Readers, how to choose between off-the-counter vs. prescription glasses?

Readers, how to choose between off-the-counter vs. prescription glasses?

Readers, how to choose between off-the-counter vs. prescription glasses?

As one passes 45, it is common to find difficulty reading at a near distance, that books and smartphone screens start to become blurry, but far away street signs or buildings stay clear. This is called presbyopia and is due to the lens in your eye becoming less flexible and less able to focus close-vision light on the retina. It is due to the natural aging of the eye, in contrast to farsightedness which also makes close vision blurry.

The good news is that this is a common disorder that happens to everyone, and it is easy to find a solution. From off-the-counter readers at 3 for $10, to prescription readers ranging from $30 up to $150, what are the differences, and how to tell which one would be suitable for you?

What are?

-Off the counter readers

Also sometimes called presbyopia glasses. These do not require an optometric prescription and usually offer fixed powers in 0.50 or 1.00 intervals, such as +1.00, +1.50, +2.00, etc. They are easy to purchase at a drugstore or supermarket. Although they are roughly correct presbyopia enough for one to see, it is important to note that presbyopia glasses are not suitable for long-term wear as they are not tailored to your actual prescription ( which includes more than just your SPH power) resulting in further damage to the eye during the modification and refocusing on a ‘general’ prescription.

-Prescription Eyewear

Prescription eyeglasses are lenses customized based on your prescription, including not only your accurate presbyopia power but also your cylinder power and axis, fitted to your pupillary distance. This not only solves your presbyopia vision but also provides comprehensive correction for a variety of vision problems that you may have, to make sure your eyes stay relaxed and decrease the possibility of further vision deterioration.


differences between off-the-counter vs. prescription readers

How do I choose between the two?

Although both types of eyeglasses can solve the distorted vision caused by presbyopia, there are many differences to consider when choosing a suitable solution for you.
  • Lens Quality

Prescription lenses are produced at a much higher standard than off-the-counter products, including in material, accuracy, and durability. For example, the PC lenses used in NextPair prescription lenses are made of heated polycarbonate, which is impact-resistant, lightweight, and wear-resistant. Off-the-counter lenses on the other hand, usually prioritize the cost and price of materials, to give the best value for mass production. As a result, the standard chosen for these lenses often has tiny air bubbles or imperfections that can cause eye discomfort and thus aggravate vision damage.
  • Prescription Quality

Prescription lenses are tailored to your prescription. They will be tailored to your lens power in both sphere, cylinder, and axis to correct your presbyopia and astigmatism, then fitted according to your pupillary distance. An accurate prescription is essential for long-term comfort and vision health; a mismatch often causes headaches or dizziness and, more often vision deterioration. As off-the-counter readers are produced in bulk and not available in different specifications, it is highly unlikely that a pair would fit your prescription perfectly. Therefore, it is not recommended that you wear off-the-counter readers daily for longer than 20 minutes per session.
  • Difference in Lens Functions

Off-the-counter readers have only a single magnifying function, while prescription eyeglasses often can be used in many situations to fit most needs of the day. For example, high-index prescription lenses can reduce the thickness and weight of the lenses, providing a more comfortable wearing experience; digital protection lenses can filter harmful blue light and protect the eyes from blue light emitted from electronic devices, and light-adjusting lenses can automatically adjust the color of the lenses according to the intensity of light. These features make prescription eyeglasses a more advanced and practical option.


prescription eyeglasses have better lens quality and features than presbyopes


Presbyopia is an eye condition due to natural aging, as the flexibility of our eye worsens with age. It is common and easy to solve, with many solutions at many prices. If you are interested more, visit NextPair for prescription readers tailored to your Rx.

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