Can I Use Over-the-Counter Reading Glasses?

As we approach our 40s, it’s really annoying how people start making the printed word smaller and more difficult to read, isn’t it? You end up looking like you are playing a trombone as you slide books out or in, closer to bright light and are squinting to read them as you joke about how your arms are now too short. Well, it happens to us all.

If your eyes have been healthy all your life to this point, your next reaction may be to run out and buy some reading glasses. The best next step though is to visit an eye doctor to have a thorough eye exam to check for any underlying eye health issues. After all, you only have one set of eyes! Many work benefit plans cover the cost of an eye exam periodically.

What you need to learn is how your vision has aged and deteriorated. Is your vision equally weaker in both eyes? Do you have astigmatism? Astigmatism causes vision to be blurry both at a distance and up close and is caused by the cornea of your eye having an oblong shape instead of spherical. Is your vision trouble strictly up close, or do you have trouble with seeing at a distance too? Tell your eye doctor that you prefer to buy ready-made reading glasses if they can work well for you.

The strength in over-the-counter reading glasses is the same in each lens and corrects for close vision only (not distance). They do not correct for astigmatism. Your eye doctor can recommend if reader glasses will work for you and what magnification power you should choose. These usually range from +1.25 to +3.25.

The power recommended may also depend upon what type of work or hobbies you do – what you need for 8 hours a day on the computer may vary from when you are doing fine needlework, for example. Then go to your Shoppers Drug Mart, where you’ll find an extensive display of ready-made reading glasses for both men and women. People often buy several pairs of glasses – either for different types of work or just so they have enough to keep stashed in different places so they are handy when needed. Life Brand offers many different sized frames and designs in powers from +1.25 to +3.25 including the popular Unisex Compact Reader. Some are available with their own carry cases.

As your eyes get weaker over time you may find you need to replace your glasses for some with a higher magnification. If you are sure your eyes are healthy, first find the frame that fits and the style that you like. To find the correct strength at the store, read the eye chart provided on the fixture without your glasses from a distance of about 14”. The first line you have difficulty reading has lens strength listed next to it. Use this strength when selecting your glasses and try them on the reading the chart. If they do not feel quite right then try the next stronger or weaker strength.

Fashionable frames can make reading glasses fun, so try them on, read more easily, find a new look and stop playing the trombone!