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Reading glasses on a printed eye test article

Do I need glasses? How to test if you need reading glasses


If you're over 35, you might be asking yourself the question; do I need reading glasses? And, if you’re reading this, the chances are you might have been experiencing changes in your vision lately.

Read on to discover whether you might need glasses, and learn the best way to test if you need reading glasses yourself.

What are the signs that you might need reading glasses

Needing reading glasses, or losing the ability to see things up close, is known as presbyopia. It is a normal part of the process of growing older, and usually occurs in middle-aged adults and older people. Originally mentioned as early as the writings of Aristotle in the 4th century BC, glass lenses started to be used to solve the problem as early as the 13th century.

Presbyopia occurs when muscles that work to focus the soft lens in your eyes begin to wear out, leading to the soft lens naturally stiffening. If your friends haven’t started using reading glasses yet, it’s only a matter of time; most people will get presbyopia sooner rather than later.

Here are some common signs that you might suffer from presbyopia, and might need reading glasses.

Difficulty focusing on up-close objects

This one may seem obvious, but it is a telltale sign. You might have been working from home more lately, and if you’ve found focusing on near objects like computers, tablet screens and notepads to be difficult, you might need glasses.

Holding things further away to read them

Are your arms suddenly not long enough? Holding your mobile phone, books, or menus further away from your face in order to see more clearly is one of the signs that you need reading glasses.

Squinting or narrowing your eyes

Much like holding things further away to read them, if you find yourself squinting your eyes at texts and books, you might be stopping and asking yourself, do I need glasses? Although narrowing your eyes to read better can help in the short run, it can often develop into a habit that increases your risk of eye strain in the long term.

Frequent headaches

As your eyes need to work harder to read at close distances, they become strained which can cause headaches. If you experience headaches after longer periods of reading or at the end of the workday, it may be due to presbyopia.

Always looking for better light

One of the symptoms of presbyopia is the need for brighter light in order for your eyes to focus up close. So if you’re always turning on all of the lights at home or using the flashlight on your phone to read the menu when you’re at a restaurant, it may be a sign that you need reading glasses.

Rubbing your eyes

Often caused by reading, especially on a digital screen, your eyes may feel tired, dry and itchy. This is known as eye fatigue. Blue light blocking glasses can help to reduce it, but it is often linked to presbyopia and can be a sign that you might benefit from an eye test for reading glasses.

So, how do I test if I need glasses online?

With all this said, it’s relatively easy to recognise the signs of presbyopia. You’ll probably initially find that it starts to get difficult to complete close-up activities, like reading, working or sewing.

If you suspect that you might need reading glasses, you may start using a larger font on your phone, or finding that using a reading light may help, but they’re not long term fixes.

Eye charts for reading glasses online can help give you an idea of whether you might be starting to need reading strength.

However, the only way to really know if you need reading glasses and figure out what strength you need is to book an eye test. Testing your eyes every two years is usually a good idea, as your eyes work hard on a day to day basis. If you’re experiencing any of the above, it’s probably time to get a checkup.

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