There are many of us in Northern Colorado who never needed glasses before, but now find that we can’t read a newspaper without stretching our arms to the limit.

This normal, age related change in vision is named presbyopia. The eye’s lense loses some of it’s ability to focus as it ages. For many people this change in vision occurs around the age of 40.

The simplest vision solution to presbyopia is getting a pair of reading glasses. There are two styles of reading glasses to choose from. First we have the full sized glasses where you have a large field of vision for reading and then everything farther away is blurry. Second, we have the the smaller “Ben Franklin” style glasses that sit low on the nose, are about half the size of the full sized glasses and have a smaller field of vision for reading.

Most commonly, full-size reading glasses are the preference of people who desire a large field of view for reading and other close work, and don’t need to see clearly across the room. If you try to look at distant objects through full-size reading glasses, everything beyond arm’s length will be blurred.

In contrast, half-eye, (shorter) reading glasses allow you to look down and through the lenses for near work, and up and over them to see across the room.

Another option here in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley, is bifocal reading glasses. With  these glasses, the top half of the lens may or may not (if you don’t need it) contain a mild correction for distance vision, and the bottom portion of the lens contains the reading prescription. This type of glasses offer the wearer the all of the advantages of a comfortable, full-size frame that can be left on for various activities that require good distance and near vision, such as when reading notes during a class lecture.

Bifocal reading glasses are available with tinted lenses and 100% UV protection for any close reading that is done outdoors in the sun.

Why custom-made reading glasses are better than pre-fabricated ones

Today, in Northern Colorado reading glasses can be customized with your specific prescription and purchased at a doctor’s office or optical store, or they can be purchased “ready-made” at a pharmacy, department store or at many convenience stores.

Ready-made readers are less expensive than custom-made reading glasses, this makes them more affordable, and it is then easy to own several pairs. This way, you can keep a pair in different rooms of the house as well as in your car, office, briefcase, purse, boat and so on.

There is however, one drawback of purchasing ready-made reading glasses; they are essentially “one-size-fits-all” items. The prescription is the same in both lenses, and the location of the optical center of the lenses is not customized for to your specific eyes.

The vast majority of people don’t have precisely the same eyeglasses prescription in both of their eyes, and many have at least a small amount of astigmatism. Some people experience headaches, eyestrain, and even nausea from wearing reading glasses that are too different from their actual glasses prescription, or that have optical centers too far away from the center of their pupils. If you are one of many people who experience these problems, please visit your eye doctor soon for a customized reading glasses prescription. Being able to read without pain or feeling sick is definitely worth it.

The lenses of some ready-made reading glasses sometimes have little bubbles, waves or other defects in them that can interfere with your vision. Because these readers are mass-produced, the quality of the lenses is often not comparable to that of a custom-made pair of reading glasses.

One more difference is that the frames of “one size fits all” reading glasses are often less comfortable, less durable and less stylish than those of custom-made reading glasses.

The danger of forgoing eye exams

The real issue that is much more concerning goes beyond simple reading glasses. A more serious problem associated with pre-made readers has less to do with the glasses than with the reason many people purchase them. There are some people in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley who would rather head to the drugstore instead of the eye doctor when they notice that their current vision correction prescription needs to be updated. There is a recent survey which found that 17% of presbyopes purchased pre-made reading glasses because they “didn’t want to bother with an eye exam.”

Common sense and good eye health indicate that consulting your eye doctor if you notice a change in your vision is in your best interest long term.

It’s true that the changes in your vision need for a new pair of reading glasses may be nothing more than the natural aging process at work. The change in your vision could also be a signal of a more serious problem with your eyes that would need immediate attention. Glaucoma, is an excellent example of a serious eye disease which affects people over the age of 40 that has no symptoms at first but can result in permanent vision loss and even blindness, if it’s not detected early and controlled with medication. Here in Northern Colorado a comprehensive eye exam is the best way to avoid sight-threatening problems and to make sure you keep seeing well for years to come.

For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please call 970-204-4020 or click on the link on the side of the page.