Do I need eye glasses?

Having trouble seeing things clearly? Wondering if it’s time to get your eyes checked for glasses? Many people start to experience vision changes as they get older, but how do you know if you need glasses? Here are some quick answers to common questions about eye glasses:

What are the signs I may need glasses?

Some common signs that indicate you may need glasses include:

  • Blurry vision, especially when looking at things up close
  • Headaches or eye strain when reading or using screens
  • Squinting or having to lean in to see clearly
  • Difficulty seeing at night or in low light
  • Words on a page appear to jump around or move

If you are experiencing any of these vision issues on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to schedule an eye exam to determine if you need glasses or a new eyeglass prescription.

At what age do people typically need reading glasses?

Most people begin to experience presbyopia, or difficulty focusing on near objects, in their early to mid 40s. This natural loss of elasticity in the eye’s lens makes it harder to see things up close. As a result, many people will need reading glasses by the time they reach their 40s or 50s.

However, the age when someone needs reading glasses can vary quite a bit. Some people may start having trouble focusing on close objects as early as their late 30s, while others may not need reading glasses until their 50s or even 60s. Genetics, eye health, and visual demands (like extensive computer use) can all impact when presbyopia sets in.

Do I need an eye exam first before getting glasses?

Yes, it’s very important to get a comprehensive eye exam before getting glasses or contacts for the first time. An eye doctor will check for any vision problems, eye diseases, or abnormalities during the exam. They can then determine if you need corrective lenses and write you an eyeglass or contact lens prescription.

Even if you plan on buying glasses over-the-counter, an updated eye exam ensures the glasses match your current vision needs and visual health. It’s recommended to get an eye exam every 1-2 years to monitor your vision and eye health.

What happens during an eye exam?

A comprehensive eye exam typically involves the following steps:

  • Checking your visual acuity (ability to see details at various distances)
  • Testing your peripheral vision, eye alignment, and depth perception
  • Examining the inside and outside of your eyes with specialized instruments
  • Evaluating your eye’s focusing ability and prescription needs
  • Measuring the pressure inside your eyes (important for glaucoma detection)
  • Dilating your pupils to closely inspect the retina and other interior eye structures

The eye doctor will discuss their findings with you and determine if you need corrective lenses or treatment for any eye health issues discovered during the exam.

What is the cost of eyeglasses?

Eyeglass costs can range widely depending on the frame and lens options you choose. Here is an overview of the typical costs for prescription eyeglasses:

Component Average Cost Range
Eye exam $50 – $100
Frames $50 – $200+
Single vision lenses $60 – $120
Bifocal lenses $80 – $150
Progressive lenses $150 – $400
Anti-reflective coating $40 – $100
UV protection coating $15 – $30
Total cost for single vision glasses $200 – $400
Total cost for bifocal or progressive glasses $350 – $700+

There are options to purchase discount or budget eyeglasses for under $100 if you shop at online retailers or big box stores. However, glasses purchased at these locations often don’t include services like adjustments and repairs that come standard when you buy from an optometrist. Advanced lens materials and coatings will also increase the price of your glasses.

Should I choose plastic or glass lenses?

Most people today choose plastic lenses over glass. Here’s a quick comparison of the pros and cons:

Plastic Lenses

  • Pros: Lightweight, impact resistant, good scratch resistance with coatings
  • Cons: Less scratch resistant than glass without coatings, can warp in high heat

Glass Lenses

  • Pros: Very clear optics, durable, scratch resistant
  • Cons: Heavier, more prone to shattering

While glass was once the standard, plastics like polycarbonate, Trivex, and high-index have surpassed glass in clarity and durability. Plastic lenses also come in a wide range of styles and can be made thinner for a lighter feel.

Do I need additional lens treatments or coatings?

Supplementary lens coatings and treatments can enhance the vision, comfort and performance of your new eyeglasses. Here are some popular options to consider:

  • Anti-reflective coating – Reduces distracting glare and reflections
  • UV protection – Filters out ultraviolet rays that can damage eyes
  • Scratch-resistant coating – Protects lenses from scratches and abrasions
  • Anti-fog coating – Prevents condensation buildup on lenses
  • Blue light filtering – Reduces exposure to harmful blue light from screens
  • Progressive lenses – Correct vision at all distances in one seamless lens

Discuss your visual demands and lifestyle with your eye doctor to determine which lens enhancements may benefit you most. These extras typically add $30 to $200+ to the total cost of glasses depending on the options selected.

Do I need glasses for computer use?

Staring at a computer screen for hours on end can definitely cause eye strain. Glasses made specifically for computer use can help optimize your vision for this visual task.

Computer glasses have precision-corrected lower portions of the lenses to allow your eyes to focus clearly on digital screens and text that is generally closer than a book or paper. The top of the lenses are made for seeing distance when looking up from the monitor.

An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer glasses to cut down on glare. A blue light filtering treatment will also help reduce eye fatigue from computer screens and other digital devices.

How often do eyeglass prescriptions need to be updated?

As a general rule, most eye doctors recommend getting your eyeglass prescription re-checked every 1-2 years. However, the following factors may require more frequent prescription updates:

  • Kids under 18 whose vision is still changing
  • People with certain eye conditions like keratoconus
  • Changes in vision not corrected with current glasses
  • Headaches, blurriness, or eyestrain with glasses

Make sure to share any vision problems you’re experiencing with your eye doctor so they can determine if you need to update your eyeglass prescription sooner.

Do I need to wear my glasses all the time?

Whether you need to wear your glasses full-time depends on your individual prescription and visual demands. In general:

  • Eyeglasses prescribed for nearsightedness only need to be worn for activities like reading, using screens, driving, etc.
  • Farsighted glasses are usually only needed for close-up tasks like reading.
  • Progressive or bifocal glasses are meant to be worn most of the time.
  • Glasses to correct astigmatism should be worn full-time for best vision.

Check with your optometrist to find out when you need to wear your new eyeglasses. Carrying them with you is always a good idea in case you need them to see clearly.

Do glasses weaken your eyes over time?

No, wearing properly prescribed glasses will not weaken your eyes or make vision worse. This misconception often stems from natural age-related vision changes.

As we grow older, conditions like presbyopia (loss of near focus) gradually occur. Most people will eventually need reading glasses due to the eyes’ reduced ability to accommodate or change focus. But this is simply an inevitable result of aging, not caused by wearing glasses earlier in life.

In fact, glasses actually aid your vision by correcting refractive errors and reducing eyestrain. They make seeing easier and more comfortable for those who need them.

Can I just buy cheap reading glasses at the drugstore?

It’s possible to purchase low-cost reading glasses off the shelf at drugstores and retail chains. However, these will not be tailored specifically to your eyes.

Without an eye exam, you may end up choosing a strength that’s too weak or too strong. The glasses also won’t compensate for astigmatism. This can lead to insufficient correction of vision problems and eyestrain.

It’s best to get an updated eye exam every 1-2 years. The eye doctor can then prescribe you custom glasses or reading lenses made exactly to your current vision needs.

Do I still need glasses after laser eye surgery?

After refractive procedures like LASIK or PRK, many people can see well enough to function without glasses or contacts. But glasses are often still needed in certain circumstances.

It’s common to use reading glasses after laser vision correction, as the surgery does not reverse natural presbyopia. Glasses may also be needed for night driving, detailed tasks, screens, and in cases where the vision is under or over-corrected.

Be sure to discuss the possibility of needing glasses post-surgery with your ophthalmologist prior to refractive surgery.

Can I wear contacts and glasses interchangeably?

Yes, you can alternate between wearing contact lenses and eyeglasses. Each offers its own advantages.

Benefits of eyeglasses:

  • Less maintenance than contacts
  • No risk of dry eyes or irritation
  • Can accommodate a wider range of prescriptions
  • Offer UV and blue light protection
  • Easier to alternate different prescriptions (like bifocals)

Benefits of contacts:

  • Provide a wider field of vision
  • No frames obstructing peripheral vision
  • Allow more freedom in sports and activities
  • Avoid fogging in wet conditions
  • May provide better night vision for some

Many people enjoy the convenience of contacts during the day and clear comfortable vision of glasses at night or for reading. Work with your eye doctor to pick the best vision correction options for your needs and lifestyle.


Blurry vision or age-related changes in your eyes can make everyday tasks more challenging. But getting the right pair of eyeglasses can bring the world back into focus and make seeing effortless again.

Be sure to schedule regular eye exams to stay updated on your vision health and prescription needs. And don’t hesitate to ask your optometrist questions to determine if glasses are right for you.

With all the lens options, frame styles and coatings available today, there are comfortable, convenient eyeglasses to suit every lifestyle. So if you’re squinting to see clearly, don’t put off getting your eyes checked – better vision could be just an eye exam away!

Leave a Comment