Ever wondered, “How do I know if I need reading glasses?” You are far from alone.
In fact, most people wind up needing glasses or some other form of vision correction at some point in their lives. That’s because your eyes age right along with the rest of your body. Specifically, your eyes show their age by becoming less flexible. This loss of flexibility keeps your eyes from making the small adjustments needed to let in the right amount of light at the right angle when you’re looking at objects near you.
This phenomenon is called presbyopia or “near vision.” It differs from hyperopia (farsightedness) in that the presbyopia is age-related, while you are typically born with hyperopia.
So, how do I know if I need reading glasses or contacts? Let’s discuss the top types of vision problems and signs that indicate you might need to purchase readers, set the record straight on some reading glasses myths, and outline what steps you should take to make sure you get the right kind of glasses.
Need more information on presbyopia? Check out our article: What is Near Vision?
How do you know if you need reading glasses? 4 ways to tell.
1. You are over 40
While age is never a rock-solid indicator, it can be safely said that many people—even those who previously had perfect vision—begin to have vision problems after they turn 40. At the very least, it’s smart to begin to see an eye doctor regularly (at least once every two years) after you turn 40. Regular checkups will help you and your doctor stay on top of your eye health and monitor for issues such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.
2. You have to hold things out in front of you in order to read them
Have you ever watched children imitate their parents and grandparents? One of the things they may do (especially if they are poking fun at someone’s age) is squint while holding reading material far out in front of them.
This joke has some truth to it. Presbyopia negatively affects your near vision. So while it sounds counterintuitive, it’s easier for people with presbyopia to read small print when it’s held further away from their faces. Needing to hold reading material farther out in front of you is a strong indication that you may need reading glasses.
3. You need more light to complete tasks
One question we ask patients who ask us, “How do I know if I need reading glasses?” is this: How often do you find yourself wanting more light in a room? As your eyes age, they may require more light for you to see well—another sign that your near vision might improve with the help of reading glasses.
4. You struggle with weary, tired, or strained eyes
Perhaps you’ve noticed that your eyes get tired when you read your morning newspaper or you’re no longer able to make it through a chapter of a book without feeling eye strain. Or maybe you start feeling bleary-eyed after only an hour or two in front of the computer. Or maybe you frequently get headaches during any of these same activities. These signs may indicate that your eyes are having to overcompensate to make up for the negative effects of presbyopia.
Not sure whether you need reading glasses or computer glasses? Read our article What Are Computer Glasses? for more information.
Is it better to wear reading glasses or not?
The idea that wearing reading glasses makes your vision weaker is a false one. Unless you are wearing the wrong type of reading glasses (such as a prescription that is too high), reading glasses should help with your vision problems, not contribute to them.
How do you determine what reading glasses you need?
While you can find plenty of “reading charts” and “diopter charts for reading glasses” online, we strongly recommend that you visit a trusted optometrist to learn the strength of reading glasses or prescription glasses you need. With a comprehensive eye exam, you will be able to choose with confidence the glasses that are best for your eye health.
Note: Since Eye Center of Texas focuses on surgical treatments, we do not perform this type of eye exam. However, we are happy to recommend you to trusted optometrists in Houston.
Don’t want to wear reading glasses? Eye Center of Texas may be able to offer alternative treatments.
Many people who ask, “How do I know if I need reading glasses?” come to Eye Center of Texas seeking presbyopia treatments that don’t involve the need for reading glasses. If you have no interest in dealing with the hassles of reading glasses or cataracts, the ophthalmologists at Eye Center of Texas will be happy to discuss alternative treatments such as presbyopia lens replacement surgery and LASIK for patients who wear bifocals.
Put the future of your vision in the hands of some of the best eye surgeons in Texas. Call 713-797-1010 or contact Eye Center of Texas online today.
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