At some point in life, most of us will need reading glasses. Many of us just buy them at our local drugstore. That may be the easiest way to go, getting non-prescription magnifiers right off the circular rack, but is this good for your eyes?

Magnification Power

When you buy your reading glasses at your local drugstore you will have to choose the strength, which is also called “power.” Over the counter (OTC) drugstore reading glasses are made with the same power in both lenses, ranging from +0.75 to +4.00. As long as both eyes require the same magnification power, drugstore readers should be okay. However, this is not the case with many people. We recommend having your eyes examined by an eye doctor to determine the power required by each eye. Also, your eye doctor may find that you have an astigmatism that needs to be corrected, which OTC drugstore readers cannot do.

If your eye doctor does not provide you with a separate prescription for reading when your eyes are examined, you can calculate this for yourself. All you need is your distance prescription with an “ADD” value noted, which you can add to your distance or “Sphere” (SPH) prescription for each eye. The results you get will be your reading Sphere power for each eye. This will not affect your “Cylinder” (CYL) or “Axis” prescriptions.

Pupillary Distance (PD) Determines Optical Center

The distance between the center of one eye pupil and the center of the other is your pupillary distance (PD). The importance of this measurement is that this is where the optical center on each lens should be. Drugstore readers average 60-63mm in pupillary distance but in reality, people have an average range of 57-65mm. If your drugstore glasses are wider or narrower in pupillary distance than what yours measures, you won’t see as well as you could. And, if you’re suffering from eyestrain, double vision, or headaches, this may be why.

To order the correct prescription readers, you’ll need to determine your “near” PD, which is 3mm less than your “distance” PD. So, if your distance PD is 62mm, your near PD would be 59mm. If you are working with your “dual” PD and want to determine your near PD, just subtract 1.5mm from the measurement for each eye. So, if you have a dual PD of 33/31mm, your near PD will be 31.5/29.5. Also, don’t forget to find out from your doctor what your distance PD measures.

What Does an Anti-Reflective Coating Do?

Many people wonder whether reading glasses really need an anti-reflective coating (ARC). If you’re only wearing them for reading, why would they need it? The truth is that an anti-reflective coating is beneficial for reading. This special coating prevents water, dirt, and oil from adhering to the lenses while decreasing how much light reflects off them. This not only relieves eyestrain but enhances vision, especially when you’re reading under artificial light.

Blue Light Blockers

Now that we’re in the digital age, most of us spend a lot of time reading on a computer, tablet, or cell phone. This means we’re constantly being exposed to unnatural blue light. If you have tired or dry eyes, blurry vision and trouble sleeping, this may be why. Blocking exposure to blue light is vital to healthy eyes, which is something over the counter drugstore readers cannot do. When ordering glasses, make sure that you choose blue blockers. These are glasses made with clear lenses formulated with a special polymer that keeps blue light and UV rays from penetrating and exposing your eyes.

How to Order Your Reading Glasses

  1. Choose your frame and click on “order glasses.”
  2. At checkout under prescription type, enter “single vision.”
  3. Enter your “near” PD, either as “single” or “dual.”
  4. Enter your reading prescription, click on “submit prescription.”
  5. Add your options, like anti-reflective coating and/or blue blockers.
  6. Complete your checkout.

With so many frames to choose from, starting at just $6.95, how can you lose? It’s a win-win for both your budget and your eyes.