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Computer Glasses vs. Reading Glasses: What Is Right for You?

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Blue Light Eye Glasses

Reading glasses have been around for a long time, but computer glasses are newer to the scene. With more and more people working from home and increasing their screen time, computer glasses have become more popular than ever.

Although both computer glasses and reading glasses serve the same general function—to improve your eyesight—they aren’t exactly the same. This fact can make it stressful when picking out a pair of glasses for you.

In this article, you are going to learn the difference between computer glasses and reading glasses. We provide all the information you need to know to determine which pair of glasses is right for your needs and eyesight. Scroll down to learn more.

Overview of Computer Glasses:

close up woman wearing blue light glasses

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Computer glasses are specifically designed for reading from a computer while minimizing eye strain. Often, computer reading glasses include a number of coatings or features to maximize vision health, even after staring at an artificial screen.

Visibility

At their base, computer glasses are designed to help increase visibility when looking at a computer screen. Many computer glasses include magnified lenses to magnify the small print on the screen. However, not all computer glasses are designed to magnify the screen. Some are designed to protect your eyes and prevent symptoms associated with eye strain to improve vision.

Extra Features

Computer glasses are unique because they provide a number of benefits for your eye health. Most computer glasses include an anti-reflective coating and a blue light coating. The anti-reflective coating ensures that you can still see the screen, even when light is reflecting off it. The blue light coating helps to protect your eyes from the blue light being emitted from the computer.

Benefits

The anti-glare coating on computer glasses can reduce eyestrain. Often, glare is what causes extreme eye strain when looking at a computer, which can lead to blurry vision, headaches, and computer vision syndrome. When wearing these glasses, you won’t experience as many of these symptoms.

Because of the blue light coating on computer classes, computer glasses can improve sleep quality if you are looking at a screen before bed. Blue light has been found to disrupt melatonin production. Melatonin is an essential hormone for falling asleep. When you stare at a computer screen before going to bed, it can be more difficult to fall asleep as a result. With the help of the coating, you can fall asleep easier.

There are also some debates about whether blue light is damaging to your eyes. These assertions are inconclusive.

woman wearing blue light glasses while working

Image Credit: Prostock studio, Shutterstock

Best For

Computer glasses are best for individuals who struggle to see their computer screen. They improve symptoms of computer vision syndrome, eye strain, blurry vision, or headaches after looking at a computer screen. If you experience any of these symptoms or look at a computer screen for a big chunk of your day, you might need computer glasses.

Pros
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce glare
  • Decrease eye strain
  • Decrease headaches
Cons
  • Do not always magnify the screen

Overview of Reading Glasses:

reading glasses

Image Credit: David Travis, Unsplash

For us, reading glasses are basically as old as time, but they actually haven’t been around for that long. Reading glasses are specifically designed to provide vision correction by magnifying the words on the page. This makes reading glasses an option for individuals who need on-page magnification.

Visibility

Reading glasses have one goal: to increase the size of the print on the page. By magnifying the print, you will be able to read the page more easily.

Extra Features

Reading glasses don’t typically come with many extra features. Occasionally, you may find tinted reading glasses so you can read outside, but these glasses are more expensive than regular, clear reading glasses. Some reading glasses will also come with the blue light or anti-reflective coatings mentioned above, but these glasses are often called computer glasses.

Benefits

The main benefit of using reading glasses is that you don’t have to squint or strain your eyes in order to read the small print on the page. Consequently, you may experience fewer headaches while you are reading and even correct your vision in the process. If you read before bed, eyeglasses can improve sleep quality since you don’t have to strain as much to read right before you fall asleep.

woman using reading eye glasses

Image Credit: Image Point Fr, Shuttertock

Best For

Reading glasses are best for individuals who specifically struggle to read the small print on pages of books or newspapers. Reading glasses will magnify the page so you can see clearly without headaches.

Pros
  • Magnify page
  • Minimize headaches
  • Improve sleep quality
Cons
  • Does not offer many features

shutter camera divider 2Are Reading Glasses and Computer Glasses the Same?

After looking at computer glasses and reading glasses individually, let’s compare them now. Are reading glasses and computer glasses the same? In many respects, these two eyeglass types are similar, but they aren’t identical. Reading glasses are designed for reading print, whereas computer glasses are designed for looking at screens and technology.

Even though the intention for these glasses is different, many reading and computer glasses have the same features and overlap in terms of capabilities. For example, you can find reading glasses that offer blue light protection, and you can find computer glasses that offer magnification. In this respect, some reading and computer glasses are the same, but not all.

Playing Pc Eyeglass

Image Credit: Prostock-studio, Shutterstock

What Is the Difference Between Computer Glasses and Normal Glasses?

The difference between computer glasses and normal glasses ultimately comes down to their intention. Because computer glasses are designed for computer screens, they always include anti-glare and blue-light technology. Reading glasses, in contrast, always include magnification.

Here is a comparison of these glasses:

  Computer Glasses Reading Glasses
Lens Anti-reflective

Blue-light protection

Magnified

Clear or tinted

Benefits Improve sleep

Optimize eyesight when looking at digital screens

Reduce glare

Improve sleep

Magnify on-page print

Best For Those who experience symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome and eye strain Those who have trouble seeing, such as those with presbyopia or those over 40
Design For Those who spend prolonged periods of time looking at a screen Those who have trouble reading print

Can I Wear Reading Glasses for the Computer and Vice Versa?

Blue light eyeglass

Image Credit: newarta, Pixabay

With these differences in mind, can you use reading glasses and computer glasses interchangeably? In most cases, yes, but you will have to look at what features the glasses offer.

If you find computer glasses and reading glasses that offer blue light coating, anti-glare coating, and magnified lenses, you can wear the glasses interchangeably because they offer the same features.

However, you will want to purchase reading glasses specifically if you cannot afford or cannot find computer glasses with magnified lenses. Conversely, you should avoid traditional reading glasses without a protective coating to keep your eyes safe while looking at computer screens.

Conclusion

The difference between computer glasses and reading glasses comes down to the details. Computer glasses are designed to improve your vision when looking at a computer screen through blue light coatings and anti-reflective coatings. Reading glasses improve your vision by magnifying what you are looking at. Often, you will find glasses that offer all these features in one.

It’s often a great idea to purchase glasses that offer all of these features, so you have glasses for every reading scenario you find yourself in. If you do not want glasses that offer all these features, then select the pair of glasses that is best suited for your reading environment and needs.


Featured Image Credit: Stereo Lights, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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