If you’re reading this or trying to, chances are that you are experiencing some loss of nearsightedness. This is common as we age- even if you’ve had perfect vision all of your life. This shouldn’t be something to be embarrassed out. Embrace it- you now get to wear cool reading glasses that make you look smart and sophisticated!
Reading glasses are usually offered in strengths of +1 being the weakest through +4 as the strongest with 0.25 or 0.5 increments in between. It is best to start out with a +1 and work your way up until you find the perfect magnification. Remember not to go up to a number that is too strong before you need it as this can actually weaken your eyes and make them more reliant on reading glasses. While wearing the +1 reading glasses, grab a book or your phone screen and hold it at the normal distance that you would to read. How does this feel on your eyes? Are you able to see clearly or are you adjusting your arms’ length closer or further away? If you find yourself holding your book or phone further away, try going up an increment to see if that helps. If you are holding the book or phone closer, try on a pair with lesser strength.
For those of you who are at home trying to figure out strengths, there are many printable, free charts available online like this one.
These charts can be used directly on screen as long as you make sure that the 1” is actually 1” and that you can stand back 12-14” away from the screen. Once you have the chart size calibrated, take off any glasses or contacts you may already be wearing. From 12-14” away, the smallest, clearest line that you can read will be the strength best for you.
The boring part is over- let’s pick some fun reading glasses! We’ll start by determining your face shape and which frames will work best for you. Your face shape is determined by the widest points of your face- forehead, cheeks and jawline.
If you have an oval face shape, your forehead will be the widest point, tapering in at your chin and jawline. If you have an oval face- consider yourself lucky! People with oval shaped faces are able to wear most frame styles and shapes with their balanced features. A round face is defined by cheeks being the widest point, with the length and width of your face being equal with a more rounded jawline. Round faces do best with square or rectangular frames, but should avoid rounder styles. A good rule of thumb is to choose a frame shape that is the opposite of your face shape. If your jawline is more pointed than rounded, this means you have a heart-shaped face. Larger square or rectangular frames are recommended for heart-shaped faces to balance the pointed chin. A square shaped face is when all three of these points have an equal width and your face is short. For square-shaped faces, round, oval or even a cat-eye frame is suggested to soften a squared jawline.
Blue-based reds, blues, greens, pinks, purples, teals, magentas and silver will be best on someone with a cool undertone. For someone with warm undertones, warm reds, yellows, oranges, browns, yellow-greens, ivory, gold and brass are recommended.
“Cool Blondes” should avoid strong yellow or golds and stick with dark tortoises, deep blues, purples and grays, while a “Warm Blonde” should go with more amber tones like warm beige or a light tortoise.
“Cool Brunettes” can get away with a brighter selection of colors to add a nice pop. “Warm Brunettes” look best in lighter or more amber shaded tortoises, deep greens and reds, as do Redheads. People with Gray hair can pretty much wear any colors except for yellow or brown and look especially great with brighter or darker colors that add a nice contrast to their hair.
At the end of the day, picking out reading glasses shouldn’t be something you’re ashamed of or annoyed by. We all need them sooner or later. Look at your reading glasses as a functional new accessory that can make a fashion statement. Have fun picking out your new style!
Written by: Liz Gartner (Manager, Union Store, Topdrawer)