Hard To See - Dollar Store Glasses - Are They Worth It?
OK, I'll admit it....as I age, my eyesight is slowly getting worse. Like many folks, close up and tiny text are beginning to become an issue as my arms aren't getting any longer. My sight is fairly good at all other distances, so I'm not ready for glasses...yet. In the meantime, for the rare-ish occasions I need some magnification and DON'T want to look like Sherlock Holmes using a spy glass, I looked around to see what was available to purchase. You know, some reading-magnifying glasses. Wow, they sure can be expensive! However, the cheapest ones I could find were only a Dollar at a DOLLAR store...not much of a coincidence there! Would they work? Are they OK to use?? Read on, to find out.
These type of glasses come in various strengths. What strength can be determined by their "Diopter" value. Typically, they come in +1.00 up to +3.25 diopter ratings. What's a Diopter? It's a fancy way of describing the focal length of the glass. Suffice to say, it's an indicator of how strong they are and how much magnification you can expect. Best way to choose is to try them on and read something small! Be aware that the higher the number the more distortion you will get when moving your head around. It's very vertigo inducing and will likely give you a headache if used at too strong a magnification for too long. I've found that for tiny work and tiny text, 1.50 works well. But if I move my head too much or try and move around (like walk!) I get nasty headaches almost right away.
I tried lower than 1.50 and it wasn't enough power. Especially if the text was low contrast, like on some colored labeling. Any higher and it's really nausea inducing unless you keep your head VERY steady. I imagine it would be fine for close up work...like watch battery replacement, but don't try to walk with them on...it doesn't work! Let's just say, well, OUCH! I walked into a cabinet that way. They are available with metal or plastic frames and in lots of shapes, styles and colors...easy to find one that you like. They are so inexpensive, that I've taken to leaving a pair in my tool box. This way, if I get into a situation that requires them...I won't have to go looking. I wonder how long THAT will last! Too bad they can't fix my memory as easily as my tiny text issue!
Who knows, maybe in the future I'll break down and need to get a pair of regular prescription lenses. But, for now. these work just fine.