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How they help with up-close vision
What are reading glasses?
Reading glasses, available in over-the-counter or prescription versions, improve the ability to read something up close, such as a book or a computer screen.

Alabama optometrist Dr. Samuel Pierce, past president of the American Optometric Association, says over-the-counter reading glasses — which can be purchased at drugstores, department stores and other general retailers without a prescription — are designed for short-term wear, and are best suited for people who have the same lens power, or strength, in each eye and don’t have astigmatism, a common condition that causes blurred vision.

The Vision Council, a trade group, says the lens power of over-the-counter reading glasses typically ranges from +1 to +4.

Over-the-counter reading glasses are an acceptable option for people who have good distance vision (farsightedness), says Dr. Ming Wang of Wang Vision 3D Cataract & LASIK Center in Nashville.

However, if you suffer from computer eyestrain or double vision, then it’s wise to explore prescription reading glasses, Wang says.

Prescription reading glasses are meant to be worn for extended periods, Pierce says, and are ideal for people with astigmatism, myopia, serious eye disorders or unequal prescription strength in each eye.

When do you need reading glasses?
Just about anyone in their 40s and beyond will, at some point, need reading glasses (or another type of near-vision correction), Wang says.

Reading glasses help compensate for diminished vision related to presbyopia, the normal age-related loss of the ability to focus on up-close objects, such as words in a book or a text message on a smartphone.

Dr. Michelle Andreoli, an Illinois ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, says you typically realize the need for reading glasses if you encounter trouble reading small print when you’re tired and when lighting in the room is dim, or if you find that it’s easier to read something when you pull it a little farther away from your face.

How do I pick the right reading glasses for me?
Before selecting your reading glasses — even the over-the-counter kind — visit with your eye care professional. Experts recommend a yearly eye exam to check for problems like glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, even after you’ve gotten reading glasses.

For computer work, most people can get by with low-power reading glasses (+1.25 to +1.5), Wang says. For reading things that are closer, stronger glasses might be in order (+2.0 to +2.5). As you age, the power you need likely will increase.

Wang notes that some people require one lens power for general up-close reading and another power for extended reading like computer use — meaning that just one pair of reading glasses might not do the trick.

Pierce warns that headaches, eyestrain and even nausea can result from putting on reading glasses that don’t have the proper lens power.

Once you’ve determined the right power, then focus on glasses with high-quality lenses and sturdy frames, Wang recommends.

Depending on the quality, a pair of over-the-counter nonprescription reading glasses can cost anywhere from $1 to $50 or more; a pair of prescription eyeglasses easily can cost $200 and up.

“Lower-quality, less expensive reading glasses may be made with low-quality lens materials, which can cause vision distortion, color distortion or glare. This can contribute to difficulty focusing when reading. It is worth spending a little extra to get better visual quality,” Wang says.

When shopping for over-the-counter reading glasses at a store, Andreoli recommends:

Grabbing a greeting card from the greeting card aisle.

Heading to the rack where reading glasses are sold.

Trying on glasses as you’re holding the greeting card at a comfortable distance.

Selecting the glasses that let you clearly and easily see the greeting card.

Making an appointment with your eyecare professional if you’re unable to decide on a pair of glasses.

From a style perspective, Steigerwald, the eyeglass sales manager, suggests choosing glasses that best fit your face shape and your fashion sense.

You might prefer smaller, more traditional woman's reading glasses, she says, while someone else might opt for larger, chunky, outside-the-box frames.

You might even maintain a collection of glasses, as Steigerwald does, so you can switch your look whenever the mood strikes you.

If you’re torn about which glasses to buy, solicit an honest assessment — in person or via texted selfies — from a friend or loved one about whether the pairs you’re considering are flattering.

“You just have to find the perfect pair for your face,” Andreoli says. “And I think that with the perfect pair on, most faces look better in glasses than not in glasses.”

What Your Sunglasses Say About You
Sunglasses are a real character builder. Or at least they play a large roll in the character that you play to others. They’re front and center and they can literally change the shape of your face. So before you buy your next pair of shades, think about what you might be saying to the world.

With that said, here are some popular sunglass shapes along with what what they might be saying about your style.

Wrap-around sunglasses are great for hiking, outdoor sports, and playing golf. They can also double as safety goggles. Think of them as equipment. Probably not ideal for a suit and tie or a date in the park.

Browline glasses are old school. Retro. They were the gold standard for style in the 1950s and 1960s. Think Don Draper. The style’s popularity rose to the point that browline glasses (and sunglasses) accounted for half of all eyewear sales in America in the 1950s. As a result, many famous figures wore browlines, including activist Malcolm X and movie star James Dean. It’s a smart, slightly serious style that has a timeless appeal. If your frames are round and not metal, black or dark brown, then chances are you have a hippy side. An expressive side. A creative side. A free-thinking side, perhaps. If they also have light colored lenses, then you probably do some experimental drugs from time to time as well. I’m just kidding, of course…but all good jokes have truth in them.

Safety and Sports Glasses
Nowadays, sports eyewear tells the world that you are a serious player. It doesn’t matter whether you bat in Little League or skate with the pros, eye gear for sports offers a long list of benefits.

Protective eyewear, such as specialized goggles and wraparound frames with polycarbonate lenses, helps to reduce or eliminate your risk of eye damage. An added bonus is that performance is often enhanced, due to the high quality vision provided from eyewear made for wearing on the playing field.

Eye gear for sports is not merely recommended, but now mandated by many clubs. Members are required to wear proper protective eyewear in order to participate in activities. Once upon a time, kids used to cringe at the concept of wearing goggles, but just like bike helmets have become the norm – sports goggles are now accepted as part of the uniform and regarded as ultra-cool.

Protect Your Eyes from Fast and Furious Sports Action

If you’re still unconvinced about your need to wear protective eyewear for sports, take a look at these scary statistics:

Hospital emergency rooms treat 40,000 eye injuries annually, which are sports-related

Tennis and badminton are played with objects that zoom at 60 mile per hour or faster. With racquetball, the ball can whizz by at 60 to 200 miles per hours.

Activities such as racquetball involve racquets that swing at lightning speed in a confined space where crashes are inevitable.

Many sports are filled with pokes and jabs from elbows or fingers. Even basketball is associated with a high incidence of injuries to the eye.

Up Your Performance with Sports Eyewear

Until recently, people with mild to moderate vision correction used to play their games without wearing eyeglasses or contacts. Yet top performance in any sport is dependent upon sharp vision. Eye gear and goggles for sports allow you to compete at your best, with 20/20 eyesight.

Key Features of Sports Glasses

Sports glasses do not share the same characteristics as regular eyeglasses, sunglasses or industrial safety glasses. Crafted in a variety of shapes, sports eye gear is specialized to suit the specific needs of each respective sport. Many types of eyewear are even designed to fit into helmets worn when playing football, baseball or hockey.

Protective lenses are generally made from polycarbonate, a durable and impact-resistant material that boasts full UV protection for outdoor action. Polycarbonate lenses are also scratch-resistant, which is a valuable feature for many rough sports.

The frames are typically designed from highly-impact resistant plastic or polycarbonate, and they are coated with rubber padding at every point that connects with your face. Some frame styles are contoured to wrap around your face, which provides secure coverage for activities such as hang-gliding, sailing and biking. Non-prescription wraparound shapes are useful for contact lens wearers, as they block your eyes from dust or wind.

Classic handball goggles used to be fashioned as plain goggles with small openings instead of lenses. That style was abandoned once it was realized that the high speed of handballs actually compressed the balls enough to penetrate through the goggle opening and seriously damage the orbital bones around your eye. Modern and effective goggles for handball and racquetball include polycarbonate lenses that protect your eyes.

Importance of a Good Fit

There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to sports goggles. Proper sizing is critical for top-notch function. For kids, many parents may be tempted to purchase larger goggles so that they’ll be long-lasting with room to grow. Yet if the frames are truly oversized, they won’t protect the child’s eyes adequately. Impact or blows to the face or head won’t be cushioned properly.

On the flipside, wearing sports goggles that are too small is just as hazardous. Not only will the child be constantly tempted to take them off due to discomfort, but the eyewear will also disturb peripheral vision. Without a good view of all that’s happening around your child, sports performance will be compromised. Hits from unseen sources on the sidelines are another risk factor.

The fit of sports goggles should be reassessed each year. The eyewear should still feel comfortable and provide proper eye protection. The padding on the interior of the goggles must rest flush with your or your child’s face, and eyes should be centered in the lens zone.

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