Reading glasses: Who, how and why?!

Posted on Categories glasses guides, our products

What are reading glasses?

Reading glasses are exactly what they sound like – glasses you wear for reading, or texting, or sewing a patchwork quilt – anything up-close! Reading glasses magnify objects, easing the strain on your eyes.

Why do you need reading glasses?

Most of us will need reading glasses around our 40th birthday. This isn’t some weird coincidence – it’s actually part of the aging process! As you get older, your eye’s lens becomes less elastic, or ‘presbyopic’, so it needs to work harder to focus on near objects. You might recognise ‘long-arm-syndrome’, where people begin to read at arms length because they can’t focus comfortably at short distances.

Magnifying reading glasses take pressure off the lens by enlarging the object, so your eye doesn’t strain so much swapping between looking up-close and into the distance. Those who have been experiencing eye-strain or tension headaches should consider reading glasses.

Reading as a past-time; iPad and Kindle as a present-time!

eReaders have played an important role in consumption of books and newspapers; but now our technological lives have taken over – this extends to the iPad, Kindle, Blackberry, or even that clunky work laptop! Having so many tiny techno-things in our lives means it might be a good idea to have multiple-pairs in multiple-places (…so maybe take advantage of our multiple pair discount!).

How to decode your reading prescription from that piece of paper your optometrist gave you!

Reading prescriptions (or ‘rx’!) can be tricky to decipher. Sometimes it is written as your normal prescription, plus an ‘add’ or additional power, which is added to the normal lens ‘sphere power’ to make reading glasses.

Sometimes they are written down like the second example below, usually marked ‘single vision near’ (or ‘SVN’ for short).

This is the prescription of a presbyopic person (Bob):

Normal Prescription


Sphere Cylinder Add
Right +1.50 -1.00 x 90 +2.50
Left +1.00 -1.00 x 180 +2.50

Bob’s reading script (sphere power + add power = reading power) would be: (R: 1.50 + 2.50 = +4.00) and (L: 1.00+2.50 = +3.50):

Reading Prescription – SVN


Sphere Cylinder
Right +4.00 -1.00 x 90
Left +3.50 -1.00 x 180

If Bob’s original sphere power was ‘-1.50’ instead, then his reading power would be (R: -1.50 + 2.50 = +1.00).

The cylinder power if you have one stays the same (hmm… we might write a blog on cylinder power and astigmatism soon!). But see how the two lenses have a different sphere power? That means your lenses are personalised to each eye, unlike ‘off the shelf’ magnifying glasses.

Turning Sneaking Duck frames into reading glasses

Now you wanna buy your personalised reading glasses online? We’re glad you do! Reading lenses can go into any of our frames. Your lenses should be thicker in the middle than the sides so don’t worry about coke-bottle glasses!

  • If your reading power is anything above a +4.00 (like Bob!), try and keep the frame size down, because the bigger your lenses, the heavier they’ll feel on your face.
  • Small frames are also good, because you can pull them down your nose to look over the top of them, like your affable office secretary!
  • Remember you’re not wearing your reading glasses all the time – so go wild with colour!
  • Plastic or acetate frames can be more durable for putting down and picking back up a lot too.

Featured Frames

Try the frames below, or browse our collection or try frames on online.