What Strength Reading Glasses Do I Need?

By now you probably figured out that finding your best reading glasses lens power is a little bit more complicated than you expected. That's because today we look at our reading material at many different distances and it's your reading distance that is one of the most important things that determines the lens strength that you need to see clearly.  Wearing the correct lenses power in your reading glasses is just as important for clear, comfortable vision as is using high-quality optical lenses. 

There are a few ways you can determine your correct reading glasses strength:

If you don’t have a prescription from an eye care professional*, use the timeline below as a guide to finding your lens strength. Since age is the main determining factor in the onset of presbyopia, choosing your reading glasses strength according to these guidelines is easy but may require some tweaking depending on the distance you look at your reading material.

40 years old - start with a +1.00
45 years old +1.50
50 years old +2.00
60 years old +2.50 - +3.00


Choose your reading glasses lens power using our eye chart: 

For a reading distance between 14-16 inches, following the reading glasses lens power chart below will help you find the correct lens power for you. To determine the correct power for reading at computer distance first decide on your lens power for traditional book reading distance (usually between 14 -16 inches) and then reduce that lens strength by ½ which should give you the power you would need if your computer is approximately 18-20 inches away.  The further you are from the screen, the less lens power you will need to see clearly.


How to use our reading glasses chart:

 Print this page out on your printer. You cannot use this chart by looking at your monitor due to size and resolution differences among computers. The chart should print out at 7.5 inches wide.

To find the right lens power for you, read the chart at the customary reading distance of 14-16 inches. The first line you have difficulty reading is the suggested lens strength for you at that distance. To determine your correction for computer distance, refer to the directions above for a more detailed explanation. 

If you do have a prescription from an eye care professional, ask them whether non-prescription reading glasses are right for you and if so, what reading glasses lens strength they would recommend.

Our video also gives you a detailed explanation on how to read your eyeglass prescription so that you can choose the correct lens power in your reading glasses that most closely represents what your doctor prescribed. If you haven’t gotten an eye exam in a while, this is probably a good time. Just so you eliminate any uncertainty and get a correction that really works for your reading needs.

Read on and watch the video for a step by step explanation on how to choose the reading glasses strength that's best for you.


BTW , presbyopia, describes the condition where as part of normal aging, the eyes lose their ability to focus close up.  This usually becomes noticeable around age 40. The muscles in the eye slowly lose their elasticity, which makes it difficult to see clearly at different distances. This becomes most noticeable when reading small print especially in low light conditions or when reading for long periods of time. Welcome to middle age! 



 Reading glasses lens strength...just a few more things you should know

What strength reading glasses you need depends on the distance you view your reading material...

This is important because the strength of your needed lens power is determined by the distance at which you look at your close work. Working at a computer screen at 18” will require a different lens power than working at a screen that is 28” away. Reading at a laptop will require different lens strength than reading a book. If you spend a lot of time at a computer, reading or working at some other close distance, I recommend measuring your reading distances before you get your eyes examined. Bring this to the attention of your doctor so that you get a correction that works best for you. Today we view computer screens/reading material at several different distances. Pinpointing your main reading distance will help you determine your most precise lens strength. It is very common to have several reading distances. Our Reading Glasses Strength Chart has additional information that may be helpful.

How do you like to wear your reading glasses? 

As you move your reading glasses down your nose you will notice that the magnification increases. This also needs to be considered when choosing the strength and style of your reading glasses. Some people prefer readers that allow them to look over them easily to see things in the distance and also read up close without taking them off, such as when watching T.V. while reading a newspaper or iPad. For this purpose, your reading glasses should have extra-long temples so they stay on securely and a smaller lens depth so you can look over them easily. Renee's READERS styles Peter, Dave and Lisa are specifically designed for this use.

BTW, good lighting is important. Try to create an environment that has optimal viewing conditions with ample lighting and reduced glare. Read about how to eliminate  Computer Eyestrain and what's the difference is between computer glasses and reading glasses. 

 QUALITY READING EYEWEARIf you're still unsure about choosing the correct strength for your reading glasses just email us at renee@reneesreaders.com and our licensed optician will be happy to answer your questions.

*Regular exams by an eye care professional are necessary to determine your eye health and vision status.

FYI, not everyone can be corrected with ready-made readers. People who have a lot of astigmatism usually require prescription reading glasses for the best correction. Slight amounts can usually be sufficiently corrected in ready-made reading glasses. For larger astigmatism corrections, ready-made readers will correct you but they will not be comfortable for extended periods of time. If your correction in both eyes is very different, it may be hard to find a correction that is suitable for you. With high corrections (usually a +3.00 and above), prescription reading glasses will give you the best correction because any variance in your P.D. (the measured distance between your eyes) may hamper your vision.