Reading glasses are often thought of as the lesser sibling of everyday eyeglasses. However, just because they are used for only a portion of the day – as opposed to being necessary for clear vision throughout the wearer’s waking hours – doesn’t mean that they are any less important (see EyeBuyDirect for a wide range). The fact is that eyeglasses are eyeglasses, and that means they must be suitable for the job in hand, whether in use for one minute, one hour, or one entire day, they must allow the wearer to see with clarity.
Many people fail to take this into account, and they rush into buying reading glasses without considering the purchase perhaps as fully as they would if the glasses were being bought with all-day use in mind.
Should I buy off the rack?
The main advantage of buying reading glasses off the rack in a drugstore is that you will typically be able to pick up a pair for a significantly lower price than designer options. However, there are some major considerations here.
First, buying off the rack means that the glasses won’t be measured to fit your face. Things like the length of the arms, the distance between the center of the lenses, and any molding around the ears cannot be guaranteed when buying off the rack. This means that although you may think you are picking up a bargain, the reading glasses will, in fact, hang off your face in an awkward manner that makes them not necessarily uncomfortable, but certainly noticeable.
Secondly, not every prescription for eyeglasses is the same for both eyes. When you buy off the rack, you are usually buying the same lens for both eyes, which may not be ideal.
These days, a lot of people opt to order their glasses online rather than buying off the rack. Wanting to try the glasses out on your face first? You still can online – you just need a clear picture of your face. Also, there are often better deals on the net, and it is usually a much simpler, more efficient process to order from the comfort of your own home if you know your prescription already. Plus, you are likely to find more variety online than in a shop with limited products. It makes sense.
Are you reading in print or on a computer screen?
Self-diagnosing a pair of reading glasses can be problematic for many reasons. One of the main considerations that people may not take into account is that an optician is trained to prescribe reading glasses specifically for use with computer screens, whereas any self-diagnosing eyeglasses patient may mistakenly buy reading glasses intended for reading text in print.
The difference is that text in print is generally held at a closer distance to the face than the distance of a computer screen, meaning not all reading glasses are the ideal solution to blurry vision or strained eyes when using a computer.
Ultimately, if you are unsure, see your optician for the best results. Other factors such as anti-reflective coatings and blue light filtering should all be considered, and without the assistance of a trained optician, you may be missing out on personalized advice that will benefit you and your eyes.