As we get older, the more we’re at risk of needing to wear glasses while we read. Why is this? People who reach the age of 40 become a higher risk of being diagnosed with presbyopia, which is a refractive error caused by aging eyes.

When it comes to reading glasses, they tend to just be needed for when you want to read or carry out other similar tasks like working at a computer. However, as they’re designed to magnify your view, you may feel like it’s best to keep them on, even when you don’t necessarily have to.

This then begs the question: Are you damaging your eyes by wearing reading glasses? The short answer is no, reading glasses will not damage your eyes, however presbyopia will continue to progress and your vision will likely get worse whether your wear glasses or not.

Will wearing reading glasses all the time hurt your eyes?

Aging affects us all, and as we age your eyesight will likely get worse. Reading a paperback or kindle of your favorite novel can become an irritating challenge. When you’re burdened with presbyopia, words become blurry, and reading glasses are designed to help you correct this issue.

But will wearing them constantly hurt your eyes? If you’ve never worn glasses before, the first time you put them on it might feel like you’re looking through a fish bowl. This can cause tired, sore eyes and even headaches. However, after a short period of time your eyes should adjust to your new glasses. An eye doctor can give you a rough timeline and provide advice on how long it will take for your eyes to adjust.

If you feel as if you’re not adjusting to your reading glasses get in touch with your optometrist immediately. Having the incorrect prescription can affect your vision, and this may be what is occurring if you’re feeling some irritation.

What are other symptoms of an incorrect prescription?

Blurry Vision – It can take a while for your eyes to adjust to your new pair of reading glasses. During this time your vision may naturally blur. If this blurriness becomes a constant issue, then it may be your prescription that’s responsible.

Headaches – When this happens, your brain compensates for a change in vision by using more energy to help focus. With this, it leads to fatigue of your eyes and brain, which then ends up causing pain.

Dizziness – Alongside vertigo, dizziness is associated with changes in depth perception. If you end up with an incorrect prescription, the chances are you’ll experience dizziness while sitting or standing.

Squinting – This is a natural way to help you improve visual focus, especially during bright, sunny days. However, if you find yourself squinting way too often, especially while you read a book, then you may have an incorrect prescription and you’ll want it enhanced immediately.

What to do during the adjustment stage?

As your eyes will need to adjust during the early stages of wearing them, here are ways to help you feel more comfortable:

  • Keep them on/or close by: If you need your glasses on consistently, then you need to get into the habit of leaving them on. If you only need them for certain situations – like reading – then always make sure that they are close by so that it reminds you that you need them.

  • Keep the lenses clean: Having dirty lenses can cause fuzziness and spots in your vision that may not have been there before.

  • Take plenty of breaks of working on near tasks or computer work for long periods of time. Your eyes can become dry by the lack of blinking, and your eyes may stay wider for longer periods – causing strain to your muscles. Typically, this leads to eyestrain and fatigue, which can impact your vision. To avoid this, you need to take some time to relax your eyes.

What about over the counter reading glasses? Will they damage my eyes?

The short answer is no. However, if you haven’t had an eye exam for a considerable amount of time, it’s much wiser to get them examined initially to make sure it’s just the standard aging process that’s the problem and you don’t need a stronger prescription.

Many people cannot use over the counter reading glasses due to their prescription. Some will need a custom reading prescription to see correctly.

If you decide to purchase your readers from over the counter, this will not damage your eyes – you might not see as well. Just like prescription readers, they are designed to treat presbyopia and help magnify your view when it comes to reading.

Typically, they are lower priced and usually of lower quality. Their frames tend to be weaker, and the lenses can scratch far more easily. They are also not specific for your eyesight.

Is it recommendable to wear over the counter reading glasses? The only benefit (over prescription glasses) to wearing drugstore lenses is their convenience. If you only need reading glasses occasionally, then this may be the ideal solution for you.

Are reading glasses suitable for your computer?

Using a computer or any other digital device at close range for large periods can contribute to computer vision syndrome. This can also be referred to as digital eye strain. If you happen to wear reading glasses to aid your near vision, these glasses are not meant for using the computer.

You may also opt for a pair of glasses that block blue light.

To be able to focus on the screen of your computer or other digital device, a pair of glasses that have been prescribed to you is a better option.


Although wearing reading glasses for the first time may feel a little strange, you will overcome this feeling fairly quickly. As presbyopia tends to develop while we age, it makes reading glasses helpful for improving our near vision.

So, ultimately, can wearing reading glasses damage your eyes? It’s highly unlikely that reading glasses will affect your eyes. They are designed to support your eyes – not do damage to them.