Best Reading Glasses for Seniors & the Elderly That Are Helpful & Stylish

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

Although the need for reading glasses may creep up on everyone quicker than we want to accept, it’s normally a thing that comes with aging. Have you realized that you’re straining to read your favorite book or peruse a menu? Here are my recommended reading glasses for older adults.

Income Disclosure: I recommend products based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from links in this guide. Learn More.

If you are like me, you found that you could no longer stretch your arms out far enough to make small text readable. Or, as my grandfather said, “my arms aren’t long enough anymore.”

Or, maybe you are finding yourself with eye strain often and experiencing headaches when working on things up close. If this is the case, it might be time to consider a good pair of reading glasses.

What Are the Best Reading Glasses for Seniors & the Elderly?

Here are my top recommended readers for seniors and the elderly. The next section will cover they various types of reading glasses available and what to look for when shopping for them.

LOOK Optic Stylish & High Quality Readers

look optic reading glasses

LOOK OPTIC offers reading glasses that are several steps above your typical reading glasses. They offer high-quality readers that are stylish and eco-friendly too – some styles are 100% recycled. Sunglasses and blue-light glasses are also part of their offering.

They offer 10 different frame styles in multiple color choices – many styles come in 9 or 10 colors from solids to tortoise shell variations. Their most popular style among women is (affiliate link)the Cosmo while (affiliate link)the Bond is extremely popular among older men.

The folks at LOOK OPTIC sent me a free pair of each of these glasses to try for myself. Personally, I like the Bond – maybe because I am also a fan of a certain British secret agent. Seriously though, I was surprised how lightweight the frames are and how comfortable they are to wear.

Typically, I wear progressive lenses but they aren’t always the best for working on the computer because of the weird neck angles I end up with sometimes. I now use these readers when working because the lens is crystal clear with no glare – and no neck aches either.

I understand the apprehension of buying reading glasses for seniors and elderly folks online. But, LOOK OPTIC makes it easy to give their glasses a try. They offer a 90 Day Risk Free Trial with free shipping and returns plus a one-year warranty. You can even adjust them yourself at home because of their wire frame construction and they are guaranteed not to break too!

They also offer a virtual try-on right at home from your cell phone, tablet, or computer with a camera. Just choose a style then click the virtual try-on button and you can see what you’d look like in their various styles. You can even turn your head and see what you’d look like from the side. It’s honestly kinda fun – give it a try!

Admittedly, these are more expensive than your typical reader but they are made to last with scratch-resistant lenses, Italian spring hinges, and (nearly) unbreakable frames.


The Lynwood from Readers.com

lynwood reading glasses

The Lynwood series of reading glasses were made and designed especially for men and women who like to keep their readers on at all times. They feature a half-frame that you can easily look over when you need to use your far vision.

They are comfortable enough to wear all day too because of their lightweight semi-rimless construction and comfortable nose pads. The metal frames make them durable enough for daily wear too. Available in basic gray and gold color tones.


Clic Unisex Magnetic Front Connect Readers

If misplacing your reading glasses is a consistent problem for you, take a look at these magnetic latching readers from CliC.

These reading glasses separate in the front right above the nose piece and then come back together using a magnetic latch. They also have a built-on strap. So, when you aren’t using them, you can quickly unlatch them, let them hang around your neck, then latch them back. That way, they are always right there when you need them.

These glasses are stylish and quality built too. If you like the convenience of the magnetic frame, you can have your own prescription lenses installed. There are multiple styles and colors available too and magnifications from 1.25x to 3.00x


ThinOptics Universal Pod Rectangular Reading Glasses

These readers from ThinOptics are a great choice for seniors and the elderly who wear hearing aids or don’t want to bother with a full pair of glasses. Because they are extremely lightweight and don’t go over the ears, they are quick to pop on and off as needed.

So, how do they stay on then? They provide a gentle – and pain-free – squeeze so that they stay perched on your nose – even when leaning forward. Because of this style of grip, you can move them up and down your nose too so that they sit at your preferred location.

I also like that these reading glasses are small and highly portable. There is even a version that comes in a keychain case so that you can always have them with you. There are several styles and colors to choose from.

But, because they are so small they are probably better for people who just need occasional help like reading a menu at a restaurant or other printed materials when out and about.


VisionGlobal Blue-Light Blocking Readers

For seniors and older adults who may still be working, using computers, or prefer a more “professional” pair of reading glasses, I like these from VisionGlobal.

They have that more classic wire-frame, minimal look and can be worn higher or lower on the nose. They also come in a wide range of magnifications from 1.0x all the way up to 4.5x!

Eye strain will be minimized because of the built-in anti-reflective coating and blue light blocking. There are multiple styles and colors available and they come in a pack of 4 so you can spread them around to all the places you usually need them!


Gaoye 5-Pack Reading Glasses

Here are some great reading glasses for stylish older adults or ones who can’t make up their minds. These readers come in a multi-pack of mixed colors so you can coordinate with your outfit or wear what suits your mood that day.

The frames are resin with polycarbonate lenses that blocking blue light, They are also known for being extremely durable so you aren’t likely to lose a pair from a simple drop.

Magnifications from 0.0X (no magnification) to 4.0x are available and they come in a pack of 5. UVA/UVB protection and glare reduction are also included.


What Are the Different Types of Reading Glasses?

Non-prescription or “over-the-counter” glasses offer a wide range of functions, such as preventative eye care, fashion, and safety. Let’s look at the different types:

Reading Glasses or “Readers”

They are typically available via prescription or over-the-counter (OTC). They enhance your ability to view things up close, particularly when reading newspapers, books, phone screens, and laptops.

OTC reading glasses are an ideal option for people with good distance vision and the same vision in every eye. These come in varying strengths from +1.0 to +4.0.

If you’re struggling with double vision, digital eye strain, or experiencing headaches from your reading glasses, consider having an eye exam and find out whether you require prescription glasses.

RELATED: Best Reading Lamps for Seniors & Elderly

Sunglasses

You can buy sunglasses whether you have a prescription or not. They can either contain polarized lenses or UV protection treatment. There are tinted reading glasses too for use at the beach or reading out doors.

Digital Protection (or Blue Light Blocking)

Also known as computer glasses, blue light glasses are increasingly becoming more popular. This is particularly among the millennial generation.

Many adults spend a huge part of their day on their phones, tablets, and computers. These glasses may help safeguard your eyes and ultimately make your sleep schedule better.

Reading glasses with blue light blocking are helpful when reading on tablets, computers or e-readers.

Safety Glasses

Numerous professions use safety glasses, such as construction, auto repair, plumbing, electrical work, science labs, etc. They can be bought very inexpensively for basic protection.

If you’re looking for vision correction, consider buying goggles that can fit over your normal glasses or get prescription safety glasses. They could be fitted with similar lenses and treatments as normal frames.

Non-Prescription Glasses

Recently, there has been a tremendous demand for non-prescription glasses. Primarily, these are fashion accessories. They might also act as safety glasses in specific low-risk situations.

pair of reading glasses on a book
Reading glasses are usually a person’s first experience with eyewear so it’s always a good decision to see an eye doctor to make sure it’s nothing more than an age-related vision problem.

Important Features to Consider With Reading Glasses

When shopping for reading glasses for yourself or a senior that you love, pay close attention to the following features.

Frame Fit

Over-the-counter reading glasses, as opposed to prescription glasses from an eye specialist, cannot be personalized for your eyes. That means you’ll have to be careful when looking for a pair that’s a suitable match.

Getting a pair of readers that consists of a frame width and a proper fitting bridge will significantly help optical quality. A nice fitting frame should align the lens’ optical center with the middle of your eye. It’s the best position and may fix numerous potential problems from the beginning.

If you are ordering glasses online, get ones that can be adjusted at home for optimal fit. Some optical stores will adjust them for you for a small fee.

Build & Material Quality

If you’re shopping for a decent pair of readers, you might get the temptation to simply choose the cheapest pair you could get. And although you can find a nice pair of reading glasses this way, that isn’t always the outcome. Cheaper reading glasses will often be poorly made and consist of inferior materials. They may also lack quality control, particularly in the optics department.

Experiencing eyestrain and headaches are often linked to discount reading glasses because of the manufacturers’ inability to steadily create clear, centered optics. You’ll often realize lenses might be distorted or contain impurities that might drastically impact vision quality.

Reading Glasses vs. Prescription Glasses

It’s worth noting that all reading glasses and sunglasses are medical devices and should comply with FDA labeling requirements. This means that a reading glasses manufacturer can’t make unsupported claims of preventative or therapeutic value. Any claims of performance and use need to be approved by the FDA. But, generally, reading glasses and sunglasses don’t need pre-market approval.

How Do I Know If I Need Reading Glasses?

For a majority of us, the need for reading glasses normally begins around the age of 40. I was 44 when I got my first pair. And although you may get an early need for acquiring reading glasses in your 30’s, it’s more uncommon.

Common signs include blurry vision, eyestrain, and headaches during extended reading sessions. Another indication is you might realize that you have to hold items further away from the eyes to focus on small details.

RELATED: Large Print Magazines for Older Adults

How to Know What Magnification Level You Need

Choosing the right lens power or magnification will ultimately be the most important choice you make.

Many brands and sites offer a magnification chart that can guide you to the right lens diopter for the eyes. Typically, the diopters (magnification) begin at +1.00 and usually go to +4.00. You might be able to find powers relatively stronger than +4.00, but it would be best to visit your local eye doctor for a thorough eye exam before selecting a magnification that strong.

Here is a printable reading eye chart you can print at home to help you determine the magnification level you need.

Conclusion

Although it can be very tempting to choose a cheap pair of reading glasses at your local drugstore, there are much better options when you expand your online search. Doing this will create the possibilities for optical quality lenses, better frames, better customer service, and perhaps home try-on programs.

References:

  1. https://www.visioncenter.org/eyeglasses/
  2. https://www.eyeweargenius.com/buyers-guides/needing-reading-glasses/
  3. https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/sites/default/files/ANSI_Z80.3-2015-Points-of-Interest-Guide.pdf
  4. https://spy.com/articles/health-wellness/stress-relief/best-reading-glasses-283158/
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