Should I Buy Reading Glasses Online?

Like Graying hair and crow’s feet, loss of close-up vision is a part of getting old. For centuries, glasses have helped us age gracefully. Thirty years ago, we were required by law in the United States to see the eye doctor before purchasing reading glasses. Now, ready-to wear reading glasses can be purchased without a prescription at the local bookstore, pharmacy and even over the internet. However, just because you CAN purchase readers online, SHOULD you?

First, let’s examine what over-the-counter readers are. They’re lenses that magnify text and small close-up objects such as needles and thread. It is important to know that the right and left lenses of these readers have the exact same magnification, so it is only useful for people with symmetrical vision loss. +.50 power magnifies the least, for those in need of a tiny added boost, and the power goes up to +600 for those with more serious vision problems. Most people over 40 years old need in the range of +100 to +350 power. Ready-to-wear-readers are helpful, then, for people with normal close-range vision loss due to aging (presbyopia) where both eyes need the same power.

Reading glasses found in the drug store or online cannot correct astigmatism, distance problems (near-sightedness), asymmetrical vision loss, and other needs. In these cases, an eye doctor is necessary to determine the problem and prescription. Then the lenses have to be specially made. Often, people will correct their distance with contact lenses, then wear reading glasses over them to help them read.

If you’re able to use over-the-counter reading glasses or not, everyone should see their eye doctor periodically to assess their vision as well as check for other problems, such as glaucoma, which can suggest broader systemic disease.

Keeping this in mind, if you think you can benefit from reading glasses, you can print an eye chart from the internet to help you determine your strength. Remember, the chart is only effective when printed and held 14″ from the face.

Online reading glass stores, such as, can offer huge benefits above other options. First, it can offer you tremendous savings over having readers custom made. Online reading glass stores usually have easy and generous return policies in case you purchase a strength or style that doesn’t suit you. Other benefits are the huge selection of readers. There is a wide range available, much better than the local drug store. Whether you prefer classic, modern, full or half frame, metal, plastic, magnified sunglasses, tube readers, or folding glasses, the fashions can rival any runway show.