Have you ever asked yourself, what are reading glasses for? If you’ve reached a “certain age,” you’ve probably heard of them and know they are used for seeing close up. Before going further, I do advise you to see an eye doctor for an exam as part of your health care regime. The reason I suggest you see an eye doctor is that during the exam health issues might come to light, such as glaucoma, and it’s crucial if any do that you discuss those with your doctor.
He Said What? – Well, How Dare Him!
Reading glasses are used for reading media such as letters, magazines, books, and certain ones when looking at a computer screen. When holding a book or magazine, the distance is usually around 14 inches, and when reading at this distance becomes difficult, it might be time for reading glasses.
For me, this happened what seemed to be overnight. You see, I had gone to my eye doctor for a regular eye exam. I had been wearing contacts and glasses for years, so this was a routine exam for me. My doctor asked if I was having trouble seeing print while reading, and my answer was “no.” His reply was, “well, you’re getting to that age where you might start having difficulty in seeing up close.” What? What did he mean by “that age.” Did he just call me old lol?
Within two weeks of that visit, I was making that familiar motion of holding a book close and then far away and then close to in an attempt at being able to see it clearly enough to read – for this I blame him. I know if he hadn’t brought it up I would have been fine – just kidding. This was my introduction to the world of reading glasses.
What Causes the Age-Related Change in Vision?
The medical term for this phenomenon is called Presbyopia. Presbyopia is age-related, usually starting around the age of 40. It is caused by a loss of flexibility of the lens of the eyes. With this inflexibility, it becomes more difficult for the lens to change shape to be able to focus on seeing up close. At about age 60, the progression of Presbyopia usually stops and prescription changes for glasses occur less often.
Tell Me More
Nowadays, most reading glasses are made from plastic, which makes them lighter than the glass counterpart. There are reading glasses that have full frames where the prescription strength is the same throughout. Another type of reading glasses is called Half Eyes or Ben Franklin glasses and they sit lower on the nose. This allows for looking down for near work and up and over for distance.
Custom Made or Ready to Wear?
Custom made glasses are obtained from an eye doctor. During an eye exam among other things, your doctor will give you a vision test. This exam will provide him with the information needed to give you an exact prescription strength for reading glasses. The cost of prescription glasses is usually more than ready-to-wear glasses.
Ready-to-wear, also known as ready-made reading glasses, have some advantages over custom-made, but the main two are cost and styles available.
- Cost – usually less expensive than custom reading glasses.
- This better allows you to have several pairs for the price you pay for one pair of custom-made reading glasses.
- Having many styles available, the less expensive ready-to-wear glasses allows you the opportunity to buy a pair maybe you usually wouldn’t if they were expensive. This will enable you to try something fun or even purchasing a pair to match an outfit, for instance maybe animal print or a louder color than you would normally wear.
- Many times ready-to-wear glasses are returnable so if you don’t like them, you can return them.
There can also be some disadvantages to ready-to-wear reading glasses. Some people may experience headaches, nausea, and eyestrain due to having the incorrect strength for their eyes – more common if your prescription is different in each eye. However, there are now also reading glasses you can get online that have multiple prescription strengths.
When purchasing ready-to-wear readers, especially in a store, be sure to examine them for any defects such as scratches, bubbles, or waves on the lens.
The strength of ready to wear reading glasses start at +1.00 and increase in .25 increments.
+1.00; +1.25; +1.50; +1.75
+2.00: +2.25; +2.50; +2.75
+3.00 and so on
Now that you know the strengths available, how do you know what strength you need? One of the easiest ways is to take an eye chart test online like the one found by clicking here at Readers.com.
Reading glasses come in so many styles for both men and women. Here are just a few you might want to take a look at.
Taking Care of your Reading Glasses
When you purchase your reading glasses you want to be sure to take care of them correctly.
- Put your glasses in their case when not in use.
- Wearing them on a chain comes in handy. This can prevent them from being put down and accidentally setting something on top of them and ending up crushed.
- Don’t wear them on top of your head as this can misshape them.
- You also want to clean them. Because reading glasses are taken on and off there is more chance of them getting fingerprints and debris on them.
- Be careful not to leave them on the dashboard of a car as the heat can distort their shape.
The steps to cleaning are:
- Rinse with tap water.
- Spray on special lens cleaner.
- Use a microfiber cloth to clean. Do not use your shirt, kleenex or toilet paper as these could scratch the lens.
- Using the cloth rub the lens in a circular motion until the glasses are free of smudges and debris.
So You’re All Set
Unlike in days gone by today, there are so many nice options to choose from when purchasing reading glasses. No longer are the “Ben Franklin” glasses that set down on your nose the only style available. Start by figuring out the strength you need and from there the possibilities are many. Enjoy the process – you might find that you actually like your new accessory.
What experiences have you had with eye health and reading glasses? We would love to hear. Comment below.