Reading Glasses Strength Explained

Reading Glasses Strength Explained

Purchasing your first pair of reading glasses can be a hard decision! You may feel like you don’t need reading glasses, but you’ve recently noticed that you are having a hard time reading text up close, you are experiencing headaches that weren’t there before, or noticing a lot of eye strain when you are reading. Don’t panic as this is a normal occurrence for most people once they are over the age of 40. When we age, our eyes slowly start weakening, and it takes extra energy for them to do the same stuff you did when you were younger.

If you started to wonder about your eyes and visited an eye doctor, they may have mentioned the word presbyopia. Presbyopia is caused by the eye losing elasticity of the lens and having a harder time focusing actively on nearby objects. If you and your doctor discussed the process of presbyopia, they may have given you a prescription for reading glasses or given a suggestion for over-the-counter readers. Let’s talk more about what goes into a reading glass prescription.

How do I know what strength reading glasses to get?

You may be shopping for reading glasses and wondering what does the +1.0 mean? What is the difference between +1.00 and +1.50? These numbers, aka diopters, refer to the magnification level of that lens you are looking through. The lower numbers tell you there is less magnification in the lens and as you climb in diopters the magnification will be stronger.

reading glasses power


Typically reading glasses diopters range from +1.00 to +4.00 and increase in 0.25 increments. The reading glasses power best for you is specific to your eyes. However, a general rule of thumb to follow is the older you are the higher the power you’ll need. Below is a general guide that will help you begin the process of finding the reading power best for your eyes. We still highly recommend visiting an eye doctor to confirm the diopter magnification that works best for your eyes.

Age Power
35-40 +1.00
45-50 +1.50
50-60 +2.00
60-70 +2.50 - +3.00

Can I try on different reading glasses to find my power?

When shopping for reading glasses, most people will go to a Target or Walmart to try on all the different powers. While this route can sometimes be helpful in finding the right power, we still recommend visiting an eye doctor to get an eye exam and see if you need a prescription for reading glasses.

reading glasses power gunnar


One thing to be aware of when trying on reading glasses in different powers is that our eyes can adjust to those glasses very fast when you put them on for a few seconds. You might be able to read something in front of you without any problems, however if it’s not the right diopter magnification you might experience headaches, blurred vision, or eye strain. What’s happening is our brain is trying to adjust for the lens in front of the eye, but if it is not correctly focusing light on the retina, we won’t have clear, comfortable vision.

If you are questioning whether you need reading glasses then the best route to take is to visit an eye doctor. An eye doctor will be able to write a reading glasses prescription and recommend the best reading power strength for over-the-counter glasses, based on the results of your eye exam. Your eye doctor will test your near and distance in the exam. This allows the doctor to adjust and fine tune the prescription to meet your eyes specific needs.

Do I need GUNNAR Blue Light Reading Glasses?

If you are questioning whether you need reading glasses or not then ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you find it hard to read small print?
  • Do your eyes feel tired after reading or staring at a screen?
  • Do you ever have headaches while reading?
  • Do you need something to be right next to your face to read it?
  • Are you over the age of 40?

If you are experiencing two or three of these symptoms, not including your age, then consider getting an eye exam to understand what prescription would work best for you. Having the appropriate reading prescription paired with GUNNAR blue light reading glass technology protects your eyes from harmful blue light. Our mission at GUNNAR is to protect your eyes from harmful blue light from all digital devices with our patented lens technology. Our lens technology does much more than just protect your eyes from blue light. The GUNNAR lens will reduce digital eye strain, prevent dry eyes, minimize glare, and help you sleep better. GUNNAR offers reading glasses in powers +1.00, +1.50, +2.00, +2.50, and +3.00 in our signature Amber and Clear lens tints. The Amber lens blocks 65% of blue light while Clear blocks 35%.

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