Do I need reading glasses? 5 signs to look out for

How do you know you need reading glasses?

Your close reading might be weakening but your arms might be getting stronger.

You can only get away with arm’s length reading for so long...

Sound like you?

We suspect that you might be approaching the time to get reading glasses.



Reading glasses prescription calculator.

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Download this close-reading glasses sight test.




5 signs to know: do I need reading glasses?

Man looking into the distance


1: You may have presbyopia

If you're past the age of 40, your eyes will have done some serious work.

Medically speaking, the muscles used focus the soft lens in your eye will have begun to weaken.

Meanwhile, your soft eye-lens will have begun to stiffen; a perfectly common condition called presbyopia.

This visual deterioration happens gradually over time. Fuzzy focus on close reading is the tell-tale signs of presbyopia and reading glasses are the perfect way to correct this.

Using the correct power of reading lens will prevent that classic move of ‘trombone texting’ or arm’s length reading.

Do I need reading glasses quiz


Tired eyes from reading


2: Your eyes get easily tired 

Reading within 35cm from your eyes, is considered as close-focus

Browsing your book, tablet or your phone might have become a little taxing and can make your eyes feel really tired.

Your onset of presbyopia means that close-reading is working your eyes extra hard. What was previously an easy task is now more difficult on your eyes.

This why your eyes feel sleepy or strained during long periods of reading. They’re working harder to focus.

Depending on your ability to focus you may need strong reading glasses to help you see more clearly.

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Dimly lit restaurant scene with white table cloth wine glasses plates and cutlery


3: Difficulty seeing after dark

Even with all the lights on, you still struggle to see things closely.

You guessed it… another symptom of presbyopia.

Over time, your night vision will have begun to slowly deteriorate. Dimly lit environments such as restaurants and their incessantly tiny-menu-type are hard for you to see clearly.

You can make things easier with corrective reading lenses. These will magnify that restaurant menu perfectly.

For more information on your night-vision, you should check out this article by Cleveland-Clinic.

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Reading headaches from eye strain


4: You get reading headaches

Do I need reading glasses for close reading?

If you're straining to focus for long periods, this will inevitably manifest itself into a sore head. This can be the result of an outdated prescription in your glasses so that your eyes are working really hard to focus correctly.


Do I need reading glasses for computer?

Screenwork at more than 35cm away is considered as intermediate focus.

If you're struggling with your intermediate focus, single vision or varifocal lenses are a better option.

If however you regularly close-read from a digital screen such as a Kindle-tablet, you'll benefit from wearing reading glasses.

As an additional note, are you aware of the side effects of blue light? Digital screens emit blue light at a damaging frequency, otherwise known as high energy visible light (HEV).

This type of light can be blocked with reading glasses by adding a blue-light-blocking coating to your lenses.

Calculate your reading lens power


I see halos in my vision


5: Do you see halos?

Putting aside divine intervention, seeing the occasional halo is the result of blurred focus.

Seeing halo’s and glare can indicate the development of cataracts. Learn more about cataracts here.

With the onset of ageing eyes, your ability to focus light into your retina can become scattered. Fragmented light can lead to you seeing circular halo patterns or glare.

Whilst this can be corrected with reading glasses, you should mention this in your next eye examination.

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Embracing reading glasses


Your first time wearing reading glasses

You're only human.

Accepting that your close reading isn’t quite what it used to be can seem like a big step.

If you’ve gone all your life without wearing glasses, it can seem like a big change in your appearance to suddenly start wearing them.

The best way to embrace reading glasses is to build them into your life as early as possible. This way, you’ll be able to read things easier and gently let the world know you’re only human.



Reading glasses prescription calculator

Take the test

Get your free reading glasses prescription calculator by clicking on the button.

It takes just a few minutes and is far more relevant than a reading glasses strength chart by age




FAQ's about reading glasses

Grey reading glasses on circular white table beside a blue bound book


Is it bad to wear reading glasses all the time?

You can wear reading glasses for long periods, especially if you are using them to help you close-read withing 35cm. If you need intermediate-distance correction, you'll need to consider single vision, bifocal or varifocal glasses lenses.


What is the average age for reading glasses?

If you're over 40 years old, your eye muscles begin to weaken. These muscles are used to control the soft lens in your eye to focus on near and far away objects. Over time, the soft lens also begins to stiffen which makes it harder to focus on close-by objects. This condition is common and is referred to as presbyopia.


Are cheap reading glasses bad for your eyes?

Cheap reading glasses are not bad for your eyes. An incorrect focal power will certainly impede your ability to focus properly, regardless of the cost of the frame itself. For longevity and for the environment, it is better to invest in a good quality pair of reading glasses.


Do you need a prescription for reading glasses?

You may require prescriptive reading lenses in your glasses if your eyes differ in deterioration. Generally, one eye will need more correction than the other. Ready reader glasses are offered in standard lens strengths in each lens which may not be sufficient for the differentiation in your eyes.


Do I need reading glasses for computer?

Reading glasses are not recommended for intermediately-distanced reading tasks such as computer-work. Screens like these are beyond 35cm from your eyes which is out-with the intended focal distance that reading glasses are designed for.

To understand the difference between reading and computer glasses, check out this other article: Can reading glasses help with computer eye strain?


Hopefully you fund this article helpful.

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