Off the rack – how to choose reading glasses

reading glasses

Getting your eyes checked on a regular basis is advisable. Not only can an optician give you a correct prescription for reading glasses (see here if you need a new pair of reading glasses), but they can also help spot early signs of conditions such as glaucoma. Once you have your prescription, you may wish to shop off the rack. Let’s look at how to choose the right pair of reading glasses.


Choosing the lens strength

Don’t panic. This is nowhere near as complicated as it may seem. If understanding lens strength has never been your strong point, with labels like ‘+3.25 diopter’ meaning nothing to you, simply revert to a system of trial and error. Start with trying on the smallest number and work through the lens strengths until you reach your preferred lens. The numbers increase in 0.25 increments, giving you plenty of room to find your ideal lens strength.


Actually read something

All too often, people choosing off the rack drugstore reading glasses are seen trying on the various frames and paying attention to how they look, rather than to whether the lens strength is right for them. Where they do check the lenses are the correct strength, these people may only give a glance at the back of their hand or – quite bizarrely – look up and look around into the distance, as if they are miraculously on the verge of discovering a self-varying lens that is ideal for close-up focus and distance viewing.

Take some text with you, or read something on a device. If you find yourself moving the paper/device away from your face so as to be at almost arm’s length, you know that the lenses perched on your nose are the incorrect strength.


Choose big frames

If you haven’t had your eyes checked in some time, you could be unsure as to which lens strength will benefit you most. What you need to bear in mind is that lenses are not one thickness across their full width and height. The “sweet spot” that matches your prescription should be in the middle of the glasses, directly in your forwards facing line of sight. By purchasing larger frames, this sweet spot is likely to be physically much larger than would be expected from a pair of lenses fitted to much more narrow frames (this making the lens much smaller and the sweet spot particularly hard to find). 

If you are concerned that you may be choosing an incorrect lens strength, or if you would like assistance in choosing frames that suit your face shape, for example, make an appointment with your optician. However, if you do wish to trial some drugstore reading glasses, following the above tips will help ensure the most practical outcome.


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