How to Tell if You Need Reading Glasses

It’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll need reading glasses at some point in your life. It’s just what happens to your eyes as you get older. However, some people require them much sooner than others. This can be down to genetics, as well as to wear and tear. We live in an age of books, computer screens, smartphone screens, and TV screens; there’s no shortage of things in modern life that can cause presbyopia (difficulty focusing on objects up close). It won’t always be obvious that you need reading glasses, however, so we’ve put together this guide to help you tell if you need reading glasses.

Do you fall asleep at your computer?

As so many of us use computers for work and at home, our eyes are under strain looking at PC monitors for many hours each day. Your eyes’ muscles are under the most strain when they’re trying to focus on very close details, such as text and images on a computer screen. If you require reading glasses, then your eyes will have to work extra hard to stay focused. This causes them to get tired, fast, which in turn makes you feel tired and sleepy. If you often get sleepy working at your computer, then it’s a strong sign that you may need reading glasses.

Does your arm get tired when you read a book?

If you need reading glasses, you will hold a book differently as you struggle to find a comfortable distance to read the words on the page. So, the way you hold a book can be a big indicator of whether or not you need reading glasses. If you are long-sighted, then you may need to hold your book at arm’s length in order to read it. This can be so automatic that you mightn’t even realise you’re doing it. You will, however, have sore shoulders after a little while, as the main strain of holding your arms out straight is on your shoulders. So, next time you read a book, spend a minute to reflect on the way you hold it and whether or not your shoulder hurts after a few chapters…

Do you regularly get headaches?

If you need reading glasses and aren’t wearing them, then you may suffer from regular headaches. This is because the muscles in your eyes strain to see images clearly and this can cause stress headaches. The problem is that we often focus most when we’re at work, so we’re too distracted to fully acknowledge our headache. This means that it can take a long time (months or years) before we realise that something is wrong and take steps to remedy it.

Do you need a bright light to read?

If you find that your normal bedside lamp isn’t bright enough to enable you to read comfortably, then you may need reading glasses. If you always need more light in order to read, then it’s a pretty strong indication that you probably need reading glasses. The older you get, the more light you need when you read. Several studies have shown that 60-year-olds need roughly three times more light to read as 20-year-olds. So, this is also just a normal part of getting older.

Do you see little halos around bright objects?

If you see little halos of light around bright objects, such as car headlights, light bulbs, candles, etc., then you may require reading glasses. This may be something you didn’t really think about before, so keep it in mind tonight when you look at a bright object. Reading glasses will usually prevent you from seeing halos, so they’re a quick fix for this problem. However, halos can be a sign of cataracts – especially if they are combined with blurry/cloudy vision. So, if you see halos, it’s a good idea to talk to an optometrist.

Are you over 40 years old?

If you’re 40 or older, then you’ve probably experienced one or more of the symptoms described above. Everyone’s eyes eventually develop presbyopia; it’s just a matter of time. Most people have some degree of presbyopia by the time they’re 40, and it makes it difficult for your eyes to focus on nearby objects.


So, after reading this article, do you suspect you may need reading glasses? The first thing you should do is book an appointment with an optometrist. Everyone who lives in Scotland is eligible for a free eye test through the NHS, and if you live in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, then you may be eligible for a free eye test if you meet specific criteria (i.e. you’re under 16, over 60, or have diabetes). For a full list of the criteria, visit the NHS Choices website. Once you have your prescription, it’s time to consider what kind of reading glasses you want. This is where we come in: Foster Grant has a brilliant range of reading glasses with styles and colours that suit every face shape, size and colour. If you have any questions about our range of reading glasses, please get in touch.

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