Quality reading glasses: 8 reasons to invest

Your glasses say a lot about you.

Worn each and every day, they’re part of who you are.

Trouble is, they can really let you down, beyond the way they make you look or how they help you see.

So, before we kick things off, ask yourself...

which type of reading glasses wearer are you?



The Magpie?

  • Many pairs of reading glasses
  • Pairs in each room of the house
  • Broken “back-up” glasses, just in case
  • Have a pair in your car… somewhere.
  • Loses/breaks glasses constantly

The Owl?

  • One pair of reading glasses
  • Has the proper lens strength
  • Take them everywhere with you
  • Know exactly where they are
  • Uses a protective case


Regardless of your eyesight, you'll have noticed that most reading glasses online are price driven, low cost solutions.

But does a “solution” sound sexy to you?

Just like a bandage, those cheap reading glasses only last so long before going in the bin.

Even worse, they’ll become ocean plastic. You’ve seen Blue Planet 2, right?

So let’s face it.

Now we’re all paying more attention to where our coffee grew or where our gin was distilled, perhaps you’d prefer something equally special... for your face?



8 reasons to invest in quality reading glasses


Blue reading glasses frame pointing upwards


1. Your unique lenses

Prescription reading lenses offer a more tailored viewing experience.

Chances are, your eyes have differing optical requirements.

Which is why ready readers aren’t so effective at helping you see becuase the lenses have matching focal powers.

Eg: +1 reading glasses are +1 in each lens.

So if one of your eyes is weaker than the other, it won’t get the benefit of the magnification.

For short reading sessions, mis-matched lens powers isn’t a big deal. But if you’re a real book-worm, this can get a little taxing on the weaker eye, poor thing.

To solve this, a pair of bespoke lenses will make all the difference…

With prescription quality reading glasses, the lenses are tailored to each of your eyes individual optical requirements. For as little as £28, this upgrade will give you an elevated close reading experience like you’ve never seen before.

Sounds good, but what strength of reading glasses do I need?

Glad you asked. Check out your free reading glasses test.



Reading glasses prescription calculator on grey background with green text over the top indicating it's purpose


Download this close-reading glasses sight test.




Not sure if it'll work?

This reading glasses test is an A4 template which you can use to determine the strength of your reading lenses.

  • All you need is a printer
  • Accurate self assessment to improve your close reading
  • Easy instructions
  • Takes 5 mins


Circle tortoise glasses with reflections on lenses


2. Your lens coatings

Reading glasses fitted with your prescription is going to make a world of difference.

But wait, there’s more…

For an extra layer of goodness, you can take things up a notch with additional lens coatings.

This where you can really begin to hone your reading glasses to suit your preferences and lifestyle. Here’s some options;

  • Anti-glare
  • Anti-scratch
  • Ultra blue light protection
  • UV sun tints
  • Polarisation

Pssst. We offer free anti-glare and anti-scratch lens coatings with all our glasses frames, whether they're ready readers or prescription.

Head to our handy lens menu to easily calculate your lens costs and coatings.



    Man wearing glasses with his eyes closed listening to music


    3. Avoid eye strain

    If your eyes require different lens powers, ready-reader lenses can make it more difficult for one of your eyes to focus properly.

    In this circumstance, incorrectly powered or mis-matched ready-reader lenses can potentially give you eye strain. This is because one or both of your eyes are working harder to focus properly, despite the magnification of the lens.


    Reading for long periods? Eyestrain can lead to headaches or nausea.


    Reading glasses with prescription lenses can prevent these issues as they’re individually tailored to your eyes.

    However, if you're fine with ready reader lenses, that's totally cool. As long as they're the correct strength for your eyes.

    It's all about getting the right strength of lenses. If you get it right you can enjoy some real-easy reading, free from headaches.



    Man making glasses frames using green riveting machine


    4. Frame quality

    Quality reading glasses UK

    You’re going to love this bit.

    At Banton Frameworks, we hand make your reading glasses right here in the UK from start to finish inside our very own workshop.

    We know… it’s pretty special.

    If you enjoy hand-craftsmanship, this makes our handmade frames some of the best reading glasses on the market.

    You’ve made it this far, so it’s time we came out and said it.


    We’re Scotland’s only eyewear manufacturer and we think you’ll love our handmade reading glasses.


    But yes, because they're handmade, our frames are at the upper end of the market. So if you're more of an "owl" than you are a "magpie" then you're in the right place.

    To let you try them out, you can borrow our reading glasses for free in your own home for an entire week.

    Will you give us a go?




    Old man with black glasses hanging off his nose


    5. Avoid skin irritation

    Do you have skin?

    Ok, listen up.

    Those cheap ready reading glasses (you know the ones) are made with all sorts of low-grade plastics and occasionally harmful metals.

    Over time, these sub standard materials can begin to affect your skin. They can make you itch, give you a rash or even cause discolouration.

    Gary here summarises the dangers of cheap reading glasses.


    Gary Heitling: allaboutvision.com

    “Cheap plastic frames can get bleached by UV rays and the finish can roughen after a few months of wear.

    Cheap metal frames often contain nickel alloys that can cause skin irritation; others can discolor your skin.” 


    But what about Banton Frameworks reading glasses?

    Oh they’re made from Europe's finest cellulose acetate.

    • Hypoallergenic
    • Biodegradable
    • Made from cotton pulp
    • Non toxic
    • Silky smooth




    Magazines and grey glasses on top of white circular coffee table


    6. Get warranty

    By now, good quality reading glasses seem like the way to go.

    But before you invest, lets talk about warranty.

    In your T’s & C’s, a good pair of reading glasses should come with at least 6 months warranty for the frame and lenses combined.

    Other things to check for are:

    • Provenance
    • CE markings
    • Dimensions
    • Frame model/name/number


    Looking for a pair of reading sunglasses?

    Please check to make sure that they’re sufficiently UV protective.

    At Banton frameworks, our sunglasses frames can be fitted with prescription reading sun-lenses which can also be polarised or non-polarised.

    To explore our sunglasses collection, click here.



    Man inspecting glasses frame during manufacturing process


    7. Craftsmanship

    Best reading glasses UK

    Can we clear this up for you?

    All eyewear is handmade, but most eyewear is handmade somewhere else.

    Even in our automated world, your glasses still require a lot of human skill before they reach an optician’s shelf.

    Most of this skill usually happens in Asia now, which is a real shame because the UK used to be pretty damn good at making glasses.

    In fact, before importation was a thing, the UK used to make millions of glasses frames every year during the mid-century. We even exported them to Europe!

    Today, very few companies make their own glasses anymore.

    But it’s nice to be one of them.



    Grey haired man looking at viewer wearing round black glasses


    8. Better style

    One last thing you need to know.

    The problem with standard, off the shelf ready reading glasses?

    They’re standard.

    Made in their thousands somewhere else, they’re all a bit samey and for some reason, always really boring looking. The clue’s in the title really.

    Why not opt for some large-lensed luxury?

    You can enjoy a full open view from behind a pair of our reading glasses. Their large lens areas and sculpted smooth frame fronts are the treat you’ve been looking for.

    We urge you to check out our men’s reading glasses and ladies reading glasses using the button below.




    Reading glasses tips


    Tortoise reading glasses lying upside down upon magazine on white table

    What strength reading glasses do I need? 

    Depending on your stage of presbyopia, your close vision focus can require a reading glasses strength ranging from +0.25 dioptres upwards.

    The simplest way to assess your close reading is by using a pre-scaled test chart. This contains incrementally sized text with an associated dioptres to assist your close reading.

    Whether you already wear glasses or want to improve your close reading with glasses, you can self-test your close reading with our free reading sight test.

    Enter your details in the form below and click the button below to get going. All you need is a printer!


    Do I need stronger reading glasses?

    Reading glasses prescription calculator on grey background with green text over the top indicating it's purpose


    Download this close-reading glasses sight test.




    What causes need for reading glasses?

    As you get older the muscles that contract the lens in your eyes begin to deteriorate.

    Simultaneously, the crystalline lens in your eye begins to harden as a result of fibreosis which results in hindered close-distance vision.

    The proper word for this focal deterioration is called presbyopia. Don’t worry though, it isn't contagious and most of us begin to develop this condition at middle age. (See below)

    Even if you've never needed glasses before, presbyopia is by far the most common "entry point" to wearing them as we pass the half way point in our lives.

    Interestingly, the "addition" part of a varifocal lens the acts like reading glasses for close distance viewing. This is when you need optical correction for close, intermediate and distance viewing.

    A fate that sadly awaits us all...

    Right, I think it’s time, but what strength reading glasses should I get?

    Click here for your free reading sight test chart.


    Woman touching her tortoise reading glasses in front of green background


    What is the average age for reading glasses?

    By around the age 40, the ciliary muscle group begins to weaken.

    It’s these muscles that squeeze the soft crystalline lens in your eye which change its range of focus from far to near. Because the ciliary muscles have weakened, your close-distance focus therefore becomes increasingly hindered as you continue to age.

    On average, human adolescents (without presbyopia) are capable of changing their refractive range within 16 dioptres. As you age, your eye muscles naturally weaken which inhibits the degree of contraction, thus reducing your ability to see close-up. 

    Interestingly, certain species of animals are known to obtain a refractive range of up to 50 dioptres.

    That’d be like having telescopes for eyes.

    To calculate your best strength of ready reader or prescription reading lens, you can download your free reading sight test here.


    Illustration showing different types of magnfying lens shapes


    Are reading glasses just magnifiers?

    Whilst reading glasses magnify writing and text, they’re not the same as a magnifying glass.

    Similarly, the lenses are convex in shape which creates the effect of magnification, but they aren’t entirely identical.

    Seen in the illustration above, the far left lens-shape represents a magnifying glass. This shape of lens offers extreme magnification in a small area of the lens. This is handy for ‘point and shoot’ viewing but isn’t suitable for use in glasses frames.

    An optical reading lens shape varies between middle and far right example which utilise concentric lens curvatures.

    This is otherwise known as a positive meniscus which yields a more consistent focal power across a larger section of the lens.

    This shape of lens is more forgiving as it’s less sensitive to alterations in position on the wearer’s face and the distance from the object being viewed.


    Rectangular blue reading glasses upon white table and magazine


    What is the best brand of reading glasses?

    If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that a pair of high-quality reading glasses are the safest bet.

    Not only will they last you longer but you’re far more likely to take care of them as you become increasingly fond.

    After all, it’s nice to have nice things and our reading glasses are certainly that.

    On the market, there’s a lot of options available to you online but we suggest you invest in a well-made frame, fitted with your prescription reading lenses.

    Shop reading glasses.


    Circular tortoise spectacle frame lying on top of magazines


    How do I find the best reading glasses?

    That’s easy.

    If you want to find good quality reading spectacles, it’s a combination of frame-quality and lens-quality.

    A badly made pair of reading glasses won’t last very long and will likely break at the hinges or nose bridge.

    For example, £3 primark reading glasses are injection moulded from non-recycleable plastic with flimsy hinges. Inevitably, these short terms readers probably won’t last very long and will sadly wash up on a beach sometime soon.

    To find a good quality of frame, it’s recommended that you invest in a frame and lenses that are going to last.

    • Good quality hinges that won’t break easily
    • Lenses with anti-reflective and anti-scratch coatings
    • Good frame materials. Eg titanium or cellulose acetate
    • Always look for frame warranty
    • Comes with a hard-case



    White coffee table with magazines and reading glasses on top


    Is it bad to wear reading glasses all the time?

    Frankly, this is a baffling, not to mention strange myth.

    Regardless of their type, single vision, bifocal, varifocal or reading glasses are not bad to wear for prolonged periods, as long as they're correctly attuned for your eyes and you're using them for the correct purpose.

    That’s the whole point of wearing glasses… they help you to see.

    Obviously, any type of lens that makes your eyes work harder to see if just going to put unnecessary strain on your eyes.

    It’ll be pretty obvious when this happens as your eyes will be getting taxed the minute you use your glasses for something they aren’t intended for.

    A common questions related to this is if reading glasses can reduce computer eye strain.

    Because reading glasses are intended for close reading (within 35cm.) This would be considered improper use which is explained in this other blog article.


    How do you tell what strength reading glasses you need?

    Reading glasses prescription calculator on grey background with green text over the top indicating it's purpose


    Download this close-reading glasses sight test.




    Are reading glasses good for your eyes?

    Your close-reading will be a whole lot easier with correctly powered reading lenses.

    They aren’t going to fix macular degeneration but they’ll certainly improve your focus on reading distance tasks with 35cm from your face.


    A good pair of reading spectacles prevents eye strain and alleviates the chances of headaches or postural habits such as holding things at arm’s length to read them.


    Incorrectly powered reading glasses are only going to do the opposite and makes your close reading worse. This is why it’s crucial to use the correct power of lens so you don’t have to strain your eyes to read properly.

    If you’re curious about what strength of lens you’ll need, you can download your free sight test to determine if you need 1.75 reading glasses, or stronger.



    Tortoise shell reading glasses pointing upwards


    Can you buy reading glasses?

    Depending on your prescription and the required power for each of your eyes, you have two lens options to choose from.

    This can be either ready reader or prescription reading lenses which we can fit to any of our high quality reading glasses.

    To summarise, you can compare the pros and cons using the information in the grey boxes below.


    Ready reader lenses

    Simple and straightforward, ready reader lenses are helpful if both of your eyes require the same corrective lens powers.

    Starting at £30, they're also fairly low cost.

    Ready reader lenses are measured in dioptres and ranges from +1 to +3.50 dioptres. To calculate the strength of ready reader lens, here’s your free sight test.

    The downside of ready readers is that you’re eyes almost always require differing focal powers. They may also have differing cyl or axis as the result of astigmatism.

    This is why it’s better to have prescribed reading lenses like those described below.


    Annotated illustration of how prescription reading lenses work


    Prescription reading lenses

    Going that extra step for prescription lenses can often be a better option as they're entirely specific to your ocular requirements.

    These lenses start at £30.

    However they contain your separate prescriptive powers in each lens which makes them perfectly tailored to you.

    Chances are, your eyes will require different lens powers so this is a great way to give yourself the best viewing experience what are already a good quality pair of reading glasses.

    You can enter your prescription details using the lens menu under each of our handmade reading glasses.



    Ltd edition eyewear. Released 6 times a year.