We all know about them, and know someone that has them. But what do ready-made glasses actually do for and to our vision?
You know the ones I’m talking about right? The +1.50 or +2.00 cheap glasses that are sold at the Chemist and Petrol stations amongst other places, most of the time for under $10.00.
With everything in optics, there is a reason things are priced the way they are. The more time, detail and quality that goes into a frame design, the more expensive it is going to be and vice-versa. If something is mass-produced and made from poor quality materials, it’s going to end up at the bottom end of the price scale, and will be more widely available, without a prescription or guidance as to what it actually offers the wearer.
These ready-made readers are, basically mass-produced magnifying glasses. So of course, when just about anyone puts them on, everything is going to seem ‘better’ – or ‘clearer’ because details (small print especially) are magnified. They are good for a quick fix, or an emergency situation, but shouldn’t be used long term in most cases.
Why would this be the case when they are in-expensive, available in a lot of funky colours, and they make your vision clearer?
Because in most cases, prolonged use of these can actually make your vision worse, due to them not actually addressing your prescription.
Let me try and explain in the least complicated way possible…
Approximately one third to a half of all glasses wearers have Astigmatism, which is when the shape of the eye requires a type of prescription that is more along the lines of a corrective prescription rather than just a magnification.
Therefore, if someone has a prescription for an astigmatism correction, but chooses to wear a magnification only lens- different from what has been prescribed by their Optometrist, their vision is ultimately not being helped. Short term, things may appear clearer, but magnifying your vision and ignoring an actual correction can in fact make your astigmatism suffer in the long run.
For those people who do not have Astigmatism, ready-made glasses MAY be an option, but ALWAYS check with your Optometrist before deciding to go down this track. Most ready-made glasses only come in a few prescriptions. For example +1.00, +1.50, +2.00. If your prescription is different to these again, you may be compromising your vision.
On top of the magnification, ready made glasses do not take into consideration all of the other measurements that are taken when you purchase from an Eyecare professional. Some of these (for single vision in this case) include
- Pupil distance
- Lens material (for durability)
- Frame fit (most ready-mades cannot be adjusted due to the poor quality materials)
- Antireflective/Blue control or Glare reductive coatings to help with headaches
And this is just to name a few.
Occasionally, the Optometrist may suggest getting a pair of ready-made readers for a specific task if you have the right prescription and will only need them for short amounts of time, which is of course fine.
What you should avoid, is relying on these types of glasses as a permanent part of your eye care solution, as generally speaking they are only prolonging you getting the proper care for your specific visual needs.
If ever in doubt, of course speak to your Optometrist or Dispenser for advice specific to your prescription and needs.
But as a general rule remember: What you invest in your glasses, is what you are ultimately investing in the long term health of your eyes.