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Reading glasses are a common feature of pharmacies and superstores around the United States. The glasses are often ready-made and suitable for people requiring single vision lenses.

Online retailers sell reading glasses with fashionable frame options and specialty lenses.

This article will look at some of the best reading glasses available and provide information on how to select reading glasses to best suit a person’s needs.

Reading glasses are most often store-bought glasses that have magnifying lenses of different strengths. They come in various frames, and people who do not require other types of vision correction may use this over-the-counter option.

The glasses most commonly have single-focus lenses, correcting only close-up vision. Sometimes, this makes them more affordable than prescription glasses.

However, people who already wear prescription glasses often find that varifocal or multifocal lenses are a better alternative, as they do not require people to switch between frames.

Over-the-counter glasses are also not suitable for people who have a stronger prescription in one eye than the other, as ready-made glasses have the same lens strength in both lenses.

Additionally, ready-made glasses will not be most suitable for people who have astigmatism or cannot clearly see objects in the distance.

A person can often find reading glasses at their local pharmacy in various preset magnifications. These type of glasses are one-size-fits-all and often do not come in progressive, or multifocal, lens varieties.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), when choosing reading glasses, a person should consider:

  • Lens type: Some people may need a single-vision or multifocal lens.
  • Frame type: Metal frames add weight but are generally more durable.
  • Lens material: Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses are lightweight and sturdy options.
  • Comfort: Frames should comfortably fit the face, ears, and nasal bridge.
  • Lens coating: The coating on a lens can help protect it and improve the clarity of vision. Common types include anti-scratch, anti-glare, and transition coatings.

In general, additional features, such as lighter weight lenses or frames, can be more expensive. When choosing reading glasses, a person may wish to consider their budget and what their insurance may cover.

When a person is deciding which magnification they need, a diopter chart can be helpful. To use the chart, they need to take the following steps:

  1. Without glasses on, have the chart 14 inches (in) away from the face.
  2. Beginning with the top row, start reading the chart. If the top row is difficult to read, move on to the next row.
  3. Repeat this process until you can read an entire row clearly.

To the right of the row of text that a person can read clearly is the power of reading glasses best suits them.

People can also consult their eye doctor about recommendations as to which reading glasses might best suit their needs.

There are a number of glasses retailers online, many of whom can provide ready-made, single-focus lenses, prescription lenses, and a variety of fashionable frames.

Ordering on each site will differ slightly but may include:

  • selecting a magnification
  • choosing a frame color
  • adding a lens coating
  • providing shipping and payment information

Sometimes, retailers accept direct payment from insurance companies for prescription lenses. However, in most cases, a person will need to pay upfront and submit a claim to their insurer for reimbursement.

Medical News Today chooses reading glasses according to the following criteria where possible:

  • Frame shape: A range of frame shapes to suit most people’s fashion.
  • Materials: A range of materials for different durabilities and styles.
  • Lens coatings: A range of lens coatings, such as anti-scratch and UV-resistant.
  • Returns: Companies that offer return periods so people can change their purchase if necessary.

Below, we provide a list of some of the top reading glasses available on the market.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best for a clear frame: EyeBuyDirect Vinyl

The Vinyl reading glasses are a mixed material, clear frame option.

EyeBuyDirect offers three different lens types: single, bifocal, and progressive.

Each type of lens comes with a large selection of frame styles and colors, with additional options, such as frame size, lens material, and coating.

The company also offers a 14-day trial period and free shipping for orders over $100.

Best for an oval shape: Warby Parker Hawkins

  • Weight: Lightweight
  • Shape: Oval
  • Frame material: Stainless steel and cellulose acetate
  • Lens material: Polycarbonate
  • Lens coating: Anti-scratch and anti-reflective
  • Reviews: A+ grade with the BBB

These glasses come in two colors and may best suit a person with a broader face.

Warby Parker offers a large selection of frames, most of which can include reading lenses.

Once a person chooses a frame, they can select the magnification they require and extra coating options.

The company offers an in-home trial, so an individual can test the look and feel of the glasses before making the final decision.

Best for a square shape: Readers.com The Red Bluff

  • Weight: Lightweight
  • Shape: Square
  • Frame material: Plastic
  • Lens material: Fully magnified and aspheric
  • Lens coating: Not available
  • Reviews: No rating with the BBB

The Red Bluff reading glasses come in three different colors and have a rating of four out of five stars on the company website.

If a person has a smaller budget, they can choose from the Readers.com expansive range of non-customizable reading glasses.

Best for blue-light protection: ReadingGlassWorld Scojo Wilhelm Blulite Reader

  • Weight: Lightweight
  • Shape: Rounded rectangle
  • Frame material: Acetate
  • Lens material: Not stated
  • Lens coating: Scratch-resistant
  • Reviews: No reviews available

The Scojo Wilhelm Blulite Reader frame is a burgundy, blue, and yellow tortoise pattern that is not customizable. The frame is handmade.

The lenses protect from blue light rays.

ReadingGlassWorld offers a large selection of reading glasses, with several frame and color options.

The company can accommodate different magnification levels and offers several brand-name frames.

Additionally, it offers free U.S. domestic shipping and a 30-day return policy.

Unfortunately, the company does not have a BBB or Trustpilot profile.

Best for lens options: GlassesUSA.com Freud

  • Weight: Lightweight
  • Shape: Round
  • Frame material: Titanium
  • Lens material: Plastic polymer, polycarbonate, or super thin
  • Lens coating: Scratch-resistant, ultraviolet (UV) protective, or anti-reflective
  • Reviews: B grade with the BBB

These reading glasses are available in two colors, feature spring hinges, and have a five-star rating on the company website.

GlassesUSA.com is an online glasses retailer. They offer fashionable frames from various brands with both prescription and nonprescription lenses.

The company offers free shipping, a 14-day return period, and a 365-day warranty.

Best for a geometric shape: Payne Glasses Charlotte Geometric Reading Glasses

  • Weight: 17 g
  • Shape: Geometric
  • Frame material: Other metal
  • Lens material: Plastic and polycarbonate
  • Lens coating: Anti-scratch and UV protective
  • Reviews: A+ grade with the BBB

This product comes in three different colors.

Payne Glasses offers several different lens options that a person can customize, from clear to light responsive to gradient.

The company offers a 30-day return policy. However, free shipping is not available.

The following table compares the reading glasses in this article.

WeightShapeFrame materialLens materialLens coatingBBB rating
EyeBuyDirect19 gsquare acetate and metalplasticanti-scratchA+
Warby Parkerlightweight ovalstainless steel and cellulose acetatepolycarbonate anti-scratch and anti-reflectiveA+
Readers.comlightweightsquareplasticmagnified and asphericnot availableno rating
ReadingGlassWorldlightweight rounded rectangle acetatenot statedscratch-resistantnone available
GlassesUSA.comlightweightroundtitaniumplastic polymer, polycarbonate, or super thinscratch-resistant, UV protective, or anti-reflectiveB
Payne Glasses17 ggeometricother metalplastic and polycarbonateanti-scratch and UV protectiveA+

Eyewear, such as reading glasses, plays an integral part in overall health and well-being.

It is a popular myth that wearing corrective lenses will further damage the eyes. The AAO state that glasses do not worsen a person’s vision.

Moreover, for those without perfect vision, wearing glasses or contact lenses is important to prevent eye strain.

A person’s vision may still change over time. People who use corrective lenses should speak with their doctor about the frequency of eye exams. Regular eye exams can help keep vision clear and identify any health conditions.

If a person notices changes in their vision or other issues with their eyes, they should seek guidance from a doctor as soon as possible.

Reading glasses can also help a person who regularly uses electronic devices. Looking at a digital screen for long periods can cause eye strain and the eyes to dry out due to the position in which a person holds their head and less frequent blinking.

To help protect the eyes, a person can:

  • consider using artificial tears, or eye drops, for dry eyes
  • position their computer screen 25 in, or about arm’s length, from the face and slightly below eye level
  • use a matte screen filter to reduce screen glare
  • use the 20-20-20 rule, which means a person should look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes
  • wear glasses instead of contact lenses to let the eyes rest
  • use lighting in the room to increase the contrast of the screen

Here we answer some common questions about these glasses.

What type of glasses are best for reading?

People should always choose glasses that are comfortable to wear and provide enough magnification to avoid straining the eyes. Eye care professionals can provide prescription glasses if necessary.

Another factor to consider is any lens coating. Anti-scratch lenses may make the glasses more durable, and anti-reflective lenses may be more suitable for people who read using smart devices to reduce glare.

Are readers just as good as prescription glasses?

If a person believes they need glasses for reading, they should always book an appointment with an eye care professional to test their eyes. Some people may need prescription glasses. These glasses correct a person’s vision more accurately than over-the-counter readers.

What are the strongest over-the-counter reading glasses?

People should look for over-the-counter reading glasses with strong magnification. The strongest ready-made readers usually have a +4.00 strength. Most people need around +2.50 or +3.00.

However, it is important to note that some people may require prescription glasses. Prescription glasses are more accurate at correcting vision than over-the-counter products.

Reading glasses are available from a number of online retailers and in store at pharmacies and supermarkets across the U.S.

Online ordering is growing in popularity due to a wide range of glasses available. A person can use their prescriptions and sometimes rely on insurance to purchase eyewear.

It is important to have regular eye exams to determine whether a person’s vision is improving and to ensure their glasses offer the best vision possible.