The first time you buy reading glasses, it can be hard to choose the right pair of eyewear. Between varying lens powers, different styles, and just the sheer amount of options available on the market let along just your local drugstore, the decision can feel overwhelming.
That’s why, in this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about how to choose the perfect reading glasses. There are a lot of things to consider, but we know that if you take the time to look, you’ll find the perfect pair of eyeglasses in no time.
How do I know if I need reading glasses?
Most people, at some point in their life, will require some help from reading glasses. As you age, your eyes naturally start having difficulty focusing close-up objects. Even if you have “perfect” 20/20 vision, you may still struggle to see up close.
This condition of weakening eye health with age is called presbyopia.
Put simply, your eyes start to get rigid and stiff as you age, and they lose their ability to focus on things that are close to them. 20/20 vision actually only refers to your distance vision versus your ability to read small print.
If you’re having trouble reading close-up objects, experiencing headaches, or just feeling like your eyes are tired all the time, you may just need to get a good pair of reading glasses. In addition, if you are over the age of 40, your risk for developing presbyopia is much higher.
Presbyopia is normal and natural, and generally doesn't warrant an emergency visit to the eye doctor for an eye exam. A good pair of reading glasses should help to eliminate those issues in most people, but if you think something more serious is going on or if you notice significantly worsening vision problems, be sure to consult with your optometrist.
Do I need a prescription for reading glasses?
You do not need a prescription to buy reading glasses. Readers come in a variety of non-prescription, pre-set strengths for this specific reason. You just have to find a pair that suits your eyes, and you’re good to go!
If you feel like the readers you have aren’t helping you with that close-up reading material, then you may want to check with your optometrist or optician to see if you may end up needing prescription glasses for other underlying vision problems like astigmatism, which generally require an eye exam.
What reading glasses strength do I need?
The first thing you should figure out is what strength you need for your reading glasses. If you’ve ever looked at readers in a drugstore or pharmacy before, you’ve likely seen the numbers on each one.
These numbers typically range from +1.00 to +4.00 in increments of +/-0.50, and are called “diopters.” This is the term that optometrists use to describe the different strengths of eye correction, among reading glasses, prescription eyeglasses, and even contact lenses.
There are two ways to figure out which strength you need. The first is to just go try a bunch of glasses on and try to read small print. This can work, but it can also be fairly inconsistent.
You may adjust to the reading glasses power when trying to look at your phone or read a book, but over time, the wrong level can lead to eye strain and headaches. Instead, we recommend using a diopter chart like this one.
You’ll see there are different sizes of print that correspond to varying diopter levels, kind of like an eye chart you'd see at the doctor's office. All you have to do is print out the chart and hold it at about an arm’s length from your face, the same distance you'd hold a book or other piece of reading material. See which lines you can read and which ones you struggle to focus on.
Whatever the smallest print you can’t read at that particular distance indicates the strength you should look to start with. You may need to adjust +/-0.50, but this is a great place to get a baseline.
How to choose reading glasses based on face shape
Once you’ve determined the right strength for your readers, it’s time to start looking at styles. The first thing to keep in mind when choosing glasses is the shape of your face. This will determine what frame styles compliment you best.
For example, if you have a rounder face, your best bet is to go for square frames. The contrast will compliment you well. In contrast, if your face is closer to a square shape, round frames are typically best for the same reason.
If you have an oval or heart-shaped face, you have a lot more options. Oval faces usually look best with square or round frames, but heart-shaped faces look good with almost any frame shape.
Just know that these are general guidelines, and a pair of frames may look really great on you that doesn’t fit in this mold. This is just a great place to start!
What color reading glasses should I buy?
After choosing style, the next step is to pick a color. At Look Optic, we believe that the color of your readers should reflect you and your personality, which is why we offer all of our frames in a wide range of color options.
We see glasses as any other item in your wardrobe. You wouldn’t have just one pair of shoes that you wear every single day, so why limit your options with your glasses? For example, our Liam glasses are our most fashion-forward frame yet.
You can get it in a more reserved black or tortoise color, or you can opt for a brighter, bolder green, or even a clear acetate so you can style your glasses with the rest of your wardrobe!
If you’re only going to have one pair of readers, you may want to stick with a more muted color so that you can wear it with a number of different outfits. However, we recommend getting at least two pairs of eyeglasses. You can get one that’s more reserved, and another that is a little more expressive. This is a great way to bring some excitement into your wardrobe and make your outfit really pop!
Do I need special reading glasses if I read from screens a lot?
This is a question we often get from people. If you spend your working day in front of a computer screen and then go home to watch TV or browse social media on your smartphone, you could be exposed to harmful blue light for 10 or more hours per day.
This amount of blue light exposure is a lot higher than what's generally acceptable for maintaining eye health. If this routine sounds like you, we recommend looking into a pair of blue light glasses. We offer all of our reading glasses with blue-light filtering lenses, as well!
These glasses help to limit the amount of exposure your eyes get to blue light, and they can help to reduce any digital eye strain you may experience.
Even just a regular pair of readers will help you to focus better on screens, but if you find yourself with sore eyes, headaches, or other symptoms of computer vision syndrome, we highly recommend you consider getting a pair of blue light lenses instead.
Can I get reading sunglasses?
Yes, you can! At Look Optic, four of our most popular frames are available as sun readers, too. This is great for anyone who likes to read while sitting out on the beach, at the lake, or anywhere else outside.
They feature the same magnification technology as our usual readers, but they also offer shading and UV protection. You can even buy them as sunglasses without magnification if that’s what you’re looking for!
Can I try out reading glasses?
This is not the case everywhere, but at Look Optic, we offer a 90-day trial period for all of our readers. We know that even if you take the diopter test and find a pair you think you’ll love, they may not be quite as perfect as you thought.
If you aren’t absolutely in love with your pair, feel free to send them back to us within 90 days. We want you to find a pair of reading glasses that makes you feel like your absolute best self.
Find your perfect reading glasses at Look Optic
Our mission is to make wearing readers fun, easy, and fashionable. That’s why we offer a variety of different frames, colors, and styles to help you find the perfect pair of reading glasses!
The Sullivan is a classic, timeless look that’s a great choice regardless of gender. Big, bold, and beautiful, it’s available in a wide variety of color options, too!
If you want to make a statement with your reading glasses, give Laurel a try. Big, chunky square frames make a great compliment to rounder faces, and we think you’ll love it as soon as you give it a chance.
Both of these frames are available as blue light and sun readers as well! No matter what you’re looking for, we think you can find the perfect pair of reading glasses at Look Optic.
There’s no need to fear the fine print anymore. Get a pair of reading glasses that makes you feel like your most confident, fearless self.