The 8 Best Reading Glasses to Buy in 2021

Give your eyes the assistance they need

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First Look

Best Overall: Foster Grant McKay at fostergrant.com

Great for any gender, these frames are anti-reflective and scratch- and impact-resistant.

Best Budget: Gaoye 5-Pack Reading Glasses at Amazon

Sturdy, spring-hinge frames available in a multipack so you'll always have a pair on hand.

Best Metal Frame: Eyekepper 5-Pack Straight Thin Stamped Metal Frame Half-Eye Style Reading Glasses at Amazon

Metal frame reading glasses in a multipack backed by a lifetime warranty, all with a range of power levels.

Best Blue Light Blocking: Zenni Blokz at zennioptical.com

Blue light blocking lenses, available in either prescription or non-prescription.

Best for Kids: Livho Kids Blue Light Blocking Glasses at Amazon

Great for blocking blue light and reducing eyestrain in kids, even without a prescription.

Most Stylish: Peepers by PeeperSpecs at Amazon

Fashionable choices for everyday wear in styles to suit any need, all with UV and anti-scratch coating.

Best Folding: Doubletake Reading Glasses at Amazon

Folding frames and high-powered lenses make a great portable choice for people who don't wear reading glasses all the time.

Best Luxury: Warby Parker Whalen at warbyparker.com

Luxury reading glasses from a well-known brand with a range of lens coatings.

Up until relatively recently, most people who needed reading glasses visited their local pharmacy or big-box store, selected a few different frames (and sometimes varying prescriptions) from a circular display to try on, and then made their purchase. But now, like almost everything else, it’s common to buy reading glasses online. 

In addition to that, the concept of reading glasses, and what they do, has expanded. By and large, “reading glasses” still refer to glasses a person only wears when they need to read something up close, like a book or a computer screen, and are available over-the-counter or through your eye doctor. 

But over the past few years, we’ve also seen blue light blocking glasses—designed to protect your eyes from the blue light emitted from electronic devices—hit the physical and virtual shelves. They’re often marketed as “reading glasses,” though they don’t necessarily contain a prescription. 

As it turns out, there is currently no scientific evidence that blue light blocking glasses do anything to help or protect your eyes, and for this reason, the American Academy of Ophthalmology doesn’t recommend using them. Still, many people have reported reduced eye strain while wearing blue light glasses, and though it might just be the placebo effect at work, if people are convinced that they provide relief, they’ll continue to purchase this type of reading glasses.

According to Richard Davidson, M.D., an ophthalmologist with UCHealth Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Eye Center in Colorado, consumers looking to purchase reading glasses should pay attention to how they fit their head and face, and whether or not they’re comfortable and provide good vision quality.

“You should wear reading glasses whenever you are struggling to read," explains Dr. Davidson. "You will find using reading glasses is much less fatiguing, and you may have less dry-eye and other ocular irritation by using them. This is because when we struggle to read we tend to blink less frequently, and that leads to symptoms of dry eye and ocular irritation.”

We researched dozens of reading glasses and evaluated them for reviews, frame materials, lens type, fit, pricing, durability, and return policies. Each of the retailers chosen in this article were determined to be the best of these factors.

Here are the best reading glasses on the market today.

Best Overall: Foster Grant McKay

Foster Grant McKay

Courtesy: Foster Grant

Pros
  • Scratch/impact resistant lenses

  • Spring hinged

  • Includes case

Cons
  • Not the most durable

  • Power only goes to 3.5

This stylish, unisex frame from Foster Grant comes with several features for a reasonable price, including anti-reflective, scratch- and impact-resistant multi-strength polycarbonate lenses. In addition, the glasses’ spring hinge allows for a more precise fit and extra comfort. The round frames are available in either black or teal.

Frame Material: Metal/Plastic | Lens Type: Polycarbonate | Prescription Type: 1-3.5

What the Experts Say

“Reading glasses are particularly important for people over the age of 45, especially when they haven't needed to wear glasses before. And even though they are called ‘reading glasses,’ they are designed to be used for any close tasks, including using mobile phones.”—Bhavin Shah, MCOptom, a behavioral optometrist at Central Vision Opticians in London, England

Best Budget: Gaoye 5-Pack Reading Glasses

Gaoye 5-Pack Reading Glasses

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Four color combination options

  • Lightweight

  • Excellent value

Cons
  • Can scratch easily

  • Some lenses can be a bit fuzzy

If you’re someone who frequently misplaces their reading glasses, you may be better off buying them in bulk—or at least a multipack. This one from Gaoye contains five pairs of reading glasses, so you’ll always have a backup pair handy when another pair goes missing. But don’t expect these to fall apart easily: the spring-hinge and flexible resin frame material makes these relatively durable as well.

Frame Material: Resin | Lens Type: Polycarbonate Lens | Prescription Type: 1, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, 2, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75, 3, 3.5, 4

Best Metal Frame: Eyekepper 5-Pack Straight Thin Stamped Metal Frame Half-Eye Style Reading Glasses

Eyekepper 5-Pack Straight Thin Stamped Metal Frame Half-Eye Style Reading Glasses

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Spring hinges

  • Aspheric scratch resistant coated lenses

  • Good value

Cons
  • Thin padding on nose bridge

  • Bends easily

Even though plastic reading glasses may hold their shape better than metal or wire frames, some people still prefer their look and feel. If you fall into that category, this five-pack of thin metal frames is a safe bet—especially since the company offers a lifetime breakage warranty on both the lenses and frames. Plus, they’re available in five different colors (in other words, not as boring as they may sound).

Frame Material: Metal | Lens Type: Plastic | Prescription Type: 0.75, 1, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, 2, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75, 3, 3.5, 4

What the Experts Say

“Differently shaped faces, noses, and heads each do better with different types of glasses—both their materials and their shapes.”—Benjamin Bert, M.D., an ophthalmologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California

Best Blue Light Blocking: Zenni Blokz

Zenni Blokz

Courtesy: Zenni

Pros
  • Highest strength power options available

  • Available in bifocals or progressive lenses

Cons
  • More expensive than other glasses

  • Need eye measurements to order

As mentioned before, there’s no evidence that blue light blocking glasses prevent eye strain caused by the light given off from electronic devices. But at the same time, some people seem to think they help and continue to purchase them. If you find that applies to you, you may want to consider a pair of frames from Zenni Optical, outfitted with Blokz blue light blocking lenses. They are available in non-prescription or prescription lenses.

Frame Material: Acetate | Lens Type: Multiple Options | Prescription Type: 0-6 in increments of 0.25

Best for Kids: Livho Kids Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Livho Kids Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Bendable construction

  • Silicone tips for comfort

  • Lightweight feel

Cons
  • Only one size

  • Lenses can sometimes come out

Though we tend to think of children as being farsighted—only realizing they need glasses when they’re unable to see the board at school—approximately nine percent of school-aged children have myopia, or nearsightedness. But unlike adults, kids can’t (and probably shouldn’t) wander into their local CVS and peruse their selection of reading glasses. Instead, their parents need to take them to see their pediatrician for an eye screening, followed by an appointment with an optometrist or ophthalmologist, if necessary. Overall, it’s the same process used for farsighted children, and there aren’t designated “reading glasses” (just regular kids’ glasses). 

Having said that, parents who believe that blue light blocking glasses are useful might want their child to wear them, even if they have 20/20 vision and don’t require a prescription. If that’s the case, Livho’s bendable and lightwear blue light blocking glasses for kids are a good option.

Frame Material: TR90 (flexible plastic) | Lens Type: Polycarbonate | Prescription Type: None

Most Stylish: Peepers by PeeperSpecs

Peepers by PeeperSpecs

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • UV 360 Protection coating

  • Aspheric lenses with anti-scratch coating

Cons
  • Screws may become loose

  • Short return phase if they get damaged

A family-run company now in its fourth generation, PeeperSpecs has a wide selection of reading glasses that don’t skimp on style. Ranging from contemporary frames to those that are vintage-inspired, even the most fashion-conscious people should find something they like. Plus, the spring hinges on the frames provide added comfort.

Frame Material: Polycarbonate | Lens Type: Acrylic | Prescription Type: 1, 1.25, 1.5, 2, 2.25, 2.75, 3

Best Folding: Doubletake Reading Glasses

Doubletake Reading Glasses

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Available in high strength

  • 90-day money back guarantee

  • 2-year manufacturer's warranty

Cons
  • Not as comfortable as other options

  • Can slip off face

Because you don’t wear reading glasses all the time, they need to be portable enough to come with you wherever you go. For this reason, some people prefer reading glasses that fold, like this pair from Doubletake. Actually, these foldable glasses come two-to-an-order, complete with a hard carrying case for each pair, at a reasonable price. In addition to that, they also come with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Frame Material: Plastic | Lens Type: Plastic | Prescription Type: 1, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, 2, 2.25, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4

Best Luxury: Warby Parker Whalen

Warby Parker Whalen

Courtesy: Warby Parker

Pros
  • Available in two widths

  • Can add blue light filtering or light-responsive coating

  • Hassle-free returns

  • One-year no-scratch guarantee

Cons
  • Pricier option

  • Not available in higher powers

When Warby Parker first hit the scene, the company offered a lower-cost and significantly more convenient way of buying glasses—so it may seem odd to see them listed as our luxury pick. But compared to all of the other options for reading glasses out there, these are definitely on the higher end of the price spectrum. At the same time, people who have ordered from Warby Parker previously may be more comfortable going with the brand again, and their one-year no-scratch guarantee can definitely come in handy.

Frame Material: Cellulose acetate | Lens Type: Polycarbonate | Prescription Type: 0.25, 0.5, .75, 1, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, 2, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75

Final Verdict

If you were looking for a single pair of non-folding reading glasses, Foster Grant’s McKay model (view at Foster Grant) is a solid pick. They’re the type of glasses that look good (or at least decent) on almost anyone, and for the price, the anti-reflective, scratch- and impact-resistant lenses make them an excellent value. For a tried and true pair that have a reputation for high quality lenses, Warby Parker Whalen (view at Warby Parker) glasses are another great pick.

What to Look for in Reading Glasses

If you’re in the market for a pair of reading glasses, pay attention to these qualities and features:

Frame Material

Similar to other types of prescription glasses, you’ll have to decide on plastic or metal/wire frames. Check the description of the frame to find out which category it falls into. Plastic frames tend to be more durable, but you can’t beat the convenience of a pair of folding metal glasses.

Lens Features

If you’re purchasing reading glasses online or through an optician, you’ll likely be offered a long list of options to add to your lenses. These can include everything from a scratch-resistant coating to lenses made from more lightweight materials to a blue light blocking coating. Pay attention to these options and your invoice to ensure you get all the lens features and qualities you want but aren’t stuck paying for ones you don’t want or need.

Warranty and/or Return Policy

While some companies don’t offer any type of guarantee on their reading glasses, others have some version of a return policy and, in some cases, a warranty. If this is something that matters to you, check to make sure the company has an acceptable policy in place.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can you measure your glasses size?

    Some online glasses companies like Warby Parker and Zenni provide instructions for customers, walking them through how to measure their face to make sure they order glasses that fit. These directions can be useful even if you’re purchasing a pair of reading glasses on Amazon, as they’ll often list the sizes and dimensions of the frames.


    But overall, this is one of those situations where in-person shopping can be easier, solely for the fact that it allows you to actually try glasses on physically, and not just virtually. When trying on reading glasses, Bhavin Shah, MCOptom, a behavioural optometrist at Central Vision Opticians in London, England says that it’s most important to ensure that the glasses fit properly at the bridge of the nose—meaning that they should fit comfortably and not slide down your nose. 


    Next, check to see if the glasses fit well on the sides of your head. “The glasses shouldn't press in, neither should the sides of the glasses stretch out too much,” Shah explains. And when it comes to selecting a prescription, Shah advises to “always try to get the lowest power that you can use to see comfortably.”

  • Can you wear reading glasses without a prescription?

    While it’s generally a good idea to see an eye doctor about any vision problems, Dr. Davidson says that it’s possible (and not harmful) to purchase and wear reading glasses without getting a prescription for them first. “Prescription reading glasses may give you slightly better vision due to higher lens quality and the ability to correct any astigmatism you may have,” he explains. “However, over-the-counter reading glasses are perfectly fine if you are comfortable with the image quality.”

  • How often should you wear reading glasses?

    In short, reading glasses should be used as much as is needed for adults over 40, Benjamin Bert, M.D., an ophthalmologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California says. “Many people feel that using the reading glasses has made their eyes ‘lazy,’ since they find themselves becoming more and more dependent on the reading glasses for their near vision,” he explains. “However, the process and progression of presbyopia will happen regardless of whether the reading glasses are used or not. Thus, it’s important to make yourself comfortable and not cause unnecessary eye strain.”


    And if you find that you are needing reading glasses at a younger age, or if you’re having difficulty focusing up-close and you’re under 40, it may be worth seeing your optometrist or ophthalmologist to have a refraction performed and see if you need prescription glasses, Dr. Bert adds.

Why Trust Verywell Health?

As a seasoned health writer and editor, Elizabeth Yuko, PhD, is always on the lookout for new (and research-backed) products, techniques, and services that can help people cope with their health challenges and needs.

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  1. Yoo S. Myopia (Nearsightedness) in children. HealthyChildren.org.