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Ready-Made Readers

by | 5 Jun 2022 | Eyewear, News

Ready-made readers are often referred to as over-the-counter readers, ready-mades, or magnifiers.  They are mass-produced products and are commonly sold in service stations, dress shops, department stores, and pharmacies. They do not require a prescription.

Put simply, they are basic magnifying lenses, mounted in a basic spectacle frame. They make something small look bigger, but they don’t focus an image clearly like a prescription lens.

Lets take a look at what this article is going to cover:

5 Tips for using ready-made readers

If you must use ready-made magnifiers, here are five tips to help avoid problems:

  1. Use these readers for quick jobs only, like reading a label at the grocery store.  Anything more than about 2 minutes is not recommended.
  2. Examine the lenses for bubbles, waves, or other distortions that could bother your eyes.
  3. If you develop headaches, eye strain, blurry vision, or double vision, take the ready-mades to the Optometrist for analysis and have a complete eye health and vision check.
  4. Ready-made spectacles must not be worn for driving. Importantly, people must seek professional advice about the need for correction when driving.
  5. Don’t use over-the-counter readers for working on the computer; you sit further from the screen than you do from a book or magazine. Furthermore, most magnifiers do not provide the correct protection from short wavelength blue light emitted from modern-day flat screens.

What’s the danger of ready-made readers?

If over-used, they are likely to cause longer-term problems for your vision. Magnifiers are an inferior form of optical correction for everyone. They are also a one-size-fits-all solution and don’t account for your eye’s individual needs.

While they are often promoted as providing a low-cost alternative to prescription spectacles, they can cost anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars for a “designer” pair. You see, the thing is, they all do the same thing! They magnify, they don’t focus.

But magnifiers are so much cheaper!

Did you know that there is a cheaper option? That is actually better! It is amazing how often we hear about stories of saving money with ready-made readers.

Two readily available alternatives to ready-made magnifiers can cost less and they will include real prescription lenses:

  1. Private health insurance no-gap complete glasses. They will cost private health fund members with optical extras cover nothing. Zero. Zip.
  2. State government spectacle supply scheme. The Spectacle Supply Scheme (SSS) provides eligible Queensland residents with a pair of basic prescription spectacles.

Do ready-made readers make reading easier?

Yes, for brief periods of time, but not for extended periods. Specifically, ready-made readers will enlarge the text you are reading, making it easier to see. In fact, printing in a larger font size or expanding text size on your phone screen gives the same result. 

Importantly, magnifiers don’t focus vision properly, so eyes will still be straining and there are many serious and potentially blinding eye conditions, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic eye disease which can also cause difficulty when reading. Presbyopia is the most common condition causing difficulty in reading in adults. However, to properly correct this, glasses need to focus for your eyes, not just magnify.

What are the risks attached to ready-made magnifiers?

The unrestricted sale of ready-made magnifiers poses a risk to the community through its potential to divert people with serious eye conditions from seeking professional care. So, the purchase of ‘ready-made’ spectacles may lead to a false sense of security, since the spectacles may temporarily address one vision problem whilst other problems have not been detected.

Over-use can lead to your eyes adapting to lenses that are wrong for your eyes. Ultimately, this will require a prolonged correction period (months to years) using more expensive prescription eyewear designed to re-adapt your eyes to the correct lens type.

Symptoms such as eyestrain, headaches and blurred or double vision associated with using ready-made readers will generally only become evident after wearing the spectacles for some time. So, the problems are unlikely to be detected by the wearer at the time of selecting a pair of ready-made spectacles.

Do ready-made magnifiers meet the Australian Standard for spectacles?

‘Ready-made’ spectacles do not conform to the Australian Standard for spectacles. In the first of these standards is a statement discouraging the use of ‘ready-made’ or ‘magnifying spectacles’. The standards that apply are AS 2228.1 – 1992 Spectacles Part 1: Spectacle Lenses and AS 2228.1 – 1992 Spectacles Part 1: Spectacle Frames.

Why don’t they meet the Australian Standard?

  • The lenses often have many imperfections and distortions. So they only add more potential problems to your vision.
  • Both lenses are the same power. Yet 75% of people require a different power in each eye.
  • They don’t account for any astigmatism which almost everyone has to some degree and 60% of people have to a significant degree.
  • They don’t provide any prismatic correction for clear, functional vision, and often induce a degree of unwanted prism. Moreover, this can lead to long-term vision problems including eye strain, blurred vision, and double vision.
  • Almost a quarter of the pairs (24%) have been found to have optical centers that were out by as much as 2mm. So this could lead to eyestrain and double vision in many adults.

Hopefully, this has provided some useful insights into the hidden dangers of ready-made readers. For more information and to make an appointment, contact us today. Appointments can be booked online here, or by calling (07) 5447 3711 during business hours. Or visit us at 1 Lanyana Way Noosa Heads.

Noosa Optical

Suite 2 & 3 Noosa Professional Centre
1 Lanyana Way
Noosa Heads QLD 4567

Opening hours:

Monday - Friday | 9:00am - 5:00pm

We're closed for weekends and public holidays.