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Reading Glasses

Reading glasses are finding their way out of the drugstore and into the department store, as more and more people become aware of reading glasses as a fashion accessory. Because you do not need a prescription to shop for reading glasses, you can buy reading lenses and reading glasses online and in many stores. You can buy reading glasses for as little as a few dollars, but the quality of the low-cost reading glasses is quite low. Follow this link to see our entire collection of reading glasses online.

Varilux Progressive Reading Lenses

Stock Versus Custom

The least expensive way to buy reading glasses online is to buy stock reading glasses. These are reading glasses that sit on a rack in many different stores, and you can choose a pair off the rack with your reading power. It is easy to lose reading glasses, so many people have several pairs stashed around the home, car, and office so you will always have a pair around when you need one. Some people prefer folding reading glasses, because folding reading glasses fold up into a small package and are easy to carry.The problem with stock reading eyeglasses may not work well for your eyes.

To get the most effective reading eyeglasses for your eyes, we recommend that you visit an eye doctor to get a prescription for reading. Ask your eye doctor how well served you will be with stock reading eyeglasses, or whether it is better for you to invest in custom reading lenses. Here are some common problems that can occur with stock reading eyeglasses:

1. Stock reading glasses are made in a one-size-fits-all way. The optical centers of stock reading glasses may be too wide or too narrow for your face. If you don’t look through the center of the lens, you may not see clearly and/or you may get headaches or dizziness. Follow this link to learn about your pupillary distance, and its importance for lenses that are perfect for you.

2. Most people do not have the same prescription in each eye, but the lenses of stock reading glasses always have the same power. Many people have astigmatism, which is not corrected in stock reading glasses. This too could lead to not seeing clearly, headaches, and/or nausea.

3. Stock reading glasses, especially the $20 variety found in drugstores and superstores, use low quality plastic lenses that may not be formed properly. The plastic could have blurriness and/or bubbles which impairs your vision. Follow this link to read more about lens quality.

4. Reading glasses are designed for a reading focal length, about 12” to 18”. Many people buy reading glasses to read the computer screen, which is normally 24” to 36” away from your face. This will make it more difficult to see the screen, and can cause you to change your posture in your chair leading to neck strain, back strain, and eye strain.

Custom Reading Glasses

Custom reading glasses are just eyeglass frames with custom lenses. Typically this option will be more expensive than buying stock reading glasses, but the quality of the glasses will be much higher and much better suited for your eyes and your lifestyle. To put together custom reading glasses, you need to select a frame and then install lenses.

One thing you cannot do is to buy reading glasses at a drugstore and then install custom lenses. The reason is that the frames are not ophthalmic quality - they are too low quality to accept a custom lens. However, if you have some ophthalmic quality eyeglasses, it is easy to bring them back to life by installing new custom lenses. Follow this link to read about how to get replacement lenses.

Types of Reading Glasses

Reading glasses are simply magnifying lenses that make objects larger. But there are several different ways to accomplish this goal, so you can choose from a number of different types of reading glasses depending on your lifestyle and needs.

Full-Eye And Half-Eye

There are many different types of reading glasses, but the first most important choice is whether you want a full frame or a half-eye. Full frame reading glasses look like regular eyeglasses, with a frame that goes all the way around the lens, and the lenses sit directly in front of your eyes. Full-eye reading glasses are good when you spend a long time concentrating on material close-up. When you look up from reading, objects in the distance appear blurry.


Half-eye reading glasses are flat on the top of the frame, and are designed to sit down on your nose so that you look down through the lens when reading. When you look up, you look through air over the lenses, not through a lens so objects in the distance are not blurry. You can see our selection of full-eye and half-eye reading glasses by going to our Frame Search page.

Full Frame, Half-Frame, And Rimless Designs

Just like regular eyeglasses, reading glasses are available with a full frame, with a half-frame, and as no-frame rimless reading glasses. Half-frame reading glasses and rimless reading glasses are practical because it is easier to look over the top of the frame when switching from close-up to distance viewing. You can see our selection of full-frame reading glasses , half-frame reading glasses, and rimless reading glasses by going to our Frame Search page.

Folding Readers

Folding reading glasses are designed to take up less space in your pocket or purse. There are many different designs of folding reading glasses. Some called pen readers or tube readers are reading glasses that fold into a little tube, that you can drop in your pocket. The tube helps to protect the reading glasses from getting crushed. One of our favorite folding reading glasses are the Calvin Klein Folding Reading Glasses.Follow this link to see our full collection of folding reading glasses.

Bifocal Readers

Bifocal reading glasses are glasses that have clear lenses at the top, and reading lenses at the bottom.With bifocal reading glasses, you can look straight through the top portion of the lens, and still get reading magnification when you look down.


Rimless reading glasses are very practical because your eye does not have negotiate around the frame around the lens. The edge of the lens obstructs your vision much less than an eyeglass frame does. Follow this link to read more about rimless eyeglasses.

Bifocal and No-Line Readers

Stock reading glasses are available in a bifocal style, in which there is a line that separates the lower reading lens from the upper clear lens. No-line reading glasses perform the same function, but there is no visible line between the two lens viewing areas. As you move your eyes down from the upper half, the magnification increases slowly allowing you to see better at different close up distances.

Sun Readers

Reading glasses with tinted lenses are designed so that you can read in bright light conditions. For reading in the sun, many people wear regular sunglasses with contact lenses underneath. Or you can wear regular sunglasses with stick on magnifiers (see below).

Monocles and Pince Nez

Believe it or not, monocles and pince nez are still very much desired magnification devices. A monocle is a single round frame that is held in the eye socket. Pince nez means "pinch nose" and the frame literally pinches the side of the nose to hold it in place.