Having Trouble Seeing What You Read? Here’s A Reading Glasses Guide

As people age, one thing that gets noticed is that reading becomes more difficult. What used to look clear and vibrant is now blurry and hard to distinguish. This is when most people decide to go out and get reading glasses. 

Although these glasses can help improve vision, more thought needs to go into choosing them than what usually happens. For instance, some people may actually need multifocal glasses since they have a vision problem that needs correcting and not just help reading the newspaper. Reading glasses are for short-term wear.

In this article, we will go over how to choose reading glasses so you can find out which ones are right for your situation.

Who should use reading glasses?

Most people over the age of 40 could use reading glasses. Not everybody will wear them even if they have issues as they often just adjust the distance of the object they are trying to read. 

Anybody who works on a computer and needs to look at a screen all day will likely experience difficulty in reading or seeing objects clearly when they are up close to the eyes. These people are very good candidates for needing reading glasses.

You’ll recognize somebody that needs reading glasses if you hold up a smartphone for them to see something and they need to push your hand away to be able to focus on it. 

Do you need a prescription?

Luckily, it is not needed to go to an optician for a prescription for lenses. It is possible to go to a pharmacy or even a supermarket and pick up a pair of frames with lenses that are good enough for most people that have difficulty reading.

However, it is advisable to see an optician before going out and getting reading glasses. There may be an underlying issue causing problems that would need to be verified by a technician. For instance, glaucomacould be causing things to look blurry and will require treatment. Another potential issue is macular degeneration. Either of these issues will continue to get worse over time if left untreated. 

Also, if it is simply a case where you need reading glasses, the optician will be able to help you get the right power. The range is from +1 to +4 so your ideal power is somewhere in between those numbers. They can help you zero in on the right setting. 

How to know which glasses to get

The best way to go to find the right reading glasses is simply trial and error. Start by bringing along a text that you have trouble seeing from a reasonable distance. 

Then pick out the glasses with the frames you like at a +1 power and see how it is to read the text. Keep going up until you reach the proper power up to the highest at +4. If none of them help then it is clear that you will need to get a prescription. 

Picking lenses that are not the right power won’t just prevent you from reading the text, they can cause other problems. For instance, headaches are common when you strain to read. If the text is even the slightest bit blurry then you will likely end up with headaches being common. 

Most people that require reading glasses need more than one pair. Not all text is the same size and different devices will be at different distances from your eyes. What power works for reading a book may not be enough for seeing a computer screen clearly which is a bit further away.

What to look for

Cheap reading glasses from the supermarket should just be used as an inexpensive backup in case you lose your glasses. The reason being is that often those are made with cheap lenses made out of a composite that isn’t as tailored to the problem as more expensive ones. 

Those lenses can cause distortion or glare and difficulty reading clearly. They also often are very difficult to keep clean. Instead of going for bargain glasses, go to a vision center and pick from the reading glasses that they have there. Those will be made with better materials and often have a better selection of frames to choose from. Many offer free testing to settle on the exact right power number for your vision. 


Don’t take your vision for granted. If you are having trouble reading then make sure to get the right glasses. Vision rarely gets better over time so taking care of it now will prevent it from getting damaged in the future.