Are Reading Glasses Helpful or Harmful?

We could have been fortunate enough in our early years not to require glasses. Then when we reach over 40 we start to develop what the opticians call presbyopic eyes: this means the lens in your eyes loses some flexibility. As a result it becomes harder to focus on close objects. Small print can seem blurred or even indecipherable. It may therefore be more difficult to do close work such as sewing or drawing as well as reading either printed text or on a screen.

The quick and most cost effective way to correct close vision (presbyopia) caused by ageing is to buy ready made reading glasses. That is two magnifying lenses of the same strength mounted in an eyeglass frame. The magnification range we offer at Tiger Specs is from +0.50 to +5.00 and this includes availability of quarter step strength options.

These reading glasses are cheap and inexpensive and most people who require them have a number of pairs of different styles and colours. The question however is whether these off the shelf reading glasses could be harmful to your eyesight?

Optical experts however do not agree they are harmful and in fact say there is no danger to eyesight in wearing ready-to-wear reading glasses:

Inna Ozerov MD Miami Eye Surgeon Director of the Miami Eye Institute states;
“Many patients come to me panicked because someone told them over the counter readers are bad for their eyes and can cause damage but this is completely untrue.”

Dr Peli Professor of Opthalmalogy at Harvard Medical School states;
“Reading glasses are perfectly fine and safe for people who need the same lens in both eyes and attend regular eye exams to check for any medical condition such as Cataracts, Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration.”

Buying a good quality pair of reading glasses from a trusted retailer therefore makes a perfectly safe addition to your desk / head / neck / handbag / pocket. They will benefit the wearer and be safer than no glasses at all. If you are fortunate enough to have good distance vision but have trouble reading, inexpensive reading glasses are an ideal and indeed practical choice.

Reading glasses therefore are safe for our eyes but it is essential to;

  • Have your eyes checked regularly by an optician. It’s a general health check as well as an eye check.
  • Remember reading glasses are for short vision not for distance vision and should never be worn for driving or long sight.
  • An alternative to standard reading glasses, to save from taking them off and on, could be a pair with bifocal lenses. Bifocal readers have clear vision at the top and a close vision lens addition at the bottom.
  • If you are not sure what strength you require why not try the Tiger Specs eye chart or reading glasses strength calculator to assist in finding the best magnification for your eyes.

At Tiger Specs we ensure that all of our reading glasses are made to CE standard – meeting all current European health and safety legislation. Additionally we offer a range of mid strengths such as +1.25, +1.75, +2.25, +2.75 and +3.25 which are useful when your ideal reading strength falls between the more common half steps in dioptre. Every pair of glasses is checked before dispatch to ensure the lens is free from scratches or imperfections in order to enable the clearest possible vision.

To conclude…

Yes, reading glasses are safe for your eyes!


Remember, regular eye tests are essential.


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