Reading glasses are simply assistive devices for people with presbyopia, difficulty seeing at close range due to the normal process of aging. They work much like a magnifying glass, but are handier.
For those who don’t need vision correction for any other reason, inexpensive OTC “readers” are a practical choice, especially if you misplace things frequently. However, there are reasons why prescription reading glasses are a better option.
A prescription, whether for reading glasses or a bifocal, will take into account any vision difference between your eyes, which most people have, and correct for it to provide a balanced image from both eyes to your brain. The widespread myth about glasses, he says, is that if you use reading glasses or a bifocal you’ll lose your ability to read without them.
You will lose the ability, but only because you are going to lose it anyway as you age. You’re only creating eyestrain by not correcting for your needs.
It is recommended for people over 40 to have yearly eye exams due to the changes in their accommodative system and the increased possibility of disease.
Benefits of prescription reading glasses:
- No more on and off. Unless you wear half-eye readers (Ben Franklin style), you’re likely removing them frequently to see at a distance. Bifocals will eliminate this problem.
- Tailored to match vision needs. One lens can be made more powerful than the other. Lenses can be ground to correct for astigmatism, an imperfect curvature of the eye.
- Custom fit, including nose bridge and temple arms. Your fitter will also ensure the optics in each lens line up with the centers of your eyes. The optics in OTC glasses maybe too close together or too wide apart and the wearer may feel some eyestrain or headache.
- Available with special lens coatings to decrease glare and/or resist scratching.
- Longer lasting because they are typically of higher quality (and have a price tag to match).
- Endless frame styles from which to choose.