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How Do Reading Glasses Work?

As you get older, your close-up vision naturally deteriorates. This happens to almost everyone, which is while you’ll see memes about older people holding menus away from their faces to read them. But for many people, this is no laughing matter: the struggle is real. Reading glasses are meant to help correct vision that has deteriorated over time, allowing you to read a book comfortably or work at your computer for long periods of time without causing eye strain. 

Of course, reading glasses don’t have to be a sign of senility. These days, reading glasses come in a variety of fun styles, allowing them to enhance and embolden your everyday aesthetic. 

 Peepers reading glasses on a book

What Are Reading Glasses? 

Reading glasses are magnification glasses available over the counter, with magnifications generally ranging from +1.00 to +4.00 diopters. Reading glasses can come as sunglasses to use outside or with blue light lenses to use at a computer or screen.

 Man working on the computer wearing Peepers blue light reading glasses

How Do I Know If I Need Reading Glasses? 

We recently did a whole blog post on how to tell if you need reading glasses and the right magnification for you, which you can refer to here.

A doctor can confirm a need for reading glasses with a quick eye exam. However, good signs that you may need reading glasses include: 

  • Struggling to read in dim light
  • Finding that it’s easier to read if you hold things slightly farther away from your face
  • Having tension headaches at the end of a workday
  • Blurry vision when you try to sew or do other close work

Age can also be a great indicator of whether or not you need reading glasses. Most people experience eye degeneration starting at around 40, and eyesight continues to worsen until about age 65. 

Peepers Bengal blue light reading glasses folded on a wooden table

What Do Reading Glasses Do?

Reading glasses magnify the information coming into your eyes, making it easier for the internal lenses in your eyes to focus on nearby objects. They’re not meant to be worn all the time. You might tuck your glasses case into your purse or choose a simple cord so you can wear them around your neck. Some people even need two pairs of reading glasses: one to read very close print, like books, and another for mid-distance reading, like a computer screen. 

Reading glasses don’t cause your eyes to weaken over time, despite common myths to the contrary. However, they won’t correct underlying medical conditions like astigmatism, so it’s still important to have your yearly eye exam, especially if you’re noticing problems like doubled vision.

Peepers Eclipse half-frame blue light reading glasses on a book

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

There are all kinds of eye conditions that can cause a person to need glasses. Reading glasses are a solution to one specific eye problem called presbyopia, which is a term used to describe the struggle to see things that are close to you. The lenses curve outward and are generally worn only when you’re dealing with close-up reading (though for people with a desk job, this may still be large swathes of the day).

Distance glasses, on the other hand, are used to treat a condition called myopia, which describes the struggle to see things that are far away. These lenses curve inward to help your eyes focus on far away objects. Many people who need distance glasses wear them all the time, though they may take their glasses off in order to read.

Some people have both presbyopia and myopia--they need both reading glasses and distance glasses. In those instances, they can either swap between two pairs of glasses or get a pair of bifocals from their doctor. 

 Woman wearing Peepers reading glasses while working from home

Selecting the Best Reading Glasses for You

At Peepers, we offer an array of styles of reading glasses, allowing you to find the perfect readers to match your look. Whether you’re looking for one wear-everywhere pair of readers or you want to cultivate a collection of daring and fun statement glasses, we have what you need. Shop Oprah’s favs or search by color or frame shape to find the best readers to match your vibe.