What Strength Reading Glasses Do I Need?

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It happens to everyone — fine text becomes blurry and you find yourself holding menus farther and farther away to be able to see. You, like millions of others, need reading glasses. If you’re hesitant about whether or not you should start wearing readers, here are a few other indicators that might convince you.

Step 1: Use a Reading Test Card

Diopter test charts have rows of words ranging in text size that correspond to reading glasses strengths. If you’re purchasing reading glasses online, you can use our printable diopter chart below. Start by attempting to read the top line. The first line you can read clearly without your glasses on is the diopter you need.

Tip: Make sure to remove your glasses when you use the diopter test. If you have different vision needs in your right and left eye, simply cover up one eye at a time to test your eyes individually. 

Printable Diopter Chart for Reading Glasses

If you think you need higher than +3.25-powered readers, you’re best bet is to visit your eye doctor for your reading glasses prescription.

Step 2: Test Various Reading Strengths

Prescriptions for reading glasses increase by 0.25 diopters, such as +1.00, +1.25, +1.50, and so on. However, for simplicity, some diopter charts may increase by 0.50 or by the whole number. Start by trying on reading glasses in the power that your test results yielded. If you’re trying on glasses at a retailer, you’ll want to test out several pairs that are both weaker and stronger than your test results. Narrow it down to two prescriptions — both of which you see well with — and always choose the lower of the two powers.

Step 3: Purchase!

At most stores, you’ll find readers in the following whole number prescriptions (and everything in between):

Reading glasses +1.00
Reading glasses +2.00
Reading glasses +3.00
Reading glasses +4.00
Reading glasses +5.00
Reading glasses +6.00

If you’re looking for something special, like computer readers, folding pairs, or high powers, you may need to shop online. Another benefit of heading online is your ability to customize select reading glasses to accommodate different vision needs in your right and left eye.

  • J.W. Bowers Jr.

    What if I can’t read any of them, without my glasses on?

  • Readers.com

    Hi, J.W. If you’re having trouble reading the entire chart, we recommend visiting an eye doctor for additional help determining your power.

  • Jerry

    What if I can read the lines but I get headaches after playing board games or scanning articles online via computer?

  • VintageClass11

    You are supposed to have readers ON when looking at the chart .

  • Orangecoke

    That’s not what the article says ?

  • Sayit Strait

    Chart doesn’t work. All are blurry to me and then perfect with 2.5 glasses on.

  • Amanda

    U did it right, without the glasses. U need to go see the eye doctor!!

  • Sandra

    Which is stronger 2.00 or 1.00? This is the over the counter glasses?

  • http://twitter.com/joncorwin Jon Corwin

    Hi Sandra, +2.00 is stronger than +1.00. The higher the number the stronger the power. Yes, these are for over-to-counter reading glasses. Thanks for your question!

  • Kawaii Kitsune

    Then get computer glasses, Anti-strain glasses/UV.

  • Melissa Geittmann

    If you wear regular glasses or contacts for distance, you should have those on. You should NOT have your readers on!

  • Thao Nguyen

    My RX : Sphere: OD -0.50 Cylinder: -1.25 Axis 093 Add +2.25
    OS-0.25 – 1.50 093 +2.25

    I wonder would you please tell me what the power glasses I may get?

  • corey

    Thao :
    Check again with your doctor. You have a prescription which may correct for other eye issues, for example; one eye requires a different lens, an astigmatism, or presbyopia. Readers may not be appropriate for you as they simply magnify. Check with your doctor. It looks like you need prescription glasses, which are very different and serve a different purpose. If your doc tells you you must have prescription glasses. Ask him or her to explain why, especially if they want to sell you glasses.

  • corey

    Get your eyes checked to learn if you are near sighted, far sighted, or both. You might need two different strengths. That is, readers for computers, which you look at from a further distance than where you hold a book to read. You’d need a different lens for reading books perhaps, if your farsighted. Don’t mess with your eyes. Go get them checked.

  • Brian Brochet

    Hi, I have a prescription that says sphere right -075, cylinder 0, axe 0 and add 1.72//// and sphere left +050. cylinder -050, axe 42, and add 1.72. Does this mean I nead 1.75 readers?

  • pianist702

    I don’t have a problem with “reading.” I want magnifying glasses to double the size of my music when playing piano and to use when doing counted cross stitch. What strength would you suggest for me? Thank you