The Best Reading Glasses Strength Guide Chart May Not Work

It’s easy to find a reading glasses strength guide chart online, but a simple chart may not tell the whole story. Stay with me as I explore the best place to find a reading glasses chart and provide you some other information on making the right buying choices.

Before we begin, please understand that I’m not an eye doctor and don’t provide medical advice. This is general information to help you understand what’s happening to your eyes and make an informed decision about what to do next.

Why Do I Suddenly Need Reading Glasses?

About 40% of the ability of your eyes to adjust to fine details resides in the crystalline lens, a portion of the eye that becomes less flexible with age. This transparent structure behind the iris is attached to very small muscles and is responsible for focusing on what you look at.

But with age, those little muscles get weak, the lens becomes less elastic and you lose the ability to see fine details without the help of reading glasses. There’s nothing you can do to stop this. By age 60 to 65, most people have completely lost the ability to adjust their eyes to focus on fine details, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The condition is called presbyopia.

The need for reading glasses doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It’s a natural part of aging that happens to almost everyone, and the worse your eyes were to begin with, the sooner you may need readers. Your eye doctor can confirm if reading glasses are the best solution for your problem with blurry closeup vision.

A reading glasses guide chart to try

If you need reading glasses to help you see small print or to ease your eye strain or computer vision syndrome symptoms, a reading glasses guide chart is one way to determine what strength you need. In most cases, you need to print out the chart and try to read it without glasses. Even better, have someone print it for you so you haven’t seen the text until it’s positioned properly for testing. You need to follow the directions on the chart to make sure you get results that are as accurate as possible.

The guide I find most useful is this one:

The Best Reading Glasses Strength Chart
Simply follow the affiliate link text above to the Zenni website section on readers, then choose the “Print Reading Power Chart” option.

Zenni is a company that sells custom eyeglasses as well as reading glasses in all strengths. Like most charts, this company’s is something you print out and look at on paper. But I like this one because the size guide at the top comparing the printout to a credit card helps you make sure that your printer hasn’t shrunken or enlarged the text.

If you don’t have a printer, you can usually find a reading glasses strength chart displayed at stores where readers are sold. For example, most Walmart stores have a guide mounted on the rack where the glasses are sold. The rack is usually in the pharmacy, often near where people wait in line to pick up prescriptions. Be sure to stand in the right place for accuracy.

Choosing the right reading glasses without a chart

Armed with some general information about what strength reading glasses you might need from the chart, you can make some decisions. But charts aren’t always accurate and may not tell the whole story, so the first pair of reading glasses you get based on a chart may not be a good match for your needs. If you’re in a store, try on several pairs – keeping in mind that others may have tried them on, so they may not be very clean. If you plan to order reading glasses online, you have a couple of options to make sure you order something that’s right for you:

Try on a friend’s

The next time you’re out to dinner with friends or visiting a relative, find out if anyone uses reading glasses. They might pull them out when they try to read the menu or the fine print in a book or newspaper. If you find someone, ask to try theirs on, and ask what strength they are. Decide if their reading glasses are about right, too strong or not strong enough. If they’re about right, you’re ready to order. If they’re not, it’s time to find another friend to help you with this task. Once you’ve decided on the best reading glasses to order, here’s a product that you may want to consider, available through this Amazon affiliate link in a range of strengths:

Gaoye 6 Pack Reading Glasses Blue Light Blocking for Women Men

Buy 3, return 2

The option for choosing the best reading glasses that I’ve seen suggested most often is to buy three pairs of consecutive strengths online, then return the two that aren’t right. When you order from Amazon, for example, returns are often free. Just look for the free returns text near the price. I’ve heard people say that it’s dishonest to order something you’re pretty sure you will return, but that’s exactly why companies make returns so easy these days. They want you to be satisfied. When you return the ones that aren’t the right strength, the company can repackage and resell them.

Order based on age

The simplest way to decide which readers to order is to consider your age. While also the least accurate, this method might work for you:

  • If you’re between 40 and 44, try +0.75 or +1.00.
  • If you’re between 45 and 49, try   +1.00 or +1.25.
  • If you’re between 50 and 54, try +1.50, +1.75 or +2.00.
  • If you’re between 55 and 59, try +2.00 or +2.25.
  • If you’re over 60, try +2.25, +2.50 or +2.75.

Strengths are available up to +7.00 from some makers if you have particularly poor vision.

You may not need a reading glasses guide chart

There’s more than one way to find the right reading glasses for you. A reading glasses guide chart can give you some general information – although the results are not always accurate. Another is to try on some and see which you like. You could even try just ordering by age. Yet another option, of course, is to see an eye doctor and let them help you decide the best reading glasses for you.

I recommend seeing an eye doctor regularly to make sure there’s nothing wrong with your eyes other than the need for a little extra magnification.

Whatever you do, don’t just live with blurry or failing vision and depend on others to read fine print for you. There’s usually a way to see the details in life better, and for most people, reading glasses work.

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