All About Reading Glasses Strength — Your FAQs Answered

If you are dealing with any amount of trouble seeing nearby objects, you might be thinking about getting reading glasses. You want to understand both the reasons why you are having trouble with near vision as well as what your options are in dealing with it.

Below we address some of the most common questions we encounter about reading glasses strength. We will look at whether you might need reading glasses, how to read your glasses prescription, and even when to get an eye exam.

As you already know, reading glasses are not one-size-fits-all. Selecting the correct glasses strength can revitalize both how you see and feel. Yet choosing the right prescription strength may be easier than you think.

Do I need reading glasses?

If you have trouble seeing things brought closer to your eyes, you likely need reading glasses. Most adults over the age of 40 need reading glasses; but a growing younger population needs reading glasses, too. Many vision professionals believe this is the result of increased screen time.

Any issue with how the eye captures light through its lens onto its retina—from where it is processed by visual centers in the brain—will lead to poor eyesight. When people need reading glasses, it means that the eye has trouble processing light from nearby sources. Two vision conditions are frequently associated with needing reading glasses: presbyopia and hyperopia.

Presbyopia is the most common eye condition that drives people to need reading glasses, affecting most over age 40. Much like how the skin loses elasticity with age, so does the eye of the lens. As a result, the eye cannot change shape as easily to capture the light coming from objects that are close by.

 

There are several other eye conditions that can cause you to need reading glasses, regardless of your age. Signs you may need reading glasses include: 

  • Holding reading materials—like menus or instructions—far away from your face to be able to read them
  • Getting tension headaches after reading or working on a computer
  • Struggling to see small fonts in dim lights
  • Difficulty threading a needle or doing other up-close work

Are There Alternatives to Using Reading Glasses?

Not wearing reading glasses when you need them can cause eye strain and headaches. 

Although there are alternatives to using reading glasses, most of the alternatives are much pricier than over-the-counter reading glasses. These alternatives include prescription multifocal lenses and laser eye surgery.

What’s the Difference Between Bifocal and Multifocal Lenses? 

It is possible to have problems seeing objects both near and far, which require different lens adjustments. Bifocal and multifocal lenses are used in these situations, prescribed by vision professionals who can make the appropriate measurements.

Bifocal lenses have two different prescriptions in the same lens. One prescription is for distance vision correction, while the other is for reading. Bifocal lenses may be worn all-day, as the prescriptions are positioned in the lens for the angles where people are most likely to need each correction. The area of a bifocal lens closer to the nose has the reading prescription.

Multifocal lenses, on the other hand, have more than two prescriptions. Typically, multifocal lenses offer a distance prescription, an intermediary prescription, and a reading prescription.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Laser Eye Surgery? 

Laser eye surgery can correct vision problems and eliminate your need to wear glasses. However, laser eye surgery can be prohibitively expensive, and your eyes have to need a certain degree of prescription in order to qualify for the surgery. 

Additionally, there may be several risks to laser eye surgery, including:

  • Dry eyes
  • Astigmatism
  • Reduced vision in low-light conditions
  • Undercorrection or overcorrection of vision
  • Regression, where eyes revert to how they were before surgery

Are Cheap Reading Glasses Bad for Your Eyes? 

Cheap reading glasses can be bad for your eyes if cheap materials are used. Low-quality lenses may not consistently perform at the strength they are supposed to. As a result, low-quality eyewear can cause tension headaches and frustration with your field of vision while wearing your reading glasses. 

Sometimes, this means that looking through low-quality lenses doesn’t consistently work, with random blurry spots or other distortions for whoever’s wearing them. Low-quality lenses may only magnify one portion of the lens, so that your eye can only focus through a single point in your glasses to successfully see as-intended.

At Peepers, we use aspheric lenses, which means that the strength of the reading glasses is evenly distributed through the lens. This makes it easy for your eyes to see out of Peepers prescription reading glasses and receive the magnification they need. 

How Do You Know What Strength Reading Glasses You Need?

The best way to identify the reading glasses strength you need is to see an eye care professional like an optometrist. Your yearly vision exam is a great time to ask about the need for reading glasses. 

Keep in mind that even if you see an optometrist to receive a prescription for your reading glasses, you don’t have to buy the glasses through their office. Purchasing reading glasses through your eye doctor can be much more expensive than purchasing reading glasses elsewhere, and once you have your glasses prescription, it’s often unnecessary. 

 If you are not ready to see an eye doctor right now or you want to purchase reading glasses before your next visit with your optometrist or optician, you may want to try a simple at-home reading glasses strength test. 

What is the Reading Glasses Strength Test? 

The at-home reading glasses strength test involves a printable visual chart that you can use to test your own vision at home. This eye chart helps you determine what the smallest line of text is that you can read from a set distance. Based on the line you read, the test can estimate a prescription strength that may help you see.

For this test to work, you need to print the PDF on a quality printer at actual size (rather than “Fit to Page”). Then, hold the paper an arm’s length away from your face — approximately 12–15 inches away from your face.

Begin reading the test chart from top to bottom, stopping when you can read a line clearly. The prescription number associated with that line can guide your selection of reading glases. 

How Do You Understand Your Reading Glasses Prescription?

Your reading glasses prescription tells you the magnification you need for reading glasses in diopters.

Reading glasses at Peepers start at +1.00 magnification and generally go as high as +3.00 magnification, though we do offer select styles in +3.25 magnification and +3.50 magnification. Our site is even organized so that you can shop by strength

Learn More About Reading Glasses Strength with Peepers

Here at Peepers, we pride ourselves on offering stylish reading glasses and blue light glasses at an affordable cost. But even more important that the products we sell is knowing that our glasses help you live life to its fullest.

If you have more questions about what strength reading glasses are right for you, the materials we use in our Oprah-recommended readers, or how to care for your reading glasses once you’ve found the right strength, contact us today.