Once we reach the age of 40, it's common to start noticing the natural effects of our aging eyes, such as having to hold your phone at arm’s length to read text messages. Medically, this normal change in our vision is called presbyopia and refers to the weakening of the lens inside the eye which is responsible for sharp focus and clears near vision.
You may begin to notice presbyopia setting in when reading starts to become difficult and the words begin to lose focus. You might also experience eye strain or headaches when trying to read the fine print. This is where reading glasses come in. Reading glasses are non-prescription eyeglasses that magnify text (or any object you are viewing) to allow your eye to focus better at a close distance.
Styles of Reading Glasses
Single vision (as opposed to bifocal or trifocal) reading glasses come in two lens styles - full and a half. Full readers offer a uniform magnification (the entire lens is the same focus) and you need to remove them to see clearly at a distance. These are ideal for individuals that spend a lot of time reading and don’t often have to look up during that time. Half readers are also uniform magnification but offer smaller frames that allow you to look over the lens when you want to see further away rather than removing the frame from your face.
Bifocal reading glasses offer two zones of vision within one less. The upper part of the lens allows for distance vision, while the lower part is for reading. Bifocals have a visible line across the midline which divides the two zones. You simply look into the part of the lens that offers the vision you desire.
Custom Made Vs. Over the Counter Reading Glasses
Over the counter or ready-made reading glasses may be cheaper and more convenient than custom-made glasses but they don’t take into account your individual needs. If you have no previous prescription and a light presbyopia, they may sufficiently suit your needs however in many cases, they can cause eye strain, dizziness and headaches when they are not the right fit for your vision.
Having an eye exam and ordering custom made lenses can meet your exact visual needs in each eye to create a comfortable and optimal correction for your eyes. You can also select the style and shape of the glasses that look and feel the best for you.
Even though presbyopia is a common condition that eventually affects most people at some point after 40, any time you experience vision changes you should see an eye doctor for an exam. Even if you decide that you want to start with ready-made reading glasses, you should get an eye exam to ensure that your eyes and vision are healthy. Many serious and vision-threatening eye diseases can be stopped and prevented with early detection, so routine check-ups, especially when there is a change in vision, are critical for optimal eye and vision health.