How Do You Know It’s Time For Reading Glasses?

reading glasses

Lately, have you noticed when you are reading that you feel like your eyes are really straining to see the words on the paper? Do you have to move the paper or book further away from your eyes to see the wording more clearly?

If you do, you could be suffering from Presbyopia, also known as Long-sightedness. Presbyopia is not a disease, but more of a growing pain leading you into middle age. Around the age of 40, our natural internal lenses become less flexible. This means that our vision close up to objects becomes worse with less flexibility.

By age 45 most people will need some type of assistance with their vision, whether it be readers or contact lenses.

What Are Some Of The Signs of Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is something that comes with age and is completely normal. It’s the normal loss of your ability to focus on things close up. Some of the symptoms or signs to keep an eye out for are:

  • You are age 40 or older.
  • You may struggle to see print clearly- this could be you holding a book up close to your face but having to move the book farther away from your face to be able to see the words clearly
  • You may struggle to see smaller print in dim lighting.
  • You notice that your eyes begin to hurt when you are reading, sewing or doing other close eyework.
  • You find yourself getting headaches when you try to read.

What Are Readers?

Readers are glasses that are readily available to purchase online (like here at ILA) or in a local drugstore. These glasses are measured in units called diopters and range in strength of magnification from +1.00 up to +5.00 increasing in strength by .25.

They come in a wide range of varieties and styles. You can choose full frames (the prescription covers the entire lens) or “half-eyes” (these are the Benjamin Franklin style glasses that sit lower on the nose).

When looking to purchase a pair of readers, it is important to note that these glasses cannot be adjusted to strength per eye. If you think that readers may be an option for you, we recommend contacting your eye doctor. They will be able to recommend the correct strength for your eyes and can even write you a prescription for them as well.

If you choose to go to the store and pick out a pair of your readers on your own, WebMD recommends trying different strengths to find the magnification that will work best for you. They tell you to “hold a magazine 14”-16” away from your face”. They also mention that you may consider purchasing a couple of pairs, one pair for close up and one for middle distances (looking at a computer screen).

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that you schedule a baseline eye exam with your doctor when you turn 40. This is typically the time when most people begin to have problems with their eyes. Eye exams should be continued as recommended by your physician.


ILA has a variety of reading glasses to meet every need. Check out our inventory and find what might work best for you!


This blog was written by contributing author Sarah Bowman, Owner of Sarah Bowman Assisting