How to Choose Reading Glasses

How to Choose Reading Glasses

Although you might have the best vision for most of your youthful life, there will come a time when your perfect vision will start to deteriorate. This usually happens once you get past the age of 40 where you start to experience a decline in visual acuity. Although it’s quite unfortunate, if not annoying, presbyopia, as it’s commonly known, is a normal age-related condition that weakens the lens inside your eyes making it difficult to focus small prints or objects near you. So, if you’re facing difficulty reading street signs or instructions on your medicine bottles, then learning how to choose reading glasses will be quite inevitable.

Just as we’ve mentioned earlier, age is one major reason that affects vision clarity. You see, as you age, the internal lenses in your eyes become weaker and incapable of focusing objects from near to far away. Other times, your eyes may feel tired or even hurt when reading, experience a headache when trying to read, or have trouble reading smaller prints. So, with that said, this short guide will help you understand how to weigh your options by discussing key factors that will help you choose the right reading glasses.


How to Choose Reading Glasses: An Ultimate Guide


The Magnification

When choosing reading glasses, the first factor you need to consider during your search is the magnification. You see, the strength or rather the magnification of reading glasses is rated or measured using units called diopters. The lowest strength is usually 1.00 diopters while the highest strength is 4.00 diopters.

As a rule of thumb, the strength of the magnification increases with increments of +.25 units giving you a chance to choose the right reading glasses that will match your needs. But, how do you choose the magnifying strength of reading glasses?

  • Well, the first option you might consider is to visit an eye doctor who will conduct a few tests to determine the right prescription for you. Once you get the results, purchase the right reading glasses that will match your exact condition.
  • Another way you can select the right reading glasses that suit your condition is by checking the label on the glasses to determine the lens power. the diopter unit on the lens or the arm of the glasses is usually indicated with a “+” sign followed by a number that ranges from +1.00, +1.25, +1.50, +1.75, +2.00 all the way to +4.00.
  • Another strategy you can use to test the strength of your reading glasses is by using a printable diopter eye chart. To use this chart, you simply need to wear a pair of reading glasses then hold the chart about 14 – 16 inches away. Start reading the chart from the lowest point moving up until you’re able to see the words clearly. The smallest line has a dioptric strength of +1.25 while the highest line has a strength of +4.00.


Custom vs Readymade Glasses


Now, there are times when your eyes might need different prescriptions such as shortsightedness on one eye and long-sightedness on the other. In such a condition, over counter readymade reading glasses may not help since they can’t be adjusted to meet the different conditions in each eye. This, therefore, means that custom glasses (such as prescription glasses) are the best to consider, as the lenses can easily be adjusted to meet each eye’s condition.


Shape and Size


Reading glasses come in a wide range of shapes and sizes to suit a variety of factors. The first one is the shape of your eyes. Now, some people have eyes that are close together while others have eyes that are spaced far apart. To avoid eyestrain, an ophthalmologist can customize a pair of reading glasses that have spaced or close lenses to prevent eyestrain.

Another factor that can determine the shape and size of your reading glasses is the shape of your face. Now, different people have unique facial contours meaning you have to choose reading glasses with the right frame shape that will keep you comfortable.

For instance, if you have a rounded face, glasses with bold square or rectangular angles are the best. If you have a triangular or a rectangular-shaped face, then rounded, oval or curved style glasses are the best.


The Lenses


When selecting reading glasses, most people focus on the frame and the strength of the lens and forget to check one of the most important factors, which is the lens material and the design. Now, glass is commonly used in lenses due to the exceptional optics it offers. However, glass is quite heavy and can easily break when your reading glasses fall off.

To solve this problem, plastic lenses usually made of plastic polymer (CR-39) were developed. These lenses are light, cost-effective, and have excellent optical quality. Polycarbonate lenses are other options you can consider. These lenses are lighter and are more impact-resistant as compared to CR-39 plastic lenses. High-index plastic lenses are also smart options you can consider. These lenses are thinner, lighter, and have a higher refractive index as compared to plastic lenses.

Other than the lens material, you can also consider the design of the lenses by choosing your best option from a variety of categories. The first is single vision lenses that can be modified to correct near, intermediate, or distant visions.

Bi-focal and tri-focal lenses are other options. These lenses are designed with two and three sections that correct distance, intermediate and near visions. The last option is the progressive lenses. Unlike bi-focal and tri-focal lenses, these ones have a smooth transition between the distant and near vision that prevents you from noticing the dividing lines.


Frame Type


Another factor you need to consider when choosing reading glasses is the frame material. In most cases, glasses come in plastic and metal frame materials. Plastic is a smart choice as it comes in a variety of different colors. Metal on the other hand is durable and resistant to wear and tear. Some metal frames such as titanium are lightweight and flexible making them a better choice over plastic.


Frame Thickness


Frame thickness is another factor you should consider when shopping for a pair of reading glasses. In most cases, reading glasses come in either thin or thick frames. If you intend to make a fashion statement, then glasses with thick frames are the best to consider. Such glasses make a bold statement that de-emphasizes most of your facial features such as prominent noses and chins.

On the other hand, thin frames are barely noticeable meaning they emphasize more on your eyes and facial features. So, if you want other people to notice your face and not your glasses, then thin frames are the ones to choose from.


Frame Color


Something else you’ll need to look at when choosing reading glasses is the color of the frame. Now, why consider this factor? You see, for those people that have some taste in fashion, choosing a frame color that blends with your skin tone, eye color, and hair color is very important. For instance, if you have a pink undertone, choosing cool-toned frames such as blue, green, grey, and clear is the best option. If you have a pink and golden undertone, choosing warm frames such as orange, gold, yellow, tortoise, brown and red is another great option.

When it comes to hair colors, black hair blends well with dark frames while white/grey hair blends well with brighter colored frames. Red hair and brown hair blend well with dark frames while blonde hair goes well with warm-colored frames such as tortoiseshell.


Reading Needs


How are you planning to use your reading glasses? This is another factor you need to consider when choosing a pair of reading glasses. If you’re planning to get a pair of glasses that can be worn all the time, half-eye frames are the best to consider as the upper part can be used for viewing distant objects while the lower part can be used for reading.

If you’re the type of person that enjoys reading while outside, a pair of tinted reading glasses is a great option for you. These types of glasses block most of the sun’s rays to prevent you from harming your eyes while reading.

If you’re struggling to read your computer’s screen, a pair of computer readers can help. When choosing such glasses, always make sure the magnifying strength is half the power of normal reading glasses. For instance, if your normal reading glasses have a power of +2.00, then your computer glasses should have a power of probably +1.25 units.



In case you’ve been struggling to find a pair of reading glasses to correct your specific eye condition, then this guide has discussed key factors that you can count on when making your choice. As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when choosing a pair of reading glasses other than just the strength of the lenses. Factors such as the shape of your face, your color tone, the length and width of the frame arms, and the material of the lenses are just a few of the factors that really count when choosing your reading glasses.

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