Over the Counter Vs Prescriptions Readers for Presbyopia

Reviewed by: David Schanzlin, MD

Vision Tips & Prevention Vision Tips & Prevention

You know that it might be time for reading glasses when tasks that require close vision have become a bit of a nuisance. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Presbyopia: What causes it and how to treat it All About Vision Go to Source 1 You may have difficulty reading without moving a book or tablet closer. The menu is hard to read in that dimly lit restaurant, or your eyes hurt when you do a lot of detailed work like sewing or working with numbers.

But why can’t I see up close anymore?

As we age, the lens of the eyes become less flexible, making it difficult to focus on objects that are close to us. This condition is called Presbyopia. It typically begins around age 40, and everyone will eventually experience some degree of Presbyopia sooner or later. There are many options to make living with Presbyopia easier; one of them is reading glasses. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Presbyopia FAQ All About Vision Go to Source 2

Some people believe that wearing reading glasses worsens their near vision, Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source By the way, doctor: Will wearing glasses make my eyesight... Harvard Health Go to Source 3 but that is more myth than reality. The decline in vision is due to Presbyopia, which progresses naturally regardless of whether they wear glasses or not. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Presbyopia and the Need for Reading Glasses Verywell Health Go to Source 4 Secondly, they might just get used to clear vision with reading glasses, so when they take them off, the vision seems to have gotten worse. When in reality, they are just experiencing the contrast between corrected and uncorrected vision. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source 5 Vision Myths Debunked University of Utah Health Go to Source 5 Wearing the right power for reading glasses can alleviate symptoms of eye strain or headache and clear up your reading material. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Presbyopia: What causes it and how to treat it All About Vision Go to Source 6

You could either get a prescription for your reading glasses or buy a cheap pair over the counter from drugstores, department stores, and other general retailers without a prescription.

Consider Prescription Reading Glasses

Even though over the counter reading glasses are inexpensive and convenient to get, here are a few reasons why to consider prescription reading glasses:

  • In over the counter readers, the lens power is the same in each eye, whereas you may require a different power for each of the eyes. It can cause eye strain if you continue looking through readers of the wrong power. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Reading glasses All About Vision Go to Source 7
  • Over the counter readers are “one size fits all.” They are made to a standard pupillary distance. Pupillary distance is the distance between the centers of the pupils of the eyes. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Pupillary distance Wikipedia Go to Source 8 If the lens center is not in line with your pupil center, then you might not be able to see clearly or even end up with eye strain – like wearing someone else’s glasses! Your eye doctor can give you a customized pair of readers that fit your face. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source How To Buy Your First Set of Reading Glasses AARP Go to Source 9
  • Over the counter readers do not correct astigmatism. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Tips for Buying Reading Glasses Verywell Health Go to Source 10 Astigmatism can cause headaches, tired eyes, and blurry vision. Your eye doctor could test you for this condition and prescribe glasses based on your exam. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Astigmatism All About Vision Go to Source 11
  • Over the counter readers also do not work for people if they also have difficulty seeing things at a distance, as they require a “minus or negative” lens. Whereas, over the counter glasses only come in “plus or positive” powered lenses. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Tips for Buying Reading Glasses Verywell Health Go to Source 12 According to WebMD, if you need glasses for distance vision as well, then you might want to consider bifocals, trifocals, or progressive lenses. Bifocals help you see both close-up and far away. Trifocals and progressive lenses adjust for close, intermediate, and distance viewing. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Do I Need Reading Glasses? WebMD Go to Source 13 Progressive lenses are beneficial for people with Presbyopia because they can provide clear distance and near vision, as well as clear intermediate (computer) vision. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source FAQ about eyeglasses and eyeglass frames All About Vision Go to Source 14 Your eye doctor could recommend the most suitable option if you need a solution for both near and distance vision. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Combining presbyopia options All About Vision Go to Source 15

And what about over-the-counter readers?

If your eyes are such that the over the counter readers may be enough for you, then your eye doctor will let you know and can recommend the right power for your eyes. Make sure to discuss your occupation and the types of hobbies you enjoy, as the power may depend on your daily activities. For example, the power prescribed for spending eight hours a day on the computer will likely be different than one prescribed if you spend a lot of time reading or working with fine detail. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Tips for Buying Reading Glasses Verywell Health Go to Source 16

Bottom Line

We sometimes do not want to bother with an eye exam, but before selecting your reading glasses, even over the counter, consult with your eye doctor. Experts advise a yearly eye exam to check for problems like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, even after you’ve gotten reading glasses. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Reading glasses All About Vision Go to Source 17

It may seem like a big step to accept that your close reading isn’t quite what it used to be. But, Presbyopia, if not treated, can result in potential loss of productivity. The best way to embrace reading glasses is to build them into your life as early as possible to read things easier.

Trusetd Source Checkbox  Sources


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