What Is The Difference Between Reading Glasses, Distance Glasses, Sunglasses & Reading Sunglasses?

Many people in the UK are unaware that they need distance glasses or reading glasses simply because they have never had their eyes examined regularly.

We all need to understand regular eye tests are important not only for our eyes but also as part of monitoring our general health.

Reading glasses and distance glasses can make a big difference in our lives and are important for the things we do on a daily basis such as reading, writing, typing, driving, browsing the internet or just seeing clearly. 

Clear vision is something that distance glasses and reading glasses can provide for us, but there is a low awareness of this in the UK. Reading glasses and distance glasses both serve completely different purposes;


Long sightedness is known medically as hyperopia or hypermetropia. This means that your eyes can’t focus on close objects and anything close up will look blurry. Using reading glasses that have convex (curved outward) lenses  can help your retina focus by magnifying the things you are looking at.

Some people require reading glasses at any age as above (hyperopia), but an age related condition called presbyopia will affect most of us when we are in our mid 40’s which again means close objects or reading is blurred and this again requires reading glasses.


Distance glasses are intended for people with myopia or nearsightedness to improve their ability to see far away objects more clearly. Lenses in distance glasses are the exact opposite of those found in reading glasses. Unlike reading glasses, the lenses in distance glasses are concave (curved inwards) and help the eyes to focus on things that are further away.

Unlike reading Glasses, distance glasses must be prescribed by a registered Optometrist and it is the law to wear them while driving.


When the sun comes out there is a whole new glasses dilema to face and a number of solutions.

Regular sunglasses offer us fantastic protection from the sun providing UV protection and reducing the brightness of the light reaching our eyes making being out in the sun comfortable, however they lack any vision correction. If you normally require glasses for distance or for near tasks regular sunglasses aren’t going to offer you any help with this.

For those who use distance glasses the best option is likely be to purchase a pair of glasses which have your prescription but also feature tinted lenses.

For reading in the sunshine, besides prescription reading glasses with tinting, exists a lower cost option which is ready-to-wear reading sunglasses, also known as reading sunglasses. These perform as both sunglasses and reading glasses but in one product. The lenses are tinted and provide UV protection, exactly as a pair of sunglasses while a range of reading strengths are available to correct for near vision presbyopia. Much like regular off the shelf reading glasses, these are available in a wide range of designs and colours and are suitable for both men and women.

Wearing reading sunglasses gives people the convenience of only having to carry around one pair of glasses plus it means they can still enjoy their favourite book, magazine or newspaper when sitting outside in the bright sunlight.

To find out more about reading sunglasses or to choose your own reading sunglasses you could view the reading sunglasses available in the Tiger Specs online store.


Reading sunglasses, as with reading glasses, should not be used for driving.

Check out our recent blog post exploring the differences between polarised sunglasses and UV400 sunglasses which could be of benefit or interest to you if you found this post insightful.

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