses And How Do They Work?

What are Reading Glasses And How Do They Work?

Our vision changes as we get older - it’s a completely natural and normal part of aging. As such, we may find that our vision may not be quite as clear as it used to be. This can be especially notable when it comes to looking at things close up. This is known as presbyopia. This is a common refractive error. It’s the result of light no longer being focused correctly on the retina by the lens. This is usually caused by the eye lens becoming more rigid, and therefore less flexible, overtime. Objects therefore are more difficult to see close up, as well as harder to focus on.

This is where reading glasses come in. If you think you may be experiencing presbyopia and need reading glasses, this guide is here to help you. We’ll be going through everything you need to know about this type of glasses - what they are, how they work, and how to know if you need a pair. Let’s get into it.

What Are Reading Glasses?

These are glasses that help correct the vision of individuals with presbyopia. It helps people see close up objects more clearly. Think small print in newspapers, on menus, and certain types of hobbies like sewing and model painting.

How Do Reading Glasses Work?

Reading glasses have magnified, convex (outward curving) lenses. Simply put, they make objects appear larger than they are, so they become easier to see. This can come in especially handy when reading, which they are commonly used for.

How Do I Know If I Need Reading Glasses?

There are a couple of things that may signal that you need reading glasses. If you experience any of the following, it might be time to consider a pair:

  • Experiencing anything from the list below when you’re over 40 years old.

  • Reading for long periods makes your eyes feel tired and sore. You may even experience headaches afterwards too.

  • You find it more difficult to read things in dim light than you used to.

  • You find yourself holding letters and magazines further away so you can read them better.

  • You struggle to focus on things close up, where you didn’t previously.

What’s the Difference Between Reading Glasses and Distance Glasses?

Reading glasses and distance glasses are a bit like chalk and cheese. They have many differences. The first being what they’re designed to correct. Reading glasses have magnified glasses that help individuals with presbyopia see small details up close. Notably, they do not require a prescription. Distance glasses, on the other hand, are designed to help people who are short-sighted. These are prescription lenses that help wearers see objects more clearly in the near distance. Presbyopia is something that comes with age, whilst shortsightedness is down to the shape of someone’s cornea.

How To Choose The Best Reading Glasses For You

You don’t need a prescription to buy reading glasses, but you will need to understand the different strength levels. It’s also important to know that reading glasses have the same strength in both eyes, unlike prescription glasses.

Glasses strength is measured in units called diopters. With glasses, these tend to go up in increments of 0.25. As reading glasses are not issued by prescription, you’ll have to pop down to an opticians, chemist, or supermarket to test and buy them.

You’ll need to try different strengths of reading glasses to see which works best for you. You can determine this by this simple test - hold a magazine or newspaper around 40 cm in front of your face. With each pair of glasses, assess which makes the smallest print easier to read. If it’s hard to figure out which is best, you can opt for two pairs of reading glasses at different strengths.

You can purchase reading glasses with different types of frames. This all comes down to your personal taste. You’ll also find reading glasses with different coatings, including UV protection and anti-glare. If you plan to use your reading glasses outdoors, these types of coatings can be useful. However, if you’re going to use them only now and again when indoors, you might not need this treatment.

If you have already been prescribed glasses, but think you might have presbyopia, we recommend booking an eye test with your optician. You may need bifocal glasses. These are custom-made to help correct your vision for both conditions, whether you’re long-sighted, short-sighted, or have astigmatism.