Reading Glasses: How To Find Your Fit


Over 50 million pairs of over-the-counter reading glasses are sold in the U.S. each year [1].  Purchased online or in retail stores, many of these glasses have one thing in common – they are bought by someone who needs them, but are not sure of the appropriate strength for the current condition of their eyes.  Since wearing the wrong strength of reading glasses results in increased eyestrain and headaches, it’s essential to understand how to select the right reading glasses without a prescription for you.

The Natural Aging Process

As we get older, and starting around age 40, the muscles in our eyes start to take a bit longer to focus on the text of a book or other items being viewed up close.  This condition, known as presbyopia, is a natural part of aging and has no cure; however, reading glasses often help minimize the symptoms and relieve eye strain and headaches typically associated with the condition [2].

23Understanding Strength of Reading Glasses

When selecting a pair of non-prescription reading glasses, it’s important to select a frame that is comfortable, matches your personality, and works with the shape of your face.

More importantly, you’ll want to make sure you are selecting reading glasses that have the correct magnification value.  The strength of reading glasses are measured in diopters, and represented by a number that indicates how powerful a lens is.  Reading glasses typically start with a near vision, or NV, strength of +1.0 and progress in strength by .25 diopters.

When recommending reading glasses for their patients, optometrists typically use a range based on different age groups; this starts at +0.75 diopters (or magnification) for those ages 40 to 43 and progresses to + 2.5 for ages 58 and up.

Screenshot 2018-05-22 15.54.21.png

As a word of warning, simply testing or trying on different reading strength glasses at a department store or pharmacy may not be the best way to identify the correction you need for reading vision.  Your eyes tend to adjust to the power quickly, which means seeing clearly in the moment may cause eye strain if worn over prolonged periods of time. If the power is too weak or too strong for you, it is common to experience dizziness, headaches, and eye irritation.  

It is also worth noting that most readers carried in department or drug stores do not typically offer any protection against UV rays, which can actually result in the sun’s rays being  intensified by the magnification of the lenses of the readers. lens to make matters worse, the magnification can actually intensify the rays. Crow’s feet and cataracts await you.

How to Select the Right Over-The-Counter Reading Glasses for You

Like reading the eye chart at your eye doctor’s office, printing an at-home diopter test can help to determine the correct strength of reading glasses for you.   When using an at-home diopter test, it’s important that you attempt to read the top line without wearing glasses and continue down until coming to the first line you can read clearly – this should indicate the magnification that is right for you.  You can also test the vision of each eye by covering one eye at a time while reading the chart.

Another option is to use EyeQue’s Personal Vision Tracker.  Similar to the eye exams offered by an optometrist, the Personal Vision Tracker accurately recommends a strength for reading glasses based on your age and specific results – the only difference is that the information is gathered from an at-home, self-administered test that uses the light of your smartphone to determine the correct strength for you.

Other Articles You May Like:

Reading Vision and Farsightedness, What’s the Difference?

What Do You See When You Have An Astigmatism?

5 Tips Eye Doctors Wish Their Patients Knew