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When Buying Reading Glasses — Does Price Matter?

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Have you been told that you need reading glasses? If so, welcome to the club! Most people in their 40’s begin to notice their near vision declining, especially while reading and using computer screens and mobile phones.

Age-related farsightedness is a natural—if frustrating—part of the aging process. As you get older, your eyes begin to lose their ability to focus on near objects, a condition called presbyopia. Although presbyopia typically worsens over time, it’s not something to be too concerned about. Your eyes just need a little extra support. And that’s where reading glasses come in.

Are Prescription Reading Glasses Better Than OTC Readers?

Prescription reading glasses are customized to your visual needs, while over-the-counter (OTC) reading glasses are made to be “one size fits all.”’ OTC glasses don’t accurately correct your vision if one of your eyes is more farsighted than the other. OTC readers also don’t correct for any amount of astigmatism, which can result in headaches and eye strain. So at the end of the day, prescription readers are generally the recommended choice.

However, OTC readers can be helpful if you’ll only be wearing them very briefly, for reading labels at the supermarket or for other quick near-vision tasks.

But if you spend a significant amount of time each day reading written reports, working on a computer or scrolling through your phone, prescription reading glasses are the way to go.

Here are some important points to consider:

1. Your Optical Prescription Should Be Precise

Eyeglasses prescribed by your optometrist are personalized to your exact optical prescription, while pre-made OTC reading glasses contain the same prescription in each lens and don’t correct for any amount of astigmatism or other eye condition.

2. The Distance Between Your Eyes Matters

Reading glasses purchased from your eye doctor will take your pupillary distance (PD), the exact distance between your eyes, into account. This ensures that the center of each eyeglass lens is in line with each of your pupils, allowing the lens to accurately redirect light to correct your blurry vision.

Since OTC reading glasses don’t take this measure into account, long periods of reading can lead to eye strain and headaches. Curling up with a good book before bedtime while wearing OTC readers may not seem so appealing anymore.

3. Quality Is Everything

High-quality lenses are checked for distortions to ensure they meet the highest manufacturing standards before they’re dispensed. So, with prescription readers you won’t have to worry about getting dizzy or feeling off balance while reading. That’s not true of OTC readers.

Another benefit of prescription reading glasses: you choose the shape, size and quality of the frames. OTC eyeglasses are made with lower-quality materials, making them less durable and more prone to breakage or losing their shape.

4. Prescribed Reading Glasses Encourage Regular Eye Exams

If you order reading glasses from your eye doctor, you’ll be more likely to schedule regular eye exams, even if you don’t notice any changes in your vision. This is important, because many eye conditions don’t have any obvious symptoms that signal the onset of a serious eye condition. Regular eye exams are the best way to maintain good eye health and detect eye conditions early, before any vision loss has occurred.

Since OTC readers are available in varying strengths, if your vision isn’t as sharp as it used to be you may be tempted to just pick up a new pair with a stronger prescription. But without an eye exam you’re putting your eye health at risk.

When it comes to your vision, we’re here for you. Contact Lifetime Eyecare Associates in The Woodlands to check out our large selection of reading glasses and other eyewear, or to discuss any concerns you may have about your prescription.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are reading glasses the same as computer glasses?

  • A: No, they are two different types of glasses.Reading glasses are generally prescribed for people with presbyopia, an age-related condition that causes near objects to appear blurry. Reading glasses from your eye doctor contain an optical prescription specific to your visual needs to give you clear vision for reading.
  • Computer glasses may be recommended if you spend many hours each day in front of a computer screen. These glasses help to reduce eye strain by slightly adjusting your focus so your eyes feel like they’re looking at something farther away. The lenses are also tinted to eliminate glare and filter out blue light radiation.

Q: What’s the difference between presbyopia and hyperopia?

  • A: Presbyopia and hyperopia are both refractive errors that affect near vision clarity, but they’re two very different vision conditions.
    Presbyopia (age-related farsightedness) causes the lens of the eye to stiffen, making it less able to focus on nearby objects, Presbyopia usually starts around the age of 40-45.
    Hyperopia (farsightedness that isn’t related to aging) occurs when light is unable to accurately focus onto the retina at the back of the eye due to the length of the eye or curvature of the cornea. Hyperopia can occur at any age and can cause lazy eye or eye turns if not detected in children.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasse. Visit Lifetime Eyecare Associates for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.