How to Wear Reading Glasses With Contacts

Senior woman thinking
Close-up of an elderly woman wearing reading glasses. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

If you find yourself needing to hold books, magazines and other written material at arm's length to read the words, you are probably developing a condition known as presbyopia. Presbyopia is a common age-related change in vision that usually strikes around the age of 40. The condition causes your eyes to lose flexibility, making it difficult to focus on close objects. If you already wear contact lenses to correct distance vision, you can easily wear reading glasses as needed with your contacts for close-up viewing.

Step 1

Schedule an eye exam with your optometrist to make sure your prescription for nearsightedness is correct. Because your eyes change over time, you must have a current prescription so your contact lenses provide the best possible vision to view objects that are far away. Your eye examiner will also check for presbyopia and other eye problems.

Step 2

Talk to your eye-care professional about prescription reading glasses that you can wear with your contact lenses. Prescription reading glasses are better quality than over-the-counter versions. Choose prescription glasses if your presbyopia is severe or if you do a lot of reading and detail-oriented work.

Step 3

Buy over-the-counter reading glasses if your presbyopia is slight or you need to use reading glasses only occasionally. Try on many pairs to find the strength that you need to read printed words held about 14 to 16 inches from your face. Check the labels, which indicate the level of magnification. The weakest reading glasses are marked +1.00 and increase incrementally to the strongest at +4.00.

Step 4

Decide whether you prefer half- or full-frame reading glasses. With half-frame lenses, you can look down into the lenses to view up close and look up over the lenses to see far away. Full-frame lenses may be a better choice if you spend long periods of time viewing words or objects up close without needing to look away.

Step 5

Keep your reading glasses handy so you can use them as needed to read and view items up close. Wear reading glasses on a chain around your neck or buy several pairs to keep in key locations.

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