Creating cheap reading glasses: why not?

CassandraJanuary 18, 2007

So here's my thought for cheap OTC reading glasses. One of my eyes needs +1.25, and the other +2.25. I hate to go the prescription route due to expense. Why not buy two pair of the same cheap reading glasses, one +1.25 and the other +2.25 and switch lenses? Has anyone done this successfully?

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Never posted here, but had to bring myself to reply to your posting.
Excellent idea, it can be done, just make sure you get the metal frames as some of the plastic lens will not come out.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 5:38PM
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When you get prescription glasses, they're measured so that the lenses are cut and installed to line up properly with your eyes. It's very hit or miss if you're buying over the counter--everyone's eyes are a little different.

If the expense is a problem, have you looked into ordering your glasses from the dispensary at the school in your area that trains opticians? I wear a very expensive (not reading glasses, understand) prescription. My DD is an optician in a regular store. If I ordered my glasses from her, even with the family discount, the last pair I bought would have cost me between $800 and $1000. I went to the county college dispensary, where they sell glasses at cost, just so the students have practice dispensing (the actual glasses are put together by the professors, the students just make the sale and measure--with all of that being checked by the supervising professor). I got designer frames with magnetic sunglasses, the top brand of progressive lenses, and the most expensive glare coating out there--and my glasses cost me only $213 for all of it. That's about 1/4 of what I'd have paid, and even less what a regular customer would have paid.

It really is worth having your glasses properly made and measured. And you do get much higher quality frames (than when you buy the drug store glasses) that way--so they hold up much longer. If you have access to an opticianry school you should be able to save quite a bit. Really good secret to know. And the school I go to has the latest equipment--most optical shops/labs don't have it because it's so expensive, but the manufacturer's donate the equipment to schools in hope of encouraging the students to want to use it when they get out in the field.

Just a thought.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 10:45AM
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Carol Wright right now has three pair of reading glasses for $4.99 US money plus shipping. I usually buy 4 packs of 3 at a time since I sit on them or lose them etc. the lens' pop out so it would be easy to mix. these run from 2.5X,3X, 3.5X, or 4X..You can get 1.0 and 1/.5 in the dollar stores. I get te 4.0's I have prec for real reading. These I use for driving and walking around.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 10:58PM
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BTW Do a Google on $29 glasses. I've ordered Presc from them and they work out ok too

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 11:01PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I did a search on over the counter reading glasses.

Several articles stated that using them will in no way harm your eyes. I particularly like the otc reading glasses for computer use. When I use my bifocals, I have to tilt my head way back in order to see out of the lower portion, which results in an almost immediate headache. Additionally, I like to keep the $1 ones handy favorite chair, by the phone, beside the bed, a pair in each vehicle. They are frequently lost or broken. They can be often be found at Dollar Stores where 'everything' is just a dollar.

I find they are just as comfortable as my expensive no line bifocals, which I usually try to carry or where I'm away from home.

I think that switching the lenses is a wonderful way to save a bunch of money.


Here is a link that might be useful: Over the counter reading glasses

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 8:04PM
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Chemocurl--You're right about using bifocals for the computer--NEVER DO IT. It's been shown that using progressives or bifocals at the computer causes permanent neck, spine injury eventually. DD (the optician) made me a pair of Compuvue computer glasses for that reason. I highly recommend them. They're wonderful for using the computer, becasue the top of the lense is formulated for your computer distance (medium), while the bottom is the right distance for paperwork (close/reading). It's a progressive lense, so there's no line. And the compuvues are radically new--they have virtually no side distortion, like you get with most progressives. In this case, having the right glasses not only helps you see better, but in the long run, it's going to help avoid a perment injury to one's spine. It's amazing how many people aren't aware that they shouldn't be wearing their regular progressives or bifocals at the computer--but it's a longterm 'no-no'.

The above poster is right that using the OTC glasses won't hurt one's eyes, but neither will they be as comfortable or effective as one's made specifically to your measurments. Oh, and DD says you can't get the lenses out of those otc glasses--they can't even do it--they're just not made for that to happen. And they may be 'glued' in with a filler material--that's a common practice if the lenses aren't exactly accurately cut to fit (even licensed opticians do that).

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 10:41AM
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I'm a certified optician. Over the counter readers often work very well, though they aren't for everyone. They aren't a replacement for an eye exam. In your case the idea of switching the lenses is a decent one. Just make sure the frame has screws and is the exact same frame and size. The pupil distance might not be perfect but lots of people do fine with them. Of course, if they bother your eyes or give you a headache don't use them.

The idea that progressives at the computer cause permanent neck and spine injury is one I have never heard. This is too absolute a statement in my opinion. Sure, it is possible but not definite.

The problem with progressives/bifocals at the computer is that most computer screens are too high and the person needs to raise his/her neck to see through the proper place in the lens. Also the intermediate area on progressives are fairly small. This can be uncomfortable but doesn't mean permanent damage.

If the computer screen is set correctly then the head doesn't need to be raised. My computer screen is lower then my eyes so I look down at it. Computer glasses are wonderful and I agree most people would benefit, however not having them doesn't doom you. :)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 6:34PM
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I've thought of this, also. I had my first "old person" eye exam and after everything was over it cost $500 for the exam and glasses. What a shock! Well, I only use the glasses for driving long distances, so, not very often at all. The bifocals for reading are useless, so I buy the $9.99 glasses at the drug store for reading. And lastly, there's no way I can read the computer with those glasses. What's that about? I keep saying I'm going to ask for my prescription, but I never get around to it.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 4:07PM
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That's a good idea! If it's only for occasional use, OTC can be just fine and you've found an original solution.
Maybe have you eyes tested for astigmatism or other problems first, just to check if prescriptions glasses wouldn't be better after all.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 7:21AM
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I used to work for an ophthalmologist and he always recommended a set of "computer glasses" that has the top part for computer viewing and the bottom part for reading printed material. The only problem with this was that at work, I was constantly having to get up and do something which required that I take my glasses off. Since I didn't really need glasses for distance then, it wasn't too bad, but I had to carry my glasses around in case someone asked me to read something while I was away from my desk.

Later on, I got no-line tri-focals. I find that roughly one third of the lenses are useless because it's one part of the lens fading into another. I catch myself leaning my head back, looking out of the bottoms at my computer and this is not good.

So I bought a bunch of cheap reading glasses and they work just as well. Plus I can have them scattered throughout the house so I can always find a pair easily. And if I lose a pair it's no big deal.

It is obscene that prescription glasses should cost so much. Especially as you get older and your vision changes. But even when you're younger, there are things that happen to your glasses -- you lose them, they get sat on, etc., etc. I try to pick a frame that I can live with for awhile, and when I get a new prescription I ask them to put the new lenses in the old frame. They don't always like to do it, but they will, especially if you are returning to the place where you got them before. It saves a little.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 9:03AM
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The title of your post made me wonder how you were making your own reading glasses. I had a vision of someone with 2 magnifying glasses taped together and strapped around their head with elastic!

I'm nearsighted and people think it's so funny when I have to say, "Give me a second, I can't read with my glasses." I use to laugh at the old guys who wear their glasses pushed up on their foreheads, but I've turned into one of them- only as a middle aged woman.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 5:16PM
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An earlier discussion here @KT or on another forum mentioned ordering $8.00 Rx glasses...a friend says she ordered her's there after getting exam & copy of her prescription from her local optician.) (Nope, don't work for or have any affiliattion with them in any way.)


    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:12AM
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"One of my eyes needs +1.25, and the other +2.25."

You guys must not watch Lost- everybody knows you get two pair, cut them in half, and cobble together your custom set!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 6:13PM
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after my eye surgery my doctor told me to get $1.00 store glasses.I went one better I got me some foster grants and they work just fine.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 3:45PM
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I have computer glasses made for me. The top is the center of trifocals and reads the distance from your eyes to the monitor, the bottom is for reading, no distance vision at all. I love them and I don't have to tilt my head at all. When I was younger I did not have to change them every time I did my regular glasses but now I do.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 6:10PM
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i would never use reading glasses. i would prefer prescription. seems like you would mess your eyes up more doing so....who knows

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 10:20PM
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Stonehard, there's nothing wrong with over the counter reading glasses, and no, use of them won't "mess your eyes up". Even MDs recommend them for patients who only need reading glasses.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 5:41PM
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clg7067, I had exactly the same experience. I spent over $500 for Rx glasses, no-line progressives. I can't wear them at all. They make me motion sick. I have extreme motion sickness, get sick in the car, plane, boat, etc very easily. The no-lines trick my brain into thinking I'm moving while sitting still. The result is extreme nausea. I can't wear them for even 5 minutes. I'm back to wearing my $15 reading glasses!

And of course, Dr. won't refund my $$. He didn't mention that up front - no $$ back if you're not satisfied. It makes me sick that at my age, I'm still learning such expensive lessons! If I'd gone to Sears or Wallmart, glasses would have cost less and had money back guarantee.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 4:25AM
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Reading glasses at the Dollar store for this 80-year+ character ...

... cost $1.00 (plus tax) ...

... and quite likely involved some slave labour, some place (which does trouble me some: the labour, not the glasses).

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 3:38PM
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Don't bother with computer glasses, enlarge the FONT size on the computer.

I can do that on my computer by holding down the "CTRL" key and rolling the "wheel" of the mouse to size font I need. It has been holding regardless of which site I go to or use Word. Your computer may have another way to enlarge the font. If all else fails, go to "HELP" on your computer instead of going to a computer site for instructions. The sites did not work for me, the HELP did.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 6:41PM
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I am able to buy cheap reading glasses at our local 99 Cent Store.
The ophthalmologist said he didn't have any problem with DH and I doing so.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 10:32PM
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When I get a new prescription, I get just the basics, so they are not nearly as expensive as most. I also keep my frames for years.

I can't wear over the counter glasses. My eyes do not work as a team.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 10:21PM
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Those of you who are against the $1 glasses have never been prescribed bifocals.

When you get bifocals, the upper portion -- your distance prescription -- is custom done for you and requires professional fitting. However, the lower portion, the reading glasses portion, is simply a magnifying lens. Your lower portion is just +1 or +2.5 or whatever. This means it's magnified once or 2.5 times or whatever. If you get drug store readers, you're getting JUST the lower portion (the +1 or + 2.5 or whatever) in the whole thing. They're even labeled +1 or +2.5 or whatever. You can't wear them around the house because you have no distance vision, bit for reading or close-up crafts, they're perfect. In fact, the readers are identical to the tiny sliver of reader glass at the bottom of bifocals . . . You're just getting a bigger piece of it.

If you personally don't need bifocals yet, this isn't easy to understand.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:05PM
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:::shaking head:::

So much misinformation there.....

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:32AM
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I don't know, Luann...Mrs. Pete's explanation was exactly how my optician explained it to me just today...

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:30PM
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You were told the - paraphrasing from above - the lower portion is "just a magnifying glass" and does not need to be custom done/professionally fitted?
You were told "This means it's magnified once or 2.5 times or whatever"? Magnified 2.5 times of what exactly??... and I love the 'whatever'!

So I won't even get into diopters, or focal lengths, or near PD, or the fact that the add takes the distance Rx into account...

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 8:21AM
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If you need glasses to see the computer screen, just hold down the "Ctrl" and roll wheel on mouse to enlarge or reduce size of letters.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 8:59PM
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Not for anything, (and this may be out of left field), but since this is a "garden" related forum, I thought I might just mention that people have actually "reversed" their vision deterioration via diet. George Malkmus (who's name you can search for on the web), went from strong prescription glasses in his early 40's to NO GLASSES (even for fine print) in his mid 70's.

Sure, the dieting approach may involve a bit more commitment, but it comes with its perks also, like "never having to wonder where you put your glasses" :Be blessed!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 5:57PM
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Waait a minute, Marita 40,

You're going to need the 1.25 on the same eye in each case, right? And the 2.25 in the same place in each pair, as well.

Better make sure that the shape of the frame and the lens that it carries is identical ... as my $1.00 glasses at the dollar store aren't.

'Cause the one that was correctly located in the 2.25 pair will be O.K for that one, say on the right side ...

... but when you remove the 2.25 one in the left side of that pair ... it's going to have to go into the right side of the other frame, isn't it?

If the shape of the frame and the lens isn't identical on both right and left sides ...

... are you handy with a glue gun, or a caulking tool? Trust me: don't even try sticky tape!

And will you get each lens accurately positioned?

I think that you may have bit off a bit more than you can chew.

ole joyfuelled

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 7:40PM
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