You’ve hit that age where your eyes start to go fuzzy looking at objects closely. It happens to the best of us and it almost seems like the wool has been pulled over your eyes. You need to face the fact that you need some kind of glasses for reading. Sometimes referred to as the “Over-40 Syndrome”, this wooly-eye effect usually happens around age 40. Your first instinct may be to run to your local pharmacy and pick up a pair of basic “readers” - don’t. At least, not yet. You may actually need prescription reading glasses. The big question is: how do you KNOW which glasses to use?

After you’ve gotten over the initial shock that you need another set of eyeglasses, you need to head to your eye doctor for an eye exam. You may feel silly asking your doctor to check your eyes - especially if you’ve already visited your eye doctor this year - but when you explain to your doctor that your eyes are going fuzzy, you’ll start to realize that it’s not so silly. There are two conclusions your doctor may come to. You either need prescription glasses for reading or you need readers. What’s the difference?

Eyeglasses for reading are meant to be worn for longer periods of time. Readers are not. Readers are meant for short term wear and are only meant for magnification purposes - like when reading books. “Readers” are over-the-counter (OTC) glasses that have equal prescriptions in each eye. They also do not include a cylinder and axis - so people who need vision correction for astigmatism will find wearing readers uncomfortable.

When searching for prescription reading eyeglasses online, it’s important to remember that these are the glasses you need if you require different strengths in the sphere (SPH) or if you have a cylinder or axis. When searching for glasses online, it’s important to have those numbers as well as your pupillary distance handy. When your doctor recommends prescription reading glasses as opposed to readers, it’s because you need to wear these glasses for longer periods of time and because your prescription levels are not equal. OTC readers may give you temporary relief but you should invest in prescription reading glasses.