If you’re over the age of 40 and it’s become harder to read books, merchandise labels, messages on your phone or small fonts on your computer, you’re in good company! Age-related farsightedness, a condition called presbyopia, causes nearby objects and small print to appear blurry.
While you might be tempted to buy a pair of over-the-counter reading glasses, they can cause eye strain, nausea and headaches when used for more than just a few minutes. Drugstore reading glasses definitely aren’t a substitute for custom-made prescription reading glasses from your eye doctor, which are prescribed with your specific visual needs in mind.
At EYES on Main in Blacksburg, we prescribe custom-made eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct presbyopia and other eye conditions.
What Is Presbyopia?
In younger people, the eye’s natural lens easily changes shape every time light enters the eye. This flexibility allows the lens to quickly and accurately focus the incoming light onto the retina, the thin layer of nerves at the back of the eye responsible for converting light into signals that the brain processes.
In middle age, often starting around age 40-50, the lens starts to become more rigid and less flexible, leading to blurry vision when looking at things close up, such as the text of a book.
Presbyopia gradually makes everyday tasks like reading the ingredients on a food package or sewing on a button increasingly difficult. If you’re 40-plus and find yourself holding items at arm’s length to read, it’s time to consider getting reading glasses.
How Is Presbyopia Corrected?
Age-related farsightedness can be easily corrected with reading glasses, bifocals, multifocals, progressives and, in some cases, eye surgery.
There are two types of reading glasses: ready-made readers that are sold over-the-counter at drugstores and come in a few limited different strengths, and optometrist-prescribed readers whose lenses are ground in an optometry lab according to your optometrist’s precise prescription.
In both cases, reading glasses work by bending incoming light onto the retina before it enters the eye.
The ready-made readers found in pharmacies may be fine for occasional use, provided that presbyopia is your only visual problem. However, if you have more than one refractive error (nearsightedness, astigmatism or non-age-related farsightedness), if your eyes are different in any way, or you want custom features like super-thin lenses or a special lens coating, [customizable] prescription readers are the way to go.
What Are the Advantages of Prescription Reading Glasses?
- If you’re like most people, each of your eyes requires a different prescription - something drug store readers can’t provide. In contrast, prescription glasses are custom-made for each eye, down to the finest detail.
- Since prescription reading glasses are customized to your needs, they can accommodate not only your presbyopia but also your astigmatism.
- Prescription reading glasses are made with durable, high-quality materials by experienced technicians. The same isn’t true of over-the-counter readers.
- Are you sensitive to the glare that reflects off your digital device? Your optometrist can ensure that your reading glasses have a special anti-glare or anti-reflective coating.
- Style. If you need glasses to read for more than a few minutes a day, you want a pair of glasses that look and feel great while providing crisp, clear vision.
Eyecare Services in Blacksburg
Not sure if you need custom-made reading glasses? The best way to find out is through a comprehensive eye exam, where our eye doctor will check not only your prescription but also the health of your eyes. The older you are, the higher the chance of developing age-related eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
If it’s determined that you have presbyopia – or any other eye condition – we’ll recommend ways to address the problem.
At EYES on Main in Blacksburg, we care about our patients and their vision.
Q: How do I know what strength reading glasses I need?
- A: The only way to get a truly accurate assessment of your vision and the most suitable prescription for your reading glasses is to undergo a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist. During the exam your eye doctor will evaluate not only the extent of your presbyopia, but your eye health as well.
Q: Is it safe to wear reading glasses all day?
- A: The answer will depend on what type of reading glasses you wear and the activities you’ll be doing during the course of the day. Generally speaking, over-the-counter readers are fine to wear for the few minutes it takes to read a menu or a letter. But if you’ll be spending a significant amount of time at your computer, texting on your phone or reading a book, you’ll want to wear prescription reading glasses.
Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit EYES on Main for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.