As we age, our eyesight can change -- you may have always had 20/20 vision and suddenly you find closeup reading a struggle. A quality pair of reading glasses will correct your vision, making reading a breeze, whether you're looking at books, a computer screen, a smartphone, or a tablet.
Read on to learn how to find the best reading glasses. Our top pair are the Gels Lightweight Fashion Readers by Scojo New York, which are available in a wide range of colors and styles to suit the majority of preferences.
Considerations when choosing reading glasses
Reading glasses that you can buy online, without a prescription, generally have single-vision lenses. This means the strength of the glasses is the same across the whole lens. You can also buy bifocal and trifocal lenses, which have two or three different prescription strengths in each lens, so you can use one part of the glasses for close-up reading and another for distance vision.
The prescription strength of reading glasses is measured in diopters and usually ranges from +0.50 to +4.00 in increments of +0.25, though you can occasionally find stronger reading glasses. The larger the number, the poorer your close-up vision is. Ideally, you should see an optometrist to find out what prescription strength you require.
Inexpensive reading glasses tend to have plastic frames, whereas more expensive options tend toward metal frames. Although slightly less durable, plastic-framed reading glasses can still last for years of daily use.
From minimalist rimless designs to trendy chunky plastic frames, you can find reading glasses in all kinds of styles. There's no right or wrong choice, here, just what you like best.
Reading glasses can throw off some glare when the light hits them, which doesn't affect your vision but looks slightly odd to the observer. However, you can buy models with an anti-glare coating to rectify this.
Scratch-resistant coating is equally, if not more, valuable than anti-glare coating, providing a protective layer on the lenses to help avoid scratches and scuffs over time.
It's fairly common for reading glasses to come with a case to protect your glasses when not in use. This may be a soft case or a hard case.
Reading glasses prices
Reading glasses range in price from less than $5 per pair (though you'll usually need to buy a multipack to get them this cheaply) to over $50 per pair for high-end options.
Q. Do I need to show my prescription when I order reading glasses?
A. Although you may be able to figure out which prescription strength you need by trying on different pairs of reading glasses until your closeup vision improves, we'd always recommend seeing an optometrist to check your eye health and find the correct prescription strength for your reading glasses. However, unlike when you order glasses for nearsightedness, you won't need to show your prescription.
Q. Can I use glasses of the same prescription strength for both reading books and computer screens?
A. Some people wear contact lenses to correct nearsightedness but then find that their close-up sight suffers. If this is the case, you can wear reading glasses to improve your close-up vision while also wearing contacts to correct your distance vision. This is a better solution than removing your contact lenses whenever you want to read something up close.
Reading glasses we recommend
Best of the best: Scojo New York Gels Lightweight Rimless Fashion Readers
Our take: They cost a little more than many other pairs of reading glasses, but these stylish and sturdy frames are worth the extra money.
What we like: Lightweight and durable, which is great for use on the go. Wide range of styles to choose from. Scratch-resistant coating. Available in prescription strengths from +1.00 to +3.00.
What we dislike: Frame color may differ slightly from photo.
Best bang for your buck: Fiore Six-Pack Spring Hinge Trendy Readers
Our take: Thanks to their stylish contemporary appearance, you'll look great while wearing your reading glasses.
What we like: With six in a pack, these offer exceptional value for your money. Three black and three tortoiseshell pairs in each pack. Comfortable to wear. Cleaning cloth included.
What we dislike: Not as durable as pricier alternatives.
Our take: This set gives you five pairs of reading glasses, each with slight color differences, making it easy to change up your look.
What we like: One pair features tinted lenses, which are great for reading outdoors. Fit larger faces well. Prescription strengths between +0.50 and +4.00.
What we dislike: Larger width unsuitable for the majority of women.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.