Stylish Reader Glasses: They Are A Thing

Reading glasses-or “cheaters” as they are often referred to-have come a long way from those dangling-from-a-chain-around-your-neck professor looking spectacles.

Once considered nerdy and geeky, readers now come in all sorts of hip styles and colors like high-end designer eye-wear and they’ve caught the eye-pun intended-of both young and young at heart.

According to a recent American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Bulletin article (March 2019), 53.6 million pairs of readers were sold in the United States last year, and more than 90 percent of them were sold to people over 45 years old.

Convenience and price are among the reasons for the growing popularity of reading glasses. Readers average around $17 and they are sold at supermarkets, pharmacies and groceries stores.

Then there’s the coolness factor.  And since 40 is now the new 30, many in this age group don’t want to look dorky in glasses so style and function are paramount.

But, fashion statement aside, if you’re having eye issues such as blurriness, tired eyes, trouble focusing on nearby objects-a condition known as presbyopia which comes with aging-or other conditions, the California Department of Consumer Affairs Board of Optometry recommends that before you buy over-the-counter readers, that you have your eyes examined by a licensed optometrist/ophthalmologist.

Generally, most reader glasses are one size fits all and the glass power is measured in units called diopters. The lowest strength is usually 1.00 diopters. The strongest is 4.00 diopters.  A licensed doctor can examine your eyes and tell if you simply need reader glasses or if there are other issues regarding your eyes that will require prescription lenses.

“Cheaters might reduce the blur, but what if there is an underlying health condition causing the blur? You might cheat yourself out of a real diagnosis and treatment,” said Shara Murphy, executive officer of the Board of Optometry.  “Don’t bypass the optometrist’s chair for a drug store kiosk. Cheaters are never a substitute for an exam by a medical professional.”

The California State Board of Optometry protects the health and safety of California consumers through licensing and regulation of the practices of Optometry and Opticianry. For more information log on to


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