How to Identify Which Reading Glasses Strength You Need
It happens to the best of us. We reach a certain age and the words on a page or smartphone start to go blurry. We find ourselves holding our reading material at arm’s length, and even then – for many – it’s a struggle to make out the words. Millions of people suffer from nearsightedness. And anyone who has ever experienced nearsightedness can understand just how important the proper reading glasses strength is.
So, you’re ready to go to the store or start your online quest for new readers, but you hit a speed bump: ‘What magnifying strength do I need?’ Chances are, if you’re over the age of 45, you are developing presbyopia – meaning your eyes now require different strengths for different activities. In this article, we will break down the different reading glasses strengths available, share tips on how to determine which reading power you need (as well as how to know whether you need multiple strengths), and offer solutions for finding the perfect pair.
Finding Your Power
The first step in selecting your new reading glasses is to understand what power or magnification is right for you. Fortunately, nearsightedness is such a common issue that it’s easy to find the reading glasses strength that works for you, no matter which level of power you need.
The numbers that rank vision power for reading glasses are formally called diopters. They represent the optical strength of the lens. Prescriptions for reading glasses increase by 0.25 diopters, such as +1.00, +1.25, +1.50, etc. Some diopter charts may increase by 0.50 or by the whole number. So if you are facing slight vision issues, you may only need a +1. But if you need strong vision correction, you may need to purchase glasses with a strength of +3.25 or higher.
Most vision experts advise patients to choose the lowest power that allows you to effectively correct your vision. The reason is simple: If your reading glasses are too strong, they can cause headaches or eye strain. If your glasses are too weak, you can easily move up to the next highest diopter.
Bonus Tip: If you find that your need of magnification is +3.25 or higher, it is recommended that you meet with an eye care professional.
Thanks to the power of the Internet, it is easy to test your own eyes to determine what magnification is right for your sight. Online diopter test charts have rows of words ranging in text size, each row corresponding to different reading glasses strengths. Many tests require you to print out the chart and hold it about 14” away from your face. Then, you must read the numbers row-by-row, continuing down the chart until you find a line you can read clearly, without your glasses on. That line will indicate which reading glasses strength you need.
How Many Reading Powers Do You Need?
Just like you need different doses of medication for varying pain, your eyes may need multiple magnifications for varying activities. You may find that, for reading, you need a +2 diopter. But for looking at a computer screen, you may only need a +1.50. Test your reading glasses strength by viewing the online charts at different distances. See what you feel comfortable with for reading up-close and mid-range. You may even have the chance to play optometrist: “Better one? Better two?” As we mentioned, it’s quite common for folks over the age of 45 to need multiple reading glasses strengths.
After you’ve determined the reading glasses strength you need, you’ll be ready to shop for the perfect pair. If you find that you need multiple vision powers, fear not. You won’t need to be that person carrying three pairs of glasses around with you. The modern solution for trifocals or multiple pairs of reading glasses is adjustable reading glasses. These specialized readers offer varying vision magnifications with the simple turn of a dial, all in one pair of glasses.
Adjustable focus readers like Adlens UZOOM Precision offer a 2.8x magnifying boost – allowing wearers to see as close as 9 inches, as far as 6 feet away, as well as each distance in between. These are a great solution for people who need different reading glasses strengths for different things. If you’re the type of person who needs glasses to watch the evening news but also needs magnifying reading glasses to do your knitting, too, you may benefit from adjustable glasses with multiple reading strengths.