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Old 08-30-2016, 02:23 PM
DLuxN8R-13 DLuxN8R-13 is offline
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Are cheap reading glasses bad for your eyes? Need answer fast!

Tues 08/30/16
11:12AM

Since I turned 50 my close-up vision has gone to shit, as it does for most people who live long enough. When my eyesight first started getting bad I went in a panic to the eye doctor fearing I might have glaucoma or something awful like that and was told that, no, all I had was aging eyeballs and that I would be needing reading glasses.

That was seven years ago. My circumstances being what they are (I go through pairs of specs and shades like I do Bic lighters--I wear them out if I don't sit or step on them, or leave them on a bus or at the counter or in someone else's house or just lose them somewhere or drop them on the street so that the lenses pop out-- sometimes I go through three pairs of them in a month), I've been getting my reading glasses at the local buck-and-change stores for two or three dollars a pair . They're made out of plastic including the lenses, on the flimsy side and they are sold on a revolving rack with a little sticker saying what magnification they are like 100x or 325x all the way up to 500x.

When I started out I could get by okay on 175x or 200x; after seven years I take a 300x or 325x. Usually I go to the buck-and-change store once a month and get a couple or four new pairs for like six to eight bucks total so that I'll always have a fresh pair available.

I got to wondering if these cheap reading glasses might have caused my eyesight to become worse faster...so, does anyone know whether or not they are bad for one's vision either immediately or in the long term?

Last edited by DLuxN8R-13; 08-30-2016 at 02:25 PM. Reason: x placement
  #2  
Old 08-30-2016, 02:44 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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I've been wearing reading glasses for about 10 years. There's no way I would wear the $3 cheapies. It's the $5 to $7 cheapies for me. The lens quality is a bit better and they are a bit sturdier and are just more comfortable overall.

From everything I've read about them, they won't hurt your eyes. On the other hand, if you wear cheapies instead of going to get an actual eye exam you might actually have some sort of problem with your eyes that isn't being diagnosed. Also, the cheapies are obviously not custom made for your eyes, so they are the same lens in both eyes, which isn't ideal for your vision. They also can't correct for things like astigmatism. But hey, what do you expect for 3 bucks.

Last edited by engineer_comp_geek; 08-30-2016 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:13 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
I've been wearing reading glasses for about 10 years. There's no way I would wear the $3 cheapies. It's the $5 to $7 cheapies for me. The lens quality is a bit better and they are a bit sturdier and are just more comfortable overall.

From everything I've read about them, they won't hurt your eyes. On the other hand, if you wear cheapies instead of going to get an actual eye exam you might actually have some sort of problem with your eyes that isn't being diagnosed. Also, the cheapies are obviously not custom made for your eyes, so they are the same lens in both eyes, which isn't ideal for your vision. They also can't correct for things like astigmatism. But hey, what do you expect for 3 bucks.

Yep. Dont get the super cheapos but the regular drug store kind are fine, in fact that what my eye doctor told me to get.
  #4  
Old 08-30-2016, 03:38 PM
mixdenny mixdenny is online now
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Like the other replies, I recommend a mid level reader. I'm up to a 3.25 for close reading myself. By the way, 3.25 is the diopter, not the magnification. Diopter is the reciprocal of the focal length in meters. So a 3 = 1/3 meter. I haven't seen them listed in magnification powers.

The only place I can find that high around here is Walgreens and they sell Foster Grants. They are excellent quality but pricey, often on sale for 2 for $29.

Walmart has lower diopters for around $8 and I use a 1 for driving and a 1.75 for computer work.

Dennis
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Old 08-30-2016, 04:04 PM
bump bump is offline
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If you're really worried about it, you can do what I did for my work pair, and go somewhere like Zenni Optical and have them make you a set of readers- just put +1, etc.. in the diopter section.

And if you have a prescription with an astigmatism correction, you can put that in there too.
  #6  
Old 08-30-2016, 04:08 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Originally Posted by mixdenny View Post
I use a 1 for driving
I am quite shocked to hear this since reading glasses are for reading and make distance vision really awful.

I get my reading glasses in 3-packs at Costco.
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2016, 04:17 PM
Si Amigo Si Amigo is online now
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My eye doctor told me to go out and buy two pair of readers at the drug store, one for each eye prescription and that his technicians would put them together into one working pair for free. And then I thought, what a racket, why doesn't the drug store also sell lenses for distance prescriptions and put this guy out of business?

Last edited by Si Amigo; 08-30-2016 at 04:17 PM.
  #8  
Old 08-30-2016, 05:49 PM
BeeGee BeeGee is offline
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I've been nearsighted all my life and worn contacts for 35 years to correct that and astigmatism. Now I've got the far-sightedness, too. I have Acuvue for Astigmatism for driving, watching sports or movies, or other every day tasks. For computer screen tasks at work, I switch out my left regular lens for one that focuses at about 22 inches: monitor distance for me. That's my monovision lens. So my prescription is basically OD: -4.25 -180, OS -4.50 -010, OS -2.50 -010. Reading glasses were not doing it for me in regards to the monitors and papers I need to see at work. It allows me to change focus from monitor to office visitor to walking down the hall without messing with glasses or running into walls. If I'm doing a steady up close task like embroidery or reading a book, I either put on reading glasses which I buy at the dollar store or I remove my vision correction altogether. That's really the easiest way for me to read.
  #9  
Old 08-30-2016, 06:47 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLuxN8R-13 View Post
I got to wondering if these cheap reading glasses might have caused my eyesight to become worse faster...so, does anyone know whether or not they are bad for one's vision either immediately or in the long term?
No. They will not harm your eyes.

Needing increasingly powerful readers as you continue to age is normal.

However, you really should get an actual eye exam at some point just to make sure there's nothing else going on with your eyes or vision. There probably isn't, but you should check and be sure.
  #10  
Old 08-30-2016, 06:51 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
No. They will not harm your eyes.

Needing increasingly powerful readers as you continue to age is normal.

However, you really should get an actual eye exam at some point just to make sure there's nothing else going on with your eyes or vision. There probably isn't, but you should check and be sure.
Good advice.
  #11  
Old 08-31-2016, 01:49 PM
DLuxN8R-13 DLuxN8R-13 is offline
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Well, jeez! I'd like to thank everyone who posted to reassure and set me straight on the question.

My last eye exam was when I was 52 or 53 and had a glaucoma scare (why yes, I am a hypochondriac, how'd you guess?)
  #12  
Old 08-31-2016, 01:56 PM
Bones Daley Bones Daley is offline
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
I am quite shocked to hear this since reading glasses are for reading and make distance vision really awful.
I beg to differ (although I may be unique).

For driving, I use 2 diopter cheap reading glasses from ASDA ( Walmarts) and wearing them I can read a number plate at 25 meters, which is the standard UK police test test for fitness to drive. I can also see clearly for hundreds of meters ahead when I am driving.

It may well be that a pair of prescription glasses would be much more efficient, but as far as I can tell these glasses are as efficient as they need to be.
  #13  
Old 08-31-2016, 02:31 PM
GusNSpot GusNSpot is offline
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Since my lens replacement, fighting the 'floaters' is my biggest problem no matter what type of glasses in use at the moment.

Mostly in a somewhat dark window behind my monitor. They have been zapped twice but my left eye makes extras I think. It is the distraction of thinking I see something and that break in focus makes my spell checker work way too hard and my neck muscles work to the point of pain from trying to see if what I see is really something I need to see or disregard seeing.

See my problem??
  #14  
Old 08-31-2016, 02:35 PM
GusNSpot GusNSpot is offline
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Must try Walgreen as I never see anything but '1.25' up to '3.00' and never anything above that.
  #15  
Old 08-31-2016, 02:39 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLuxN8R-13 View Post
I've been getting my reading glasses at the local buck-and-change stores for two or three dollars a pair . They're made out of plastic including the lenses, on the flimsy side and they are sold on a revolving rack with a little sticker saying what magnification they are like 100x or 325x all the way up to 500x.
Those are pretty powerful glasses if they're making things look 100 to 500 times as large as they actually are! Or maybe there's a decimal point in there that you need glasses to see.

In my experience, those cheap dollar-store reading glasses work differently from prescription glasses. The former magnify what you're looking at (thus making it easy to read), while the latter help you focus on what you're looking at but don't change its apparent size.
  #16  
Old 08-31-2016, 03:44 PM
Vicsage Vicsage is offline
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Was in the business for over 30 years. Cheap reading glasses will not hurt your vision. You may not be able to see as well as a Dr. prescribed Rx. Cheap readers correct both eyes the same. Most people have different Rx"s in each eye, so one eye may be blurry at a distance where the other eye is clear. Also lenses have optic centers that should be located in front of the pupil. If they aren't, you create prism and possible double vision while wearing the glasses. Could also give you a headache. No lasting damage to vision though
  #17  
Old 08-31-2016, 04:18 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
I've been wearing reading glasses for about 10 years. There's no way I would wear the $3 cheapies. It's the $5 to $7 cheapies for me. The lens quality is a bit better and they are a bit sturdier and are just more comfortable overall.

From everything I've read about them, they won't hurt your eyes. On the other hand, if you wear cheapies instead of going to get an actual eye exam you might actually have some sort of problem with your eyes that isn't being diagnosed. Also, the cheapies are obviously not custom made for your eyes, so they are the same lens in both eyes, which isn't ideal for your vision. They also can't correct for things like astigmatism. But hey, what do you expect for 3 bucks.
I've been wearing semi-cheapies from the drug store ($25), but definitely get wire frame. And even then be sure to save the receipt. They usually last me about 6 months to a year, but I've had a few fall apart in a couple days.

Last edited by John Mace; 08-31-2016 at 04:18 PM.
  #18  
Old 08-31-2016, 06:07 PM
mixdenny mixdenny is online now
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
I am quite shocked to hear this since reading glasses are for reading and make distance vision really awful.

I get my reading glasses in 3-packs at Costco.

Not really, they correct vision. 1.00s make the smaller letters on signs pop into perfect focus for me. So I guess my 'normal' vision needs a slight correction. The only time it matters is for driving. Especially at night, as your pupils get larger to allow more light, they loose depth of field and I would get a small amount of blurring from lights. Put on my 1.00s and everything snaps into place.

I used to use 1.25 for scoring targets in rifle matches, they work nicely for things 10-15 feet away for me. (You are down in the pit and the targets are maybe ten feet over your head). And I used a 2.00 for rifle shooting itself. Those are semi-distant uses.

Dennis
  #19  
Old 08-31-2016, 06:11 PM
mixdenny mixdenny is online now
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Originally Posted by GusNSpot View Post
Must try Walgreen as I never see anything but '1.25' up to '3.00' and never anything above that.

I think it is at the Walmart display that has a sign that reads something like, "It is illegal to sell lenses over 2.75 diopter in NY...)

There could be more states listed and I am not sure about which diopter is stated. Anyone know why?

Dennis
  #20  
Old 08-31-2016, 06:33 PM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is offline
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Originally Posted by mixdenny View Post
I think it is at the Walmart display that has a sign that reads something like, "It is illegal to sell lenses over 2.75 diopter in NY...)

There could be more states listed and I am not sure about which diopter is stated. Anyone know why?

Dennis
Non-prescription reading glasses used to be completely banned in New York. But in 1988 a compromise was reached with the lobbyists for the New York State Ophthalmological Society to allow weak reading glasses. The Society was afraid that people would have fewer eye examinations if the glasses were legal.
  #21  
Old 08-31-2016, 09:33 PM
PastTense PastTense is offline
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It's a good idea to get scratch resistant reading glasses--as reading glasses seem to collect scratches easily.
  #22  
Old 09-02-2016, 03:00 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quote:
Quoth mixdenny:

Not really, they correct vision.
They correct close-up vision. They do not correct distance vision, and in fact will usually make it worse. Vision is not a one-size-fits-all thing to correct: Your eye needs to focus differently to see distant things clearly than to see nearby things. Most of us, when we're young, our eyes can change shape slightly to get this change in focus, but as we age, that ability is often diminished or lost, and so we need to use different glasses for near and far vision to compensate.
  #23  
Old 09-05-2016, 08:46 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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Originally Posted by Si Amigo View Post
My eye doctor told me to go out and buy two pair of readers at the drug store, one for each eye prescription and that his technicians would put them together into one working pair for free. And then I thought, what a racket, why doesn't the drug store also sell lenses for distance prescriptions and put this guy out of business?
Regular glasses accommodate a far greater range of issues, including centering of the lens, astigmatism, and differing eye focus issues. There are too many variations to make stocking them all impractical. Regular glasses are custom fit for a reason.

The cheap drugstore glasses are magnifiers to help aging eyes. As your eyes age, they become less able to focus up close. You run into the problem that your arms aren't long enough - in order for the book/paper to be far enough away to focus on it, you have to get farther away than the length of your arms.

Also, once you get it far enough away, the print is too small to see. The cheapos allow you to focus as if the object is farther than it is. If you have significant difference between both eyes, it may be difficult to get a pair that works with both eyes.

These are the same thing as what they do with bifocals - the bifocal is adding that additional correction in the lower part of the lens where you look to read up close.
  #24  
Old 09-05-2016, 11:28 PM
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I used to use the cheapies from Wally World, but got tired of having to carry them around. So I broke down and got a pair of prescription Ray Bans. Basically clear lenses with a progressive bifocal. Now I can wear them all the time. Since they were about $300 I do get paranoid about losing them.
  #25  
Old 09-05-2016, 11:50 PM
Darryl Lict Darryl Lict is offline
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Costco sells pretty reasonable 3-packs of reading glasses. They don't look awful and seem to be fairly well made. I think they are less than $20 for 3 pairs.
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