Most Common Types of Reading Glasses and Their Uses

Dr. Eli, an ophthalmology professor at the Harvard Medical School sees reading glasses from a unique viewpoint. Having worked with vision patients for decades, and being a top professional in the eyesight sector, he has expert knowledge on different types of glasses for readers.

According to Dr. Eli, consumers need to know how to differentiate a good pair of readers from a model that will lead to headaches.

We talked to him, and a few other experts in the field, including Dr. Jhon of Optique Optometry Clinic, and they gave us insight into the various options available for readers as well as how to choose. The good doctors also mentioned a few tips on maintaining a good eyesight, which we will share with you in the article.

Apart from that, we’ll also delve into the 2 big questions – how do you know you’re ready for reading glasses? And – what’s better between prescription glasses and over the counter (OTC) glasses?

Without any further ado, let’s jump into the topic – reading glasses.

What Are Reading Glasses?

Commonly referred to as readers or simply glasses, reading glasses are tools made of hard plastic or glass lenses attached to a frame.

The lenses and the frame are made such that they’re easily held in front of your eyes with the support the arms, which run on the sides of your head and rest over your ears.

Available in both prescription and over the counter (OTC) versions, reading glasses are meant to boost your ability to read what is written on screens and books.

According to Dr. Eli, an ophthalmology professor at the Harvard Medical School, OTC reading glasses are ideal for short-term wear. Dr. Eli also notes that such reading glasses are best suited for those of you with the same lens power in both eyes. Moreover, he says that if you have astigmatism or other serious eye issues, you should pass on the OTC versions and go for the prescription reading glasses.

We’ll delve a little deeper into the OTC and prescription glasses later on in the article. For now, let’s see why you need reading glasses as well the options available.

Signs That You’re Ready for Reading Glasses

If you have to adjust the distance of the book or screen several times to bring the words into focus, that might be an indication that you need readers. Realize that though most people need reading glasses from the age of 40, everyone’s eyesight changes at varying rates. Some might need these devices much earlier or much later.

Dr. Jhon, of the Optique Optometry Clinic in Austin, TX, explains that due to spending much of their time focusing on phone and computer screens, young people are increasingly needing readers.

Here are a few signs that tell you it’s time to get a glass:

  • You require brighter light when reading
  • You get more headaches after spending time in front of a computer
  • Dry eyes
  • Your eyes are getting increasingly tired when reading or working in front of a PC
  • Your near vision keeps fluctuating
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • You’re over 40 years old – experts say that most folks’ eyes develop presbyopia (eye strain when focusing on near objects) beginning from the age of 40.
  • You’re seeing halos more often – blurry vision with circles around light-producing gadgets.
  • You find it easier to read words when you pull a bit farther away.

Now, before you go ahead and get readers glass, let’s see what options are available.

The Different Types of Reading Glasses Available

In this section, we’ll delve into five of the most common reading glasses and help you pick the type that suits you and gives you the best visual experience.

The 9 types we’ll look at are:

  • Bifocal glasses
  • Fully magnified
  • Half frame
  • Full frame
  • Rimless
  • Semi rimless
  • Computer readers
  • Low-bridge glasses
  • Reading sunglasses

Let’s jump in details of each types.

1.  Bifocal glasses

These are glasses with lenses that have 2 focal points. Usually, there’s an unmagnified upper part, allowing you to see distant items normally, and is useful when driving, walking in the streets, or cooking.

And, there’s the magnified lower section, which lets you see close-up items. This part is useful when following a recipe, reading, sewing, following a map, or doing anything else that requires you to focus on close items.

Normally, when choosing, you’ll be asked to choose a magnification of your choice for the lower section.

Who are bifocal readers for?

If your distance vision is okay but you’re experiencing trouble focusing on close-up items, such as the words on a book, bifocal glasses might be the ideal option.

Also Read: What Is Hazel Eyes?

2. Multifocal glasses

multifocal glasses

Some folks use different sets of glasses – some for seeing far objects and some for seeing near objects, such as when reading.

Multifocal glasses are an all-in one type that deals with all distance-related vision issues, so you get to use just one pair of glasses. Convenient, isn’t it?

The thing with multifocal lenses is that they have multiple prescriptions built in. As with the natural human eye lenses, the top part helps you see distant items, such as when driving, the middle part helps you see intermediate distance items like when cooking or watching TV, and the bottom part helps you see close-up items, like when reading.

Note, multifocal glasses were supposed to mean all glasses with more than one focal point, including bifocal glasses, but these days, the term is used to refer to progressive glasses.

In our definition, we referred to progressive glasses.

Who are multifocal readers for?

These are for those of you who need different sets of glasses to see items of varying distance. Rather than keeping all these pairs of glasses, all you need is one multifocal model.

3. Fully magnified

Fully magnified glass

Unlike the bifocal reading glasses, the fully magnified readers contain magnification throughout the glass. The magnification you choose will apply to the entire glass, with no unmagnified part.

Fully magnified reading glasses are the most common variety. If you’re getting readers for the first time, consider buying these.

Who are fully magnified glasses for?

When your distance vision is okay and you want to wear glasses only when reading, get fully-magnified glasses.

4. Full-frame

Full-frame, also called full-rim readers are reading glasses with a full, continuous frame running at the lenses’ edges. The material covering the lenses’ edges is usually, plastic, metal, acetate, or titanium.

Theses glasses are available in a variety of configurations including fully magnified, bifocal, and reading sunglasses.

Who are full-frame readers for?

If you need a bold style, a full-frame model is perfect for you. Also, if you want something really durable, these suit you.

5. Rimless

Rimless glasses are those without a frame at all around the lenses. These minimalistic glasses are lightweight, and they offer the most unobstructed view.

When it comes to style, these are virtually the best; they give a more modern appearance.

Note, however, that these are less durable due to the unprotected nature of the lenses.

Who are rimless readers glass for?

If you want a minimalistic option that doesn’t take over your face, rimless readers are the perfect pick. Also, if you want a more modern look, these are for you.

6. Half-frame

Also called half-rim, semi-rimless, these readers have a frame running at the top part of the lens, halfway to the sides, leaving the lower halves of the sides and the bottom side exposed.

Half-frame glasses offer the best of both worlds in that they’re lighter in weight than the full-frame, yet have a bolder look than the totally rimless models.

Who is it for?

Half-frame readers are for those looking for the best of both worlds. You enjoy minimalism, durability, and some degree of boldness.

7. Low-bridge

The bridge of the glasses means the part of the glasses that connects the right lens (or frame) with the left lens (or frame). Ordinarily, it’s situated at the top, but in low-bridge glasses, it is located a bit lower.

Who are low-bridge lens glass for?

These are for those of you with a low nose bridge. If you find your glasses constantly sliding down, what you need is a low-bridge model.  

8. Computer glasses

Computer readers are interesting in that they’re not just for those with eye issues. Instead, they’re both corrective and preventive.

If you spend lots of time staring at screens, it’s advisable to get some to protect your eyes.

Computer glasses are designed to bring optimize the view when watching or reading on digital screens like PCs, TVs, and smartphones.

You can get computer glasses in bifocal, multifocal, and fully magnified forms.

Who are computer glasses for?

You’ve probably had headaches after spending time in front of a computer screen. Now, with a pair of computer readers, you can say goodbye to that problem. These gadgets are also meant to deal with eyestrain and blurred vision.

9. Reading sunglasses

To some of us, there’s nothing quite like lying in the beach on a warm Saturday afternoon with a cold beer/soda and a book. But if the sun is too shiny, trying to read a book, even in a shade, can be more painful than pleasurable.

In that case, reading sunglasses come in handy. These are a versatile model that serves two purposes at the same time. You have protection for your eyes from the UV rays, and you have a gadget to magnify the words and help you read.

And they’re not just for reading books. If you have vision problems, a pair of bifocal reading sunglasses will enable you to see ahead on a sunny day while still being able to read the speedometer.

Reading sunglasses are available in different varieties – fully magnified, bifocal, multi-focal.

There’s even another popular type known as polarized reading sunglasses. The glasses on this one bring the rays of light to a uniform pattern, so that there’s no glare or bright patches.

Who are they for?

If you have vision issues, reading sunglasses will help you hit two birds with one stone during spring and summer.

Final word 

By now, we hope you have a good idea of the various options available when it comes to reading glasses. You could either go with a prescription or just walk to a drug store and purchase the ideal model.

A prescription is always better but OTC glasses are cheaper and more convenient. And, if you follow the tips we talked about up there when buying, OTC glasses will be the perfect choice.

Other important factor to think about is the number focal points. You could go for the fully-magnified, bifocal, multifocal, and so on.

You also need to think about the frame style, protection from UV rays, and more. And of course, you can find all the info in details up there.

Thanks from Thirdeye team.

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