Life's for living so why let your eyesight change what you do?
When Maria reached the point of not being able to read her Grazia without stretching her arms to the limit, she knew she needed reading glasses.
She had tried a pair or two from the chemist but deep down was concerned that she might have been harming her eyes.
Her partner was always going on about how ready-made reading glasses are just "one-size-fits-all" items and not right for her eyes. After all, the factory making the glasses didn’t know her prescription or even how far apart to put the lens centres in the frames to suit her.
She didn’t like to admit it but she guessed this was why she was still getting headaches and eyestrain, even though the print did look a bit bigger through the glasses.
And anyway, wouldn’t it be better to check that her problem was normal by visiting the opticians?
When we reach the point of not being able to read up close without stretching our arms to the limit, we need to consider reading glasses.
Generally, people who have never needed glasses in the past will start out with a pair of reading glasses rather than bifocals or no-line varifocal lenses (which are usually a better choice if you have a need for distance as well as near correction).
Also available are tinted reading glasses with UV protection for wearing outdoors in the sun; a popular type is the sunglass bifocal, with a non-prescription upper half for looking far away and a reading prescription in the lower half for close up.
Reading glasses should be custom-made for each individual by a qualified optician. Reading glasses are more stylish and functional than ever, with fashionable, colourful frames.
One drawback to purchasing ready-made ("pharmacy") reading glasses is that they are essentially "one-size-fits-all" items. The prescription is the same in both lenses, and the location of the optical centre of the lenses is not customized for each wearer. Most people do not have exactly the same prescription in both eyes, and almost everyone has at least a small amount of astigmatism correction in their prescriptions. Headaches, eyestrain, and even nausea can result from wearing reading glasses that are too far off from your actual prescription or that have optical centres too far away from the centre of your pupils. Also, ready-made reading glasses can be prone to little bubbles, waves, or other defects in the lenses.
Also, don't confuse reading glasses with computer eyewear. If you're using reading glasses to try to view your computer screen, it's probably not working very well. For one thing, reading printed matter is done at a closer range than reading text on a computer screen. Also, if your reading glasses are the type that force you to lean your head back in order to view your monitor, you're placing unnecessary strain on your neck muscles. Computer users really should invest in prescription computer glasses. We’ll discuss this further in another article.
The other, more serious problem with using pre-fabricated reading glasses has less to do with the glasses than with one of the reasons that people purchase them. Some people head to the pharmacy instead of the optician when they notice that it's time for help with reading. In fact, a recent survey of presbyopes revealed that 17 percent purchased readers because they "didn't want to bother with an eye exam." Common sense and good eye health dictate that you should consult your optician when you need a change in prescription, or at least once every two years. The need for a new pair of reading glasses may be nothing more than the natural ageing process at work. But it might also signal a problem with your eyes that can be treated if caught in time. Glaucoma, for example, is a serious eye disease that has no symptoms at first but can steal your vision if it's not controlled with medication. A simple test can detect glaucoma in its early stages, but you'll need to visit us for an eye exam in order to have the test.
(This article has been written Lynn Donnan - Optometrist at Jonathan Hall Opticians. You can book an appointment for an eye exam with Lynn online, just click on the Menu above, or contact us on 028 9070 5787