How to buy your first reading glasses online?

how to buy reading glasses online

This post is also available in: Français (French)

If you’re looking for a variety of stylish reading glasses (a.k.a. readers), your options are a lot better when you shop online than when you shop over the counter (as in ready-made readers that are on the shelves in pharmacies, supermarkets, or dollar stores). 

The best way to buy your first reading glasses online is to make sure you have your most recent glasses prescription handy. It’s the key to finding reading lenses that your eyes need to see near objects clearly and comfortably. 

Check out how to buy reading glasses online with top tips from Clearly opticians and get ready for your new pair of stylish glasses frames and prescription lenses starting at $9. 

How to buy reading glasses online at Clearly

how to buy reading glasses online at Clearly

At Clearly, you can add reading lenses to pretty much any frames on our website or in store.  

Check out these five easy steps to shop for reading glasses at Clearly:  

1. Choose your favourite frame  

Browse from thousands of reading glasses styles and try before you buy with our Virtual Try On tool. Use MyFit to see a curated selection in your size. 

Can’t decide whether you should pick a rectangle or cat-eye frame? Check out our guide to finding the perfect glasses frame style that looks best for your face shape

2. Enter your prescription 

Enter your glasses prescription

When you order your new pair of reading glasses online, enter all the details from your most recent multifocal prescription on our site: SPH, CYL, Axis, ADD and PD (pupillary distance). 

If you have two PD measurements (a distance PD and a reading PD), enter your distance PD.  

Learn how to read your glasses prescription

3. Select your lens type 

Select your lens type for reading prescription

There are a few different options for choosing lenses that are suitable for reading, so consider your vision, lifestyle (hobbies and occupation), and habits that best describe how you want to use your glasses:  

  • Reading (single vision lenses) only offers near vision correction. Best for long hours of reading, sewing, drawing, or performing other activities that mostly use near vision, and those who like to read while laying down. 
reading glasses lenses
  • Progressives offer vision correction at all distances (near, intermediate, and far) within one lens, so you don’t need to switch between pairs of glasses. Best for reading while multi-tasking, such as when doing errands, driving, or walking. 
premium progressive lenses
  • Distance (single vision lenses) only offers distance vision correction. They aren’t suitable as dedicated reading glasses, but they’re a great option to complement for other activities. Best for those who need a separate pair for certain activities that require vertical eye movement (such as tennis, golf, and skiing). 
distance glasses lenses
  • Computer lenses offer intermediate and near vision correction without the need to switch between pairs, with built-in BlueReflect™ blue light filtering lenses. Best for dedicated periods of work or relaxing at a computer and reading, as they don’t offer far distance correction.  
computer progressive glasses
  • Bifocals offer near and far distance correction (without the intermediate vision). Best for regular bifocal wearers or anyone who has mobility issues that make it hard to tilt your head up and down. 

No matter what you choose, our system will automatically calculate the prescription details that you’ve entered and ensure you get the correct power for the lens type that you’ve selected. 

If you’re unsure what to enter when ordering your glasses, contact us at 1-866-414-2326. 

4. Choose your light filter 

Once you’ve picked your lens type, you can customize your frames into prescription reading glasses or sunglasses: 

5. Enter your coupon code at the checkout    

Use the latest coupon codes to save on your new pair of glasses and voilà! 

You can expect affordable, high-quality eyewear with free shipping on orders $80+. Plus, returns are free within 30 days of purchase, so if you’re at all unsure, we got you. 

Understanding magnification

understanding magnification in readers


If you’ve always been able to see things up close but you start noticing that it’s become difficult (and you’re over the age of 40), it’s likely presbyopia. This is a natural phase that happens to our near vision while we age. 

Reading glasses or glasses with near vision correction help bring near distance objects into focus. This means you can maintain your natural posture to see clearly within an elbow length (about 45 to 55cm). That’s why reading glasses are great for activities like reading a book (obviously!), as well as close work like drawing or sewing. 

“It sort of works like a magnifying glass,” Clearly optician Karl Chua says, “but only prescription readers (or glasses with near vision correction) can have a customized prescription specific for your vision needs.”  

The best way to determine what strength you need is with an annual eye exam. Did you know that you can claim your vision insurance on eye exams? Learn how to claim your vision benefits

How do I know if I need reading glasses?

ow do I know if I need reading glasses

There are a few signs and symptoms that indicate it’s time to wear reading glasses (but to be sure, visit your local eye doctor for an eye exam): 

  • You squint while trying to read 
  • You find yourself holding your book or cellphone further away so you can see the letters clearly 
  • You have trouble reading in dim light 
  • You’re around age 40 and you experience headaches or eyestrain after reading or doing activities that require extended near vision focus 
  • Your distant vision is still the same, but your near vision is getting blurry 

Clearly optician Megan Walsh says: “If you notice your vision gets blurry when you focus on near objects and you can’t see the small print clearly without squinting or enlarging the text, you may need reading glasses.” 

As we mentioned earlier, this is very common for those around 40, when you may develop presbyopia. You can easily improve your vision with a pair of reading glasses that look stylish and allow you to indulge in your favourite activities with clear, comfortable vision. 

“If you extend your arms when holding a book or other reading materials, and you need more light to see the text, you may also benefit from reading glasses,” Walsh adds. 

Generally, you need more light to see as you grow older. For instance, when you’re in your 60s, you may need three times as much light to do the same tasks as you would when you were in your 20s.  

While having brighter lights in the room or next to your chair may help relieve your eyes, it may be time to get a pair of readers if your eyes continue to feel strained.

What you should know about readers: FAQs

What you should know about readers

1. What’s the difference between buying over-the-counter (OTC) vs prescription readers? 

  • Over-the-counter reading glasses have the same power in each lens and can cause eyestrain if you need different powers in each eye. Wearing custom-made prescription readers ensures you’ll get the exact correction that your eyes need. 
  • OTC readers lack astigmatism correction and can cause your eye muscles to work unnecessarily harder if you have astigmatism (which is in your cylinder (CYL) and axis values). A custom-made pair is best to correct blurry vision caused by astigmatism.  
  • OTC readers are one-size-fits-all and are assumed to fit everyone. With a custom-made pair, your prescription and frames can be adjusted to suit your face and help you achieve perfect vision. 
  • OTC readers only offer a limited range of prescriptions up to +3.25 or +3.75. If your normal distance correction is high (+3.00 or higher, or -3.00 or higher), a custom-made pair would be a better fit to get the reading power that you need. 
  • OTC readers may not include lens coatings that help protect your eyes. With a custom-made pair, you can add scratch-resistant, blue light filtering, and anti-reflective lens coatings

2. How do I know what strength reading glasses I need? 

Your reading power determines what you need to see clearly within near distance. To calculate it, add your magnification power (ADD) to your distance power (SPH, CYL and axis). 

Still not sure? Don’t worry – our system will help you calculate your reading power when you enter your multifocal prescription on our site.   

3. Can you wear reading glasses for the computer?   

Can you wear reading glasses for the computer

It’s important to know that your “reading” power is different than what you require to see your computer monitor clearly. The power of the glasses depends on the focal length.   

For instance, the power that your eyes need to view your computer screen (which is usually an arm’s length, within 65cm to 75cm) is different than to read a book or your phone (which is usually an elbow’s length, within 45cm to 55cm). You may need another pair with slightly less power to see clearly and comfortably at the computer.  

You can customize your prescription to order a pair of single vision computer glasses on our site if your prescription contains an “intermediate add”. Enter your distance correction in the SPH, CYL, and AXIS spaces and your intermediate add in the ADD space. Choose “reading” when you’re asked how you’d like to use the glasses — only in this case, “reading” is actually arm’s length. 

If you require both reading and computer prescription without switching your glasses, check out our computer progressives: DualView BlueReflect™ office progressives

4. When is the best time to wear reading glasses and can you wear them all day? 

“It’s best to wear them only when you need them for on-hand tasks,” Chua says. “If your prescription is low and it doesn’t hinder any day-to-day activities, you could wear them throughout the day. However, if your prescription is high, it may affect your vision greatly and we don’t recommend wearing them all day. 

“If you want to wear your glasses all the time without having to take them on and off, try progressive glasses.” 

5. Is there an adjustment period? 

“Yes, all glasses have an average adjustment period between two to three days except progressive glasses may take up to two weeks,” Chua says. “When used correctly, most people adjust to reading glasses within two to three days.” 

Shop reading glasses online starting at $9

shop reading glasses online starting at $9


Choose reading glasses that make you feel comfortable and confident! Take advantage of our wide range of glasses frames that are fashionable, stylish, and designed for your lifestyle. Easily transform them into a pair of readers customized to the power that your eyes need at a closer range.  

For the best vision and ease of use, don’t forget to include an anti-reflective coating or upgrade to our C Shield coating. If you spend lots of time working or relaxing, consider BlueReflect™ lenses for your readers. 

Read more: 

See you on social!

Be first to comment