When Will I Need Reading Glasses?

June 26, 2020 — by Thomas Byrd, MD
Tags: Glasses

Digital illustration of reading glasses over black backgroundHealthy eyes are critical for maintaining optimal vision. Dr. Thomas Byrd is a trusted eye doctor with over 20 years of professional experience treating a wide range of eye conditions and diseases.

Age is a risk factor for many vision problems, and so many patients wonder at what age they will need reading glasses. By the time you reach 40, the lens of your eye becomes less flexible. The effects of aging on the lens can lead to the need for reading glasses. At Byrd Eye Clinic, serving Detroit, MI, our eye doctor can perform an eye exam to determine if you need reading glasses.

Signs You Need Reading Glasses

Reading glasses are used to treat the condition known as presbyopia. While diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and eye trauma can result in this condition, the most common risk factor for presbyopia is advanced age.


This eye condition results from the inability of the lens to quickly focus on objects. The lens of a young person is flexible and somewhat elastic. As the muscles around the eye contract, the lens bends to accommodate viewing close or distant images. In the lens of an older adult, the lens is less able to reshape and adjust to eye muscle contractions.

Symptoms of Presbyopia

Patients with this age-related condition often notice that reading text is difficult. They may try looking at text up-close before adjusting the distance at which they hold the book or tablet to try and have the words come into focus. If you struggle to find the proper reading distance for books and tablets, it may be time to let Dr. Byrd determine if you are a candidate for reading glasses.

Other symptoms include:

  • Eye fatigue when reading
  • Difficulty reading in dim light
  • Eye strain when sewing or doing up-close work
  • Trouble seeing smaller print in dim light
  • Frequent headaches when reading
  • Blurry vision or halos

When to See an Eye Doctor

In the short term, you can try eye drops to moisturize your eyes or you can adjust your lighting when reading. Many of our Detroit patients benefit from following the 20-20-20 rule, which advises that every 20 minutes you look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This can relieve momentary eyestrain, but long-term age-related vision problems will likely require reading glasses.

Once Dr. Byrd has had you fitted with your new pair of reading glasses, you can use them as needed. Some of our Detroit patients who use reading glasses also use contacts or corrective lenses while others simply require reading glasses from time to time.

The prescription of your reading glasses may need to be adjusted from time to time. If you are 40 or older, you should schedule annual eye exams at our eye center. Dr. Byrd will determine how effective your reading glasses are and if you need an updated prescription.

Schedule Your Reading Glasses Consultation Today

A quality set of reading glasses can reduce eye strain so you can enjoy reading in comfort. Dr. Byrd brings over 20 years of professional experience in protecting and restoring his patients’ vision. To schedule your next visit, please contact our office online or call (313) 383-1300.

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