It's true that the older we get, the more likely we are to need reading glasses, but not everyone does. Even those who have had Lasik surgery for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism may still need reading glasses as time goes by. Wearing reading glasses over contact lenses is also possible. Wearing contacts can correct Myopia, Hyperopia, Astigmatism and some Presbyopia, but reading glasses may still be necessary for close work. As we age, our eye muscles that allow us to focus become less elastic and focusing particularly close up becomes more difficult. This aging process, called presbyopia, happens to us all and sadly cannot be prevented. Even those who have never worn glasses may suddenly find they cannot read small print without it being at arm's length when they reach age 40+. When this point is reached, denial is useless; you need to consider reading glasses! Those who have never needed glasses before will usually opt for a pair of reading glasses rather than bifocals or progressive lenses. These are necessary for those who need glasses to aid with distance as well as a near correction.
Some Alternatives to Reading Glasses
For those who do not like the idea of wearing full frames, half-moon 'Benjamin Franklin' style glasses will do the job. They sit lower down on the nose and are in position for looking down and reading, but when the eyes are raised to look across the room, you can look above the lenses to see in the distance. For the self-conscious who rarely need reading glasses, slimline glasses are available. They are ideal for reading a menu in a dimly lit restaurant. They slip into a slim pen-sized case and are useful for occasional use, but not if you are a great reader. Wallet sized magnifiers are also useful for reading the small print in the supermarket on cans and pharmaceutical products. Tinted reading glasses are also available for use outdoors. They look more like sunglasses but have a bifocal lens allowing a non-corrective upper half and a reading prescription in the lower half moon.
Off the Shelf or Custom Made?
Pharmacies and department stores offer ready-made reading glasses with fancy frames in a choice of adjustments. You can have a pair to match every outfit! For those who are deciding about whether they need reading glasses, they may be a cheap start. They are also useful as 'extra' pairs so you can leave them around the house, office, RV or in the car for convenience. However they are one-size-fits-all. Both lenses are adjusted to the same requirement, which is rarely the case when you have your eyes tested. The optical center is not adjusted for the individual wearer and if they are too far from your actual requirements they may cause headaches and nausea. Having your eyes properly tested results in a custom-made pair of reading glasses which will give you perfect reading vision, avoiding eyestrain and other problems. Bifocals and progressives allow convenience of both clear distance and reading vision without having to take on and off your glasses. Progressives are no-line multifocals and offer a range of vision anywhere between distance to computer to reading. As single vision reading glasses are not for permanent wear, the frames do not have to be expensive designer or titanium frames. Cheap plastic in a suitable shape will do the job. The other advantage of attending for an eye examination is that your eye health is also thoroughly checked at the same time. Serious eye diseases including cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration can all be checked as part of your eye test for reading glasses.