It’s a feeling many of us are familiar with. We’re typing up something on the computer or reaching for the newspaper to scan a headline and we suddenly find ourselves squinting. After a long reading session, you realize you have a slight headache. Could it be eye strain? Or do you perhaps need reading glasses?
For many, once you hit your thirties, you begin to realize that your vision is deteriorating a little. It’s not a serious problem – you can still see just fine – but suddenly reading fine print, or have to spend a lot of time on a computer, or even just scanning labels at the grocery store from afar are slightly more difficult than you remember. It’s a normal part of aging, and while it can be a little annoying or even embarrassing, it’s easy to take care of by purchasing a pair of reading glasses.
These days purchasing glasses need not be a hassle. Not only are most glasses very affordable, but they’re totally customizable based on your specific needs and preferences, with thousands of brands, styles, types, colors and options to choose from. No matter if you just need the most basic pair of reading glasses, or if you have a prescription and require something a little more heavy duty. You can find great looking glasses that suit you perfectly without having to spend a lot of money, both online and in many local retailers.
So what type of glasses are right for you? Likely you’ve gone to see an eye doctor to get an eye test and a prescription, but even if you haven’t, our quick guide can help you determine which type of eyewear might be a good fit for you. Here’s a few of the different types below.
Single Vision Glasses
Single vision glasses are the most basic of reading glasses, and are usually the type that people buy when they first notice a problem with their eyes, when reading or on the computer. These are a simple quick fix for any person who is just having a little trouble reading for long periods or at a distance.
Single vision glasses have one single power over the entire lens, making them the best choice for those who have trouble seeing near (or far), and whose vision is only mildly affected.
These are the glasses you’ll see hanging up in the pharmacy or in your favorite retail store. No prescription is needed to buy these; you just try them on and select the pair that offers you the best corrected vision. They tend to be very affordable. If you have only mild vision impairment and don’t need a prescription or custom-made glasses, these are probably the best bet for you.
Bifocals are two-prescription lenses, holding two different vision correctors in the same lens (hence the name). These are perfect for people who are nearsighted in one area and farsighted in another. They have a clear line on the lens, dividing the glasses between the two prescriptions.
Bifocals come in a wide variety of styles and colors and even come in sunglasses. While many styles are widely available to be purchased in-store or online, you will need a prescription.
These are less common, but still a viable option for many.
Trifocals are just like bifocals, except that the lens has two lines instead of one, dividing the lens into three separate viewing powers. The top prescription addresses distance vision, the bottom prescription addresses close-up vision, and the middle corrects immediate distances.
You will need a prescription for trifocals.
Progressive lenses are a very popular option among people who need a prescription but don’t enjoy bifocals or trifocals. For many, the clear line on the lens is bothersome or unsightly and they’d prefer to have a pair of glasses without it.
Progressive lenses can give you up to three different vision powers within the one lens, making it easier to transition and see what you need to see. With just a tilt of your head, you can transform your vision easily, and without the pesky line(s) that bifocals and trifocals have.
Progressive glasses are very popular and can be purchased in a variety of styles, colors and types including sunglasses, but they are a good deal more expensive than bifocals or single reading glasses for obvious reasons. You will need a prescription to order progressive lenses.
Even with the added cost, progressive lenses remain a very popular choice among glasses wearers, because they offer so much more flexibility and accessibility, as well as comfort and style.
While progressive, bifocal, trifocal, and single reading glasses are the most common types of reading-only glasses, there are other rarer types that are on the market.
One such type is the “task specific” type of glasses, which are designed for and only worn when doing certain jobs or tasks, such as working for long periods of time at the computer or other jobs that require a great deal of concentration.
Another type are “blue screen blocker” glasses, which may or may not have a prescription, but filter out the blue light from screens and devices which can often cause headaches. Blue light blocker glasses are good for writers, teachers, tech people, and others who must look at screens regularly.
These are just a few of the different types of reading glasses you can choose from. Whether you need bifocals, trifocals, single reading glasses, progressive lenses or something else entirely, it’s best to consult with a local optician who will administer an eye exam and help you make a choice. Many patients mistakenly assume that they must purchase glasses from the same place they get their eye exam, but most of the time this is not the case. You can ask for your prescription and shop elsewhere to find the best pair of reading glasses for your style, needs, and budget.