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