How To Buy Reading Glasses

Reading glasses. Ewelina Karmazyn / EyeEm

Reading glasses may be a necessity as early as the age of 40, the time we begin to develop presbyopia. Presbyopia decreases our ability to focus on near objects. If your eye doctor says it's time for readers, he may suggest a pair of commercially prepared, over-the-counter (OTC) readers. OTC readers are inexpensive and available in many different styles and colors.

How to Buy Reading Glasses

  1. Get a comprehensive eye exam. Let your eye doctor decide if it's time for reading glasses. Blurry near vision is usually a sign of presbyopia in people over 40, but it may be a symptom of a more serious eye condition.
  1. Make sure you don't need a prescription. Your eye doctor will evaluate your vision to determine if OTC readers are acceptable for you. There are several valid reasons why you may need prescription reading glasses.
  2. Shop around. Check out a few different drug stores. Some stores offer a nice selection of inexpensive readers in many different styles and colors. Surprisingly, quality varies a lot. Look for solid, sturdy frames and clear, flat lenses.


  1. Avoid amazing deals. "5 pairs for $5" sound great, but the readers will probably be low quality and are likely to cause more problems than you had before.
  2. Follow your doctor’s recommendation for lens power. It’s easy to think that if you wear a +1.00, getting a +2.50 will make you see even better. This is usually not the case.
  3. OTC readers are available with full-lenses and half-lenses. Full-lenses often work better for avid readers. "Half-eyes" are designed so that you can easily look over the top of the lenses to view objects in the distance.
  1. Check to make sure that the OTC readers you choose have a neck chain. It's nice to be able to remove your reading glasses without misplacing them.

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