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Reading Glasses:Choosing the Correct Lens Strength For Your Reading Glasses

Updated on April 28, 2014
For clear, undistorted vision, choose reading glasses that have high optical quality lenses.
For clear, undistorted vision, choose reading glasses that have high optical quality lenses. | Source

What lens power do I need in my reading glasses?

At around age 40 most people discover that their arms are not long enough to read small print clearly. As part of normal aging, the eyes lose their ability to focus at different distances, which usually becomes most noticeable when trying to read something up close. Reading becomes even more difficult for long periods of time and may create eyestrain which is often characterized by headaches, tiredness and blurry vision. Reading glasses can easily solve this.

Since we read at so many different distances, choosing the right lens power for your reading glasses requires that you evaluate where you do most of your closework. If you don’t have a distance correction, you can use your age as a guideline to determine approximately what lens strength you might need. At around age 40, start with a +1.00, as you approach age 50, a +2.00 lens power might be best for you. Once your lens strength gets beyond a +3.00, custom made prescription eyewear may be necessary. Not everyone can be corrected with over the counter reading glasses. For unequal corrections, ones with a significant amount of astigmatism or prescriptions requiring a high lens strength; over the counter reading glasses will correct you but prescription reading glasses will give you the best correction and the clearest vision.

Since everyone's vision needs are so varied, determining where you want to use your reading glasses will determine what lens power you will need. Reading glasses should not be confused with computer reading glasses. They require two different strengths because they are used at different distances. In order for any pair of reading glasses to give you the best correction, they should have the right power for the distance at which their use is intended.

If you don't have a prescription from an eye care professional then using a near vision eye chart will help to determine the correct lens power for you. Reading distance is usually measured at 14-16 inches. Computer distance can vary from 18 to 32 inches. The further you are from the screen, the less of a correction you will need in your computer reading glasses. The easiest way to figure this out is to determine your correction at near and then try half of that correction for your computer distance. The most accurate way would be to have a licensed optician analyze your eyeglass prescription to figure out your best correction for you at your primary working distance.

Over the counter reading glasses are a less expensive alternative to prescription eyewear. For clear, undistorted vision, choose reading glasses that have high optical quality lenses. If possible, hold the lenses up to the light and examine the lenses for any possible defects such as tiny bubbles or waves. Optical quality lenses have uniform curves throughout the lens which will provide clear, undistorted vision and will not cause any additional strain on your eyes.

As we age and the muscles in your eyes lose further elasticity, you will probably need a new correction. Rather than just replacing your readers with stronger ones, take the time to have a dilated eye exam just to make sure any eye related disease have not been overlooked.

Use This Chart As A Guide For Choosing Your Reading Glasses Lens Strength
Use This Chart As A Guide For Choosing Your Reading Glasses Lens Strength | Source
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