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How to Choose the Correct Power of Reading Glasses

Reading Glasses Eye Test

What is happening to my eyes?

If it seems like everyone you know started getting readers around the age of 40 or at least started complaining of 

having to hold things farther away so their eyes could focus, they have good reason. Presbyopia is to blame. This 

means that the lens of your eye is aging and becoming thicker and less flexible. The muscle fibers near the eye lens 

also become more rigid. In general terms, this means that your eyes have a harder time focusing on things that are 

up close. Billions of people suffer from this issue, yet not everyone gets the proper help with the right reading 

glasses. In general, people that hit 40-years old start off with a +1.0, one of the lowest powers for reading glasses. 

Unfortunately as you age the strength will usually increase very couple years.

Reading Glasses or Readers are Not Magnifiers

Many people mistakenly think that the reading glasses are meant to magnify the words, or make them bigger.

However this is not the case, as magnifying will not help you focus. The right power of readers will allow you to focus 

your eye, thus enabling you to hold your papers and books at a reasonable length and once again see like an 18 

year old again. If you purchase readers that are too strong or not strong enough, you could cause more damage to 

the lens as it has to work harder to focus. Keep in mind, though, that as you get older, you will likely need stronger 

readers as your lenses become more rigid and less able to focus while you read. You should also keep in mind that 

the distance which you read or do your work plays a role in the level of help you need. For example, reading a book 

and working on a computer are usually done at two different distances from the eye, which means you will likely 

need two different strengths in order to have the most success.

How to Choose the Correct Power for your Eyes

Choosing the right strength for your reading glasses requires you to take an eye test. This is not the same eye test 

you take at the doctor’s office. This test can be done in the comfort of your own home. It is called the Diopter test and 

it tests the diopter measurement you need to make reading easier for you. A diopter test is provided at the end of this 

paragraph. It is a series of sentences that are progressively harder to read. In order to take the test, you should hold 

the paper 14 inches from your face and try to read the lines. The goal is to figure out which line you can barely read 

with minimal burr. This is the line is the power you should select as for your diopter reading glasses.

Reading Glassses Test Download

Click to Download the Free Eye Test

How to Use the chart

Go ahead and download the chart and print with your printer. Make sure to use print 100% scale so you have the 

proper size. As your printer may scale to fit on the paper and you will not have an accurate measurement.

The diopter measurements increase in increments of .25. When you shop, you will see measurements starting at 

+1.0, increasing to +1.25, +1.5 and so forth until you reach +3.25. You should start your search for reading glasses at 

the lowest diopter measurement you can read clearly on the reading test. As stated before, most 40-year olds that 

have no other corrective issues start with a +1.0 strength, but everyone is different. Don’t base the strength on your 

age; take the test to find out for sure what you should start with when trying on readers, no matter how old you are.

You can go up and down one prescription level for each measurement to see if you see a difference as each 

manufacturer makes the reading glasses a little differently.

Reading Glasses and The Computer Screen

Working on a computer screen that is 18 inches away will call for a different lens power than working at a screen 

which is 28 inches away. Generally for every 6 inches your monitor is past 28 inches you should lower your your 

power by 0.25. Anything past about 4 feet will be difficult for any reading glasses to have much an effect.

Benefits of Computer Glasses

It is recommended that you use a different lens when you are viewing digital monitors, to protect you from the UV 

and Blue light that is illuminating from your computer monitor. This issue has become known as Computer Vision 

Syndrome [CVS], and is known to cause digital eye strain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes. Generally for 

every 6 inches your monitor is past 28 inches you should lower your your power by 0.25. Anything past about 4 feet 

will be difficult for any reading glasses to have much an effect.


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