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Reading glasses are used when the natural lens inside your eye becomes hardened with age and can no longer flex as well as it did when you were a child and young adult. When the lens cannot change it shape, you will begin to have trouble focusing on near objects and reading.
Reading glasses work by changing the focal point of your eyes to properly focus objects that are too close for your aging eye to see on its own.
What do the different numbers mean?
Reading glasses come in a variety of powers: +1.25, +1.50, etc. These numbers reflect the strength of the lenses. When you are just starting out, the natural lens inside your eye will still be able to flex some and the lower power reading glasses can help you overcome that final last distance to focus on near objects. As more time passes and the lens becomes even harder, you will need higher and higher power for your reading glasses to read.
Where do you start out? What I advise everyone to do when you are looking for your first pair of reading glasses is to go to an in-store display with all the powers there for you to try on. Find something to read and bring it to the display. Then hold the object at the distance you would normally read something and try all of the reading glass powers on. Buy the one that works best for the distance you prefer.
As the years pass, increase the power of your reading glasses to aid you. The reading “add” can also be added to your prescription glasses as a bifocal or as a progressively changing lens. Talk to your optometrist about these options.