Do You Read Me?

Reading glasses. I didn’t think I’d ever have a use for them, except maybe to burn bugs by focusing the sun’s rays on their exoskeletons.

Today, I own and use several pairs . . . for reading. I don’t always need them (I’m in denial about my presbyopia), but when I do, I can’t get by without them. And reading is more than a pastime for me. I average hours of reading per day.

Do you have presbyopia?

Finding a satisfactory pair of reading glasses isn’t easy. It has to meet certain conditions.

  1. One pair of reading glasses isn’t enough. You need several. For me, having six or seven is about right: one for my home study, one for the bedroom, one for each of our two cars, one at my office, and a pair or two for my laptop bag and day pack.
  2. Reading glasses should be inexpensive. If you need several serviceable pairs at one time, if they are easily lost, if they break down after a few months use, then cost becomes a factor.
  3. Reading glasses should fit comfortably. They should be lightweight and sit properly on nose and ears. Lightweight is easy. But the rest can be a challenge. Plastic hinges don’t adjust, and the metal frames wear out easily with adjustments and general use.
  4. Reading glasses should be durable. They should be, but most of them aren’t. Durable means that they can tolerate a little abuse. “Abuse” is part of normal use. Reading glasses are on and off, on and then off again. Mine often are tossed aside when something interrupts my reading.
  5. Reading glasses should be scratch resistant. This can compromise the weight factor, since glass tends to wear better than plastic. But the lighter plastics are improving.
  6. Reading glasses should meet your fashion requirements. At home, I don’t really care much about appearances. I can take the overt mocking my daughters deliver. But in my public speaking, it matters some whether I’m going to be mistaken for the matron of the university library.
  7. Reading glasses should be accompanied by some sort of protective case. You don’t want bulge. But the lenses should be moderately protected when you’re on the move and you’re not wearing your glasses. I prefer a pair that can be flipped up atop my head for safe storage and convenient re-utilization. But this isn’t best in all situations.
  8. Reading glasses should be easy to replace. You have to plan on replacing your reading glasses eventually. Once you’ve become attached to a pair you like, it would be nice to know that they’re replaceable. I’ve discovered that several different pairs I’ve tried and like well enough are no longer available at the local pharmacy. So this requirement has become more important to me with experience.

I haven’t found a pair of reading glasses that meets all of these conditions to a superlative degree. One design surpasses others on some points, but lags behind on others. Sure, you might use different designs for different purposes at different locations. But then the several pairs serving specialized purposes aren’t so neatly interchangeable. It’s convenient to be able to move about with the same pair of glasses, even if you have duplicates at designated locations.

I’ve discovered an all-purpose design that adequately meets most of my requirements and reigns supreme in some respects. Before I unveil my discovery, though, I’d like to hear from you about your experience.

  • What do you recommend, in light of the requirements listed above?
  • What other requirements, if any, do you have for selecting a pair of reading glasses?
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About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

2 Responses to Do You Read Me?

  1. Doug Geivett says:

    Excellent comments, Howard! I hope I’ve still got, oh, twenty more years before I have all the “issues” you speak of. But if I’m still motoring twenty years from now, I’ll be “Happy.”

    Like

  2. Howard says:

    I used to laugh at people who were always looking for glasses, then I had to wear them to read, also. Went through your outline until I moved up to bifocals. Problem solved? Nope! Later, I had to get trifocals so I could read the computer monitor. Problem solved? Nope! Later, I went to bifocals with the intermediate lens at the bottom to keep from falling down stairs, tripping over rocks on walks and looking through the wrong lens while riding the motorcycle. Over 90 mph on the bike I feel safer with my eyes closed and just listening to the exhaust noise from the v-twin engine. The noise is comforting because it is about the same thing I hear while relaxing in my recliner. Oh, that’s a different problem. “Tinnitus”. NOW, WHAT WAS THE QUESTION? OK! Next, I’ll try reading while riding 90 mph on the bike with my eyes shut!

    Like

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