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(As a licensed Optician I can also make prescription glasses. If you have a prescription for reading, computer or distance vision, you can go here for more info.)
For some people, non prescription reading glasses can be a more affordable alternative to expensive prescription reading glasses.
Anyone can walk into a store and buy a reader, but what power do you need ? Will they properly correct your vision? Allow me to explain:
First,if you have not had a recent eye exam I would suggest doing so, not only to determine whether or not you need corrective lenses, but also to check the overall health of your eyes. I mean, they are your eyes for goodness sake!
Once you have had your eyes examined, the doctor will probably give you a prescription. The prescription will have numbers on it relating to the type of correction you need and the the power required to correct your vision. The + indicates magnification. The power number is the amount of curvature needed in the lens. (In optics the power number is referred to as a diopter. The power or diopter is measured in steps of quarters (1/4). Ex: .25/ .50/ .75/ 1.00/ 1.25, etc...)
The doctor will also discuss your options in the way of what kind of correction you need- contact lenses, bifocals, etc... With glasses, the degree of power required relates to the distance you want to see. If you need a reading correction of any kind, I would strongly suggest explaining to your eye doctor exactly what distances you are having difficulties with. Up close, or computer screen distance? Also, ask the doctor if you can use non prescription reading glasses.
If you wear contact lenses to correct your distance vision only and require a near correction for over your contacts, non prescription reading glasses can work for you also.
A simple up close reading prescription (for about 12-14 inches away) might look like this:
Note that the correction for both eyes are the same. In a case like this, non presciption reading glasses should work fine. Over the counter readers are basically just magnifiers with the same power in both lenses. If you need correction for computer distance, about 15-18 inches away, the power required would be about half of this. (+.75)
If there is a slight difference in power like this:
You could get away with non prescription reading glasses, but they would not be perfectly accurate in correcting your vision. In a case like this I would recommend readers with the lower power.(+1.00) Everyone's tollerences are different, but in my experience, it is better to opt for a lower power to allow your eyes some 'breathing room' if you will. If you over correct, you may have problems with reading something a bit further away than 12 inches.
There are several factors that would rule out the option of using non presciption reading glasses. One might be that you may require a correction for astigmatism. A prescription requiring correction for astigmatism might look like this:
R +1.25 -.75 X180
L +1.25 -.50 X90
Non prescription reading glasses would work in a pinch, but for extended use, would probably not relieve eye strain. The lower the correction for astigmatism, the easier it is to use non prescription readers, but remember that they wont ever replace prescription glasses.
DISCLAIMER: When in doubt, ask your eye doctor.
To determine what reading power you need for non prescription reading glasses whether for up close reading or computer use, go to our reading glasses strength page where you can find a easy-to-use Eye Chart and instructions.
Need Pescription Glasses for reading, computer, or distance? Go here.
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