How to Tell if You Need Reading Glasses

Squinting isn't great. Neither is being surprised when the server brings you something other than what you thought you’d ordered. But you’d be surprised how many people fight their way through ordering dinner in a darkened restaurant because they don’t want to admit that they can’t see close up. If you’re one of those people—the same folks, incidentally, who associate reading glasses with lunch ladies and cat shelter volunteers—listen up. Here’s how to tell if you need reading glasses...and what to do about it.

The Science of Squinting

Let’s start with some basic science. As you age, the lenses in your eyes gradually lose their natural suppleness and flexibility. The same thing is happening with your skin. But while your skin develops superficial signs of aging, like laugh lines and crow’s feet, your eyes develop functional symptoms of aging—and this often affects the quality of your vision. This condition is called presbyopia, which is just a fancy word for age-related farsightedness; it means you can’t see close up

When we squint to deal with our presbyopia, we’re reducing the amount of light entering the eye, while also slightly altering the shape of the lens. And it does help, a little—but it’s not a long-term solution, if you’ve lost your ability to focus for close vision. Now, it’s possible that due to lifestyle or heredity, you’re already wearing corrective lenses for another vision issue. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you won’t ALSO need reading glasses (lame, we know). You’re more likely to develop presbyopia if you spend a lot of time reading, take certain medications or have an underlying medical condition. 

So, DO You Need Reading Glasses?

Well, you’re gonna tell US that, after you finish squinting your way through this article. There are a few foolproof signs you need reading glasses, and most of them are pretty obvious. The first one is age; while of course everyone’s an individual, most folks get their first pair of reading glasses between the ages of 40 and 60. Does everyone need reading glasses after 40? Definitely not. But if you’re 40+ and you’ve encountered any other signs you need reading glasses, it’s probably time to suck it up. (Side note: CADDIS readers are not your lunch lady’s readers, so sucking it up does not have to suck).

Physical Signs You Need Reading Glasses

Here’s a question we get asked a lot: is there a “do I need reading glasses test?” And the answer is YES, RIGHT HERE. But also, remember how your body let you know it was time to stop eating nachos for dinner, or that you absolutely needed to stretch before the faculty kickball game? Yeah. So, chances are, the ol’ bod has been giving you hints for a while now—and they might be more subtle than you think.

For example: do you find yourself needing more light when you’re reading in bed, or doing close work at your desk? Studies show that a 60-year-old needs about three times as much light as a 20-year-old, to do the same task. Do your eyes feel tired, or do you find you’re rubbing them more often? These are both common physical signs you need reading glasses—as are frequent headaches, and seeing fuzzy halos around light sources. They’re all evidence that your eyes are working harder than they have to. 

Behavioral Signs You Need Reading Glasses

There are those among us who simply refuse to go gently into that good night—and you know who you are. It’s called denial, folks, and we’ve reached the part of the article that calls you out. Do you find yourself holding your phone or book at arm’s length, and still struggling to sort out all of those blurry characters? After squinting, this is the most obvious of the behavioral signs you need reading glasses.

Others are less in-your-face, but just as telling. Do you find yourself giving up halfway through your makeup routine? Waiting to read your email when you get home, on your desktop computer’s daylight-bright screen? These can all be signs you’re struggling with age-related farsightedness. The good news is, once you come around to the hard truth, CADDIS has got you covered. We know you’ll be thrilled by how great it is to see clearly again—and how good you look, too. See you soon.

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