According to the Vision Council of America, 182 million Americans use some sort of vision-correcting eyewear. That’s about 55% of the population. Of those people, 60% are far-sighted, meaning they can see things far away but may have trouble reading. In addition, about 25% of people who currently are not far-sighted will become so as they age. That means there are millions of people in America alone who need the help of the best reading glasses.
Why do so many people need reading glasses? As we age, the lens in our eye becomes less flexible, making it harder for the eyes to focus on objects within arms’ length. In the medical world, this is called presbyopia, which translates to “elder vision,” although some people may need reading glasses far earlier than others.
In many cases, off-the-rack reading glasses that you can pick up for cheap on Amazon and other online stores will suffice. Before we dive into the best reading glasses available online, let’s first look at the difference between prescription reading glasses and store-bought reading glasses.
Prescription vs. Store-Bought Reading Glasses
Off-the-rack or store-bought cheaters are essentially magnifying glasses in a frame you can wear. Different degrees of magnification are indicated on the label, usually ranging from 0.5x to 6.0x. If you only need a small amount of magnification and you need the same magnification in both eyes, using a pair of store-bought glasses will usually suffice.
However, the fact that you can use store-bought glasses doesn’t mean you can forgo an annual eye exam. Suddenly needing the help of reading glasses could also be a symptom of a more serious condition, like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Upon visiting an eye doctor, he or she may recommend you use prescription reading glasses if your eyes need a stronger magnification than store-bought glasses can afford or if your eyes need different strengths.
If you know over-the-counter readers are the best option for you, read on to learn more about the best reading glasses available for purchase online.
1. Gaoye 5-Pack Reading Glasses
The thing about reading glasses is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a quality pair that looks nice. The Gaoye five-Pack Reading Glasses proves just that. The resin frames come in several different colors, including tortoiseshell and plain black, and the polycarbonate lenses block blue light and are practically indestructible, ensuring you won’t lose a pair every time you drop them. Plus, this combination of materials also makes these readers extremely lightweight. Available in a variety of magnifications, from 0.0x to 4.0x, these glasses are suitable for both men and women, so you can share the set with your partner, too.
2. DOUBLETAKE Reading Glasses
If you want a glasses and case combo, you can’t beat the DOUBLETAKE Reading Glasses. This pair of minimalist readers come with two pen cases, allowing you to clip your glasses on your belt or carry them easily in your pocket without worrying that the glasses will become scratched. This is especially useful for people who don’t want to wear reading glasses full time but may need them periodically throughout the day. Furthermore, the metal frames of the glasses hold quality glass lenses that come in a variety of magnifications, from 1.0x to 4.0x. They’re suitable for both men and women.
3. Gamma Ray Optics Reading Glasses
BEST METAL FRAMES
For the past several decades, metal frames have been the norm for reading glasses. That’s because metal is sturdy, often lightweight and won’t break under pressure. It also offers clean and minimalist lines on the face. If you’d like to rock that style, consider the Gamma Ray Optics Reading Glasses. This pack of three is available in a variety of magnifications, all the way up to 6.0x, and they come with a manufacturer’s warranty against defects for up to two years.
4. Boost Eyewear 6 Pack Reading Glasses
The thing about reading glasses is that you don’t always have to wear them, and they therefore often get forgotten. The fix to this is to have multiple pairs of readers so that you can stash one in every room of your house, or so that when you forget a pair at a public place, you still have several backup pairs. That’s why the Boost Eyewear Reading Glasses come with six different pairs of glasses. The set of unisex glasses includes two black pairs, two tortoiseshell pairs, one blue pair and one red pair. Available in a variety of diopters (a.k.a. magnification strengths) up to 4.0, these glasses also boast shatter-resistant frames and lenses for your safety.
5. TruVision Reading Glasses 2 Pack
Just because you need to wear reading glasses doesn’t mean you have to look like your grandparents. The TruVision Reading Glasses offer a timeless appeal thanks to their always trendy black frames and slight curvature of the lens. In addition, these glasses boast durability rarely found in other readers as they sport Sure-Flex spring arms and Dura-Tight screws. As an added bonus, each of the two pairs of glasses in this set comes with a microfiber cleaning cloth bag. That way, you’ll never have to deal with smudges on your glasses when you’re out and about.
6. Success Eyewear Reading Glasses
Possibly the most portable eyewear on our list, the Success Eyewear Reading Glasses fold down to fit in a case that’s just a couple of inches square. When unfolded, the glasses remain small with frames that are just 48mm by 25mm. This set of two comes with one pair in gunmetal and another pair in black. Plus, they’re available in strengths ranging from 0.75x to 3.0x. Just keep in mind that these are not the most comfortable glasses to wear, so if you need a pair of readers more frequently than not, you may want to invest in a different selection from this list.
7. NOVIVON 5-Pack Blue Light Blocking Reading Glasses
BEST BLUE-LIGHT BLOCKING
Blue light emitted by electronics can be bad for your eye health, especially if you’re continually exposed at night. Not only can it impact the quality of your sleep, but blue light may also leave you at risk of macular degeneration. While the best fix is to give up electronics after dark, that is rather impractical in today’s day and age. One way around this is to ensure your reading glasses have blue-light-blocking lenses like the NOVIVON Reading Glasses do. This means that the blue wavelengths won’t reach your eyes, allowing you to clearly read your tablet, ebook or smartphone at any time without compromising your eye health.
8. Eyekepper Men’s Vintage Reading Glasses
You aren’t always going to need reading glasses in shady environments or indoors. Whether you’re reading by the pool, enjoying a newspaper while you drink a cup of coffee al fresco or are having a business meeting over lunch on the patio, occasionally you’ll need sunglasses that are also readers. Thankfully, the Eyekepper Men’s Vintage Reading Glasses come with five different pairs of glasses, one of which boasts tinted lenses. All five pairs boast comfortable-to-wear, plastic frames and spring-loaded hinges. And, they’re available in strengths ranging from 0.0x to 4.0x.
9. Norperwise 5 Pairs Reading Glasses
BEST PLASTIC FRAMES
While metal frames may be more traditional, plastic frames are more modern. They’re harder to bend out of shape but do tend to snap more often. Still, they’re fashionable thanks to the variety of styles and colors available. Some of our favorites are these Norperwise Reading Glasses. Their round frames are perfectly in style in 2020, so you can wear them all day and not just when you need to read something. The set comes with five unisex pairs of glasses and is available in several different color combinations and strengths ranging from 0.5x to 6x.
10. Eyebobs Al Fresco 52mm Reading Glasses
The Eyebobs slogan is, “You supply the personality. We frame it.” And, we couldn’t think of a better way to sum up their Al Fresco 52mm Reading Glasses. While significantly more expensive than the other glasses on our list, these readers add a touch of personality to your face thanks to their two-tone matte metal frames in blue. Tortoiseshell accents add to the design. You’ll definitely score style points when you pull out these glasses the next time you need to read a document in the office. They’re available in magnifications from +1.25 to +3.00, and they come in black, too, if you want something a little less flashy.