Prescription versus Non Prescription Readers

What you need to know about buying prescription versus non-prescription readers.


We offer non-prescription reading glasses as well as prescription reading glasses. The quality of the lens materials and coatings are the same with both, but 2 factors are not included with non-prescription readers, your PD measurement and correction for astigmatism (if you require it.) Those 2 factors can make a significant difference in reading quality.


Taking our reading test will give you very good results, but will not be as accurate as having an eye exam from an Optometrist. Outside of having your eye health checked on a regular basis, which everyone should do, getting an exam by a eye care professional will provide you with the best advice on getting the best reading vision for you.

Sometimes your eye doctor will advise you to get non prescription readers in a certain power for whatever need you have. In this case, the doctor is confident that simple magnifiers will solve your reading problems. He or she might suggest a +.75 for example for over your distance vision contact lenses. If you have shopped for reading glasses, you already know that you cannot find +.75 powers. You are left with getting prescription reading glasses which cost more.

This is where we come in. You can get powers from us from zero to +4.00 in either eye. And you can get lenses that do way more than store bought readers, like blocking blue light.

The 2 factors mentioned above, your PD and any correction for astigmatism you might need, are not addressed with non prescription reading glasses.


One of the issues we have found is that people are unsuccessfully trying to interpret their Doctor's prescriptions to get non prescription readers. It is important to note that for the best results, you should have a professional Optician evaluate your Rx for you. You can upload your eyeglass prescription to me for a free, no obligation evaluation.

When you get an eye exam, it is important to communicate with your doctor what distance or distances you are having problems reading with. The doctor will then write an Rx based on your input. If you do not express to your doctor exactly what issues you are having then the doctor will default to certain traditional focal lengths and write the Rx that way.

Jim (for example) got an exam and the prescription looked like this:

OD Sphere -2.25  Cylinder +.75 Axis 137

OS Sphere -2.50   Cylinder +.50 Axis 032

Add +2.50

Jim decided to get +2.50 reading glasses for computer use. Jim was totally wrong. Jim's actual computer reading Rx is:

OD -1.00 +.75 137

OS -1.25 +.50 032

Not only was his selected power wrong but also, Jim needs minus power lenses. The astigmatism was also not accounted for, nor his PD.

Bottom line- send us your Rx. Send us your PD. Do not try interpreting your Doctor's prescription.


Q- What is a PD Measurement?
A- The distance between your pupils in millimeters. (Either for distance or reading) When you get prescription eyeglasses, the lenses are crafted so that the optical centers match your PD. That means that you will be seeing through the optical centers of the lenses which provides the best acuity and prevents prismatic effects.

Q- How do I get my PD Measurement?
A- Some Opticians and Eye Doctors are reluctant to provide you with your PD. If you cannot get it directly from them, you can:

  • Look at old Rx eyeglasses receipts. Sometimes your PD is included on your receipt.
  • Measure it yourself or with the help of a friend. This can be done easily and very accurately to within 1mm. We have instructions at Mojo Optical! See: How to measure your PD.

Q- What is Astigmatism?
A- If you need a correction for astigmatism it simply means that your eyes are not perfectly spherical. Light coming through your eyes to your retina is focused as two lines instead of a single point. This is corrected with eyeglasses by lenses that have a second curve added. That amount of curve is denoted in prescriptions as cylinder power and will include a number indicating the axis that the second curve should be configured at.

As an example:

OD Sphere -2.25  Cylinder +.75 Axis 137   +.75 is the correction for astigmatism and the axis is 137

OS Sphere -2.50   Cylinder +.50 Axis 032   +.50 is the correction for astigmatism and the axis is 032

Q- Do I really need Astigmatism corrected in my reading glasses?
A- If you have a correction for astigmatism, then yes, you will get clearer vision and less eye strain, especially if it is higher than +/- .25.

Q- Why would prescription reading glasses work better than non-Rx?

  • Your PD Measurement is used in crafting your Rx glasses. This puts the optical centers of the lenses in front of your pupils when you read. [The optical centers for our custom readers are defaulted to an average of between 60 to 64mm depending on the frame size.]
  • The higher the lens power required is, the more important the PD Measurement becomes.     
  • Correction for astigmatism is taken into account if your Rx includes that. Depending on the amount of astigmatic correction, this can make a big difference in optical clarity and greatly reduce eye strain.

Q- Do you charge more for prescription reading glasses?
A- Yes! It's $10.00 more. If you have very high powers or want certain types of lens materials, like high index or photochromic, then there are very affordable add-on fees.

Q- Do you offer single vision distance prescription glasses?
A- Why, Yes! Prescription lenses can be made for reading, computer, or distance vision. See our Rx page for more info.