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Everything to Know About Reading Glasses

You can pick up a pair of reading glasses, or “cheaters,” just about anywhere, but have you ever wondered how these glasses help you read better? Here, we’ll share some facts to boost your knowledge. Consider this your “cheaters” cheat sheet.

What Are “Cheaters” Anyway?

In short, reading glasses are frames with magnified lenses that increase the size of small, hard-to-see, close items (like the words on a menu or book page). They are not prescription eyewear, so they are not made specifically for your vision, but they do come in varying strengths (the lowest or weakest strength is 0.50 diopters). The more magnification you need, the higher diopter your readers should be. “Cheaters” are available with both single-focus and multifocal lenses.

Reading glasses are an over-the-counter vision aid, so you can pick them up at your neighborhood pharmacy, grocery store, online and many other places. You don’t need a prescription for these types of glasses.

Who Should (and Shouldn’t) Use Reading Glasses?

Reading glasses are intended to be a short-term solution for those who need some extra help seeing small, nearby items. If you use prescription-strength vision correction (contact lenses or eyeglasses), reading glasses are not a substitute for your prescription eyewear. Your prescription is recommended specifically for you and your vision needs, and reading glasses are not designed to correct these vision needs.

What to Know When It’s Time to Buy

Reading glasses come in a wide variety of styles, types and materials. Some tips and considerations when buying include:

  • Always try them before buying to ensure they fit comfortably. If you’re buying a pair online, know the return policy before you buy.
  • You’ll need to know your magnification power before you buy. An eye doctor can help you choose the right diopter power, or you can use a diopter chart. You can find a diopter chart online. How it works is you hold the chart 14 inches away from your face. Then, without glasses on, read the top line. If the top line is hard to read, move to the line below it. Continue this process until you find a line that you can clearly read. The magnification power you need is listed next to the row you can read.
  • It may be worthwhile to select a pair with a lens coating (like anti-glare or anti-scratch). These options often come at an added cost, but they’re designed to extend the life of your glasses and may be worth it in the long run.
  • Regarding materials, metal frames are sturdy but weigh more than plastic. Lenses made with Trivex and Polycarbonate are durable and high-quality.
  • If you have vision insurance, you should check if your coverage includes reading glasses.

Even if you don’t need prescription lenses, it’s still important to see your eye doctor for a check up (he or she will recommend the exam frequency that makes sense for you). Reading glasses don’t require a prescription, but your eye doctor can provide recommendations to ensure you’re buying a quality pair. You’ll also receive a comprehensive eye exam to ensure your vision remains healthy for years to come.

Need help finding a vision provider or getting vision insurance? DeltaVision is here to help. Learn more here.


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Pick or Pass: Halloween Treats Edition

When it comes to dental health, it’s best to limit sugar. But as Halloween draws near, it can be hard to avoid the delicious seasonal sweets that lure in eager trick or treaters (and their parents). Fortunately, some candies are better for your mouth than others. Learn the best (and worst) candy picks, so you can enjoy Halloween and keep your mouth healthy, too.

Pick: Chocolate

Chocolate candies melt quickly, which means that the sugar won’t stay on your teeth for very long and attract cavity-causing bacteria. Chocolate also contains a few added health benefits, including tooth-loving calcium. Dark chocolate also contains healthful antioxidants and lower amounts of sugar. When choosing chocolate, pick varieties that are plain instead of those that contain caramel or other chewy, sticky fillings.

Pick: Sugar-free Treats Made With Xylitol

Sugar-free candies made with the natural alcohol xylitol don’t contain sugar, so they won’t feed the bacteria that may cause cavities. Chewing gum and eating candy made with xylitol may help rinse away a buildup of sugar and acid in your mouth. But note that although keeping portion sizes in check is important for all types of candy, it’s especially important with xylitol-based candies. Eating too many may cause excess gas or diarrhea.

Pick: Powder Candy

Yes, powdery candies, like sugar straws, are made of pure sugar, but they don’t stick to your teeth and are easily dissolved by your saliva. So, when weighing your options, this isn’t a bad choice.

Pass: Hard Candy

Hard candies, such as lollipops, are best avoided because they are meant to be sucked for longer periods, which means the sugar stays on your teeth longer than a fast-melting chocolate. Hard candy can also do a different type of damage if you quickly eat it: It can damage your teeth by chomping down on the hard surface.

Pass: Sticky Candy

Sticky, chewy candies like gummies and caramels are not only high in sugar, they physically stick to your teeth. Because they stick to your teeth and hang out on your teeth longer, bacteria have more time to feed on the sugar, and this can lead to cavities. Unlike a powdery candy, your saliva has a harder time dissolving chewy candies, so these candies are among the worst for your teeth.

More Ideas for a Healthier Halloween

Here are some other ways to make this Halloween fun and healthy:

  • Have small portions of candy at a “regular” treat time, such as after dinner or during a snack time. Don’t snack on candy throughout the day, as this leads to overeating and keeps sugar frequently on your teeth.
  • After eating a piece of candy, rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth to wash away excess sugar from your mouth.
  • Remember that you can share non-candy treats during Halloween. Small toys, cracker snack packs or fruit-based treats can be a festive and unique way to celebrate the season.