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Reading Glasses Choose the Eye Doctor or the Drug Store?

Reading Glasses The time has finally come. You find yourself are struggling to read the newspaper, the words on a menu or the directions on a prescription bottle. But you can see fine most of the time, maybe even better than average, and they sell reading glasses at the drugstore! So you don't need an eye exam, right? Wrong.

Just like preventative care and testing is important for your overall good health, regular vision exams are essential if you want to keep your sight, especially as you get older. Don't settle for the cheap reading glasses that you find at dollar stores, big box retailers and the like; see your eye doctor!

Rule out more serious eye problems
Over-the-counter reading glasses may help with your symptoms, but they're not curing the underlying problem. While you're most likely suffering from presbyopia if you're over 40, there are also other eye problems which can cause similar symptoms, some of which are a lot more serious. Don't gamble with your eyesight by guessing, see your eye doctor to get an official diagnosis. And do it soon, because some eye diseases, if left untreated, can progress causing irreversible vision loss. You should always schedule an appointment as soon as possible once you notice any vision problems.

You deserve better
The reading glasses that you can buy at local retailers are less effective than their prescription counterparts for a number of reasons:
  • The fit for the frames will be generic, so you won't get as good a fit as you would with glasses made just for you. This is especially problematic for those with faces that are bigger or smaller than average.

  • They will only correct some levels (typically very mild) of near vision problems and will not address multiple vision needs or other conditions, such as astigmatism.

  • Ready-made glasses always have the same prescription in both eyes, but most people have one eye weaker than the other. So this means that likely only one of your eyes will be getting adequate vision correction.

  • Since the glasses were not specifically designed for you, the optic centers of the lenses may not line up with the center of your pupils.

  • Wearing eyeglasses that aren't quite right (wrong prescription, off center, etc) can cause unpleasant symptoms like headaches, eyestrain and nausea.

In addition, depending on your vision needs, there may be a better option for you than standard reading glasses. For example, if you already need eyeglasses for distance, you might prefer to have one pair of multifocal glasses rather than two separate pairs, and that's certainly not something you can just pick up at the store. Or if you prefer contacts, you may want to give multifocal or monovision lenses a try. There are also surgical options that you can consider if you're interested in the convenience of being totally lens-free.

Better vision for all of your activities
A visit to the eye doctor can address vision, not only far away but near and intermediate as well. Many of the people in the 40 and above age group work, drive and engage in a number of activities. It is important that they have good, clear vision for all of the parts of their life. Not only can the doctor prescribe glasses that correct vision, the frames will fit correctly and comfortably. Other options and features can be selected as well.

In addition to glasses, there are other options that can be addressed, but only if you visit your eye care professional first. For instance, you can use contact lenses that address near and distance vision correction needs or you could have surgery that will restore your vision to the level it was at before, or in some cases to an even better level. It is important to take excellent care of your eyes, including regular eye exams. Reading glasses that you buy at the retail stores could potentially cause eye strain, could lead you to neglect your eye health and could never replace your eye doctor.

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