Southern Seas Blog what are reading glasses

What are reading glasses?

Tony Brooks

Reading glasses are used to treat people who are longsighted or farsighted, whereas distance glasses are used to treat people who are short-sighted or near-sighted. In this blog post I discuss reading glasses and who needs to wear them.

If you cant see clearly when reading a book or using a smartphone, you might be longsighted. Reading glasses are used to correct this problem. They use concave lenses to bring close objects (such as mobile phone screens) into focus so they can be seen clearly.

Children and young adults with long-sightedness may not need any treatment, as their eyes are often able to adapt to the problem and their vision may not be significantly affected. According to the Royal National Institute for the Blind, approximately 7% of 8 year olds and 1% of 15 year olds in the UK are longsighted.

Treatment is usually required in older adults, especially over the age of 40, as your eyes become less able to adapt as you get older. 

The symptoms include:

  • headaches,
  • blurry vision, especially for close objects  
  • frequent squinting in order to see clearly
  • eyestrain


Even if none of the above symptoms apply to you, it is recommended that you have an eye test every two years (e.g. at your local opticians). This will give your eyes a full health check, and test whether you are long or shortsighted.

The Nation Health Service has a list of the different treatments available, of which the most common is the use of reading glasses. Other treatments include the use of contact lenses, or laser surgery.


If you have any questions, or would like more information, please feel free to contact us at 

More info on whether you can drive wearing reading glasses (the answer is you shouldn’t) is available here.  


The author is the founder of Southern Seas Glasses. The views expressed above are entirely those of the author and do not in any way constitute legal, medical, professional or financial advice.