Cheap Reading Glasses: Good or Bad | Are you being Tricked?

Reading Glass

There are lots of options on which reading glass to choose. For most, there is an option where you will let and expert check on you to get the right prescription. But the downside of that is it can be quite expensive. So the question is do you need to get those expensive ones or you can opt for the cheap ones?

Over-the-counter (OTC) or cheap reading glasses are not bad for your eyes and won’t cause harm to your eyesight. The quality is the only difference between the cheap and expensive ones. When it comes to the effect and power, it will be the similar.

Checking the quality of the glass is also very easy. Thus, if you know how to check it, you can save a lot of money since you can check whether the glass you are getting is worth the money you’re paying for. I will also share how to check its quality in this article.

Are Cheap Prescription Glasses Bad for your Eyes?

Cheap prescription glasses are not bad for your eyes. They are measured in terms of power, which means that a +2.00 cheap lens will have the same power as a +2.00 expensive ones. The thing you are paying for expensive prescription lens is actually the advice of a health professional or sometimes, the material used on the lens is better than the cheaper ones.

Prescription lens are also used for positive lens therapy which I teach in my website and blog: if you want to improve your eyesight naturally, you may check out my YouTube channel for visuals or you may read more of my articles on this topic. Here is the link:

It is also worth noting that the wrong prescription might cause discomfort such as dizziness, fatigue, headaches and possibly nausea but it is not because of cheap lenses but a wrong prescription.

That is the reason why some people opt for professional advice for prescription. What you are paying for is the professional’s advice and the right prescription.

Do Off the Shelf Reading Glasses Damage your Eyes?

In summary, If you are on a budget and know the right prescription for you (most shops have some sort of a checking material), you can opt for the cheaper ones. Take note that there might be discomfort if you have the wrong prescription. Thus, you should always take note of that. Other than that, cheap lens will not damage your eyesight.

Is there a difference between cheap and expensive reading glasses?

If there is a difference between the cheap and the expensive reading glasses, it will be the professional help involved in getting one and the material used for the product.

There are more expensive reading glass that are more durable because of the materials involved. Another is that expensive ones can have more features such as being lightweight, thinner, unique look and designer features. They might even include warranty for the product.

Limitations of a Cheap Reading Glasses

Although cheap reading glasses, when it comes to power can be compared to the expensive positive lens. There will be limitations on getting a cheap reading glass. There are things to watch out for. Here are they

  • Availability – If you have a very high prescription, there is a chance that what you are looking for is not readily available in the counter. This means that you will have no choice but to have a custom made by a professional.
  • Medical Conditions – It is not advisable to do self diagnose especially if you have an underlying health condition such as Glaucoma or Astigmatism.
  • Grade – The thing will over the counter lens is that most if not all of the time, the strength of both lenses is the same. This is a big problem is there is a big difference in the grade in your left and right eye. Incorrect prescription such as this can cause dizziness, headache and nausea. Also, both eyes having a different grade is very common.
  • Distortion – some cheap reading glasses are made from non-optical grade materials. Meaning that there will be distortion and they will not be 100% accurate. Thus, you need to know how to check the quality of the glass.

How to Check the Quality of your Reading Glass

The quality of the reading glass can be easily checked by doing this:

  1. Hold your glasses at arms length – Make sure that you are looking at it in a straight line. This makes sure that you will see the line we’ll be looking at clearly.
  2. Rotate the lens – Start rotating your lens, you will see that a straight line of light will be present.
  3. Continuously Rotate the Lens – Continue rotating the lens and check if the line will be distorted or twisted.
  4. Test for Distortion of the Line – If you find a cheap lens with no distortion, it will be a good choice.

Bonus Tip: Remember that it is not the brand of the lens that count. You should always check the lens of every positive lens you buy. This will make sure that you buy the lens for its quality not for anything else.


When it comes to your eyesight, make sure to buy the best. The best does not mean that you should buy the most expensive one. There are cheap glasses out there that are distortion free and it will be way more worth your money.

The only reason why you will buy expensive ones is because you might need a stronger one than over the counter ones, you have an existing medical condition that needs attention especially if it involved your eyes, if your eyes have a different grade, if you can’t find a good cheap lens with no distortion.

And if you are looking for features that cheap lens don’t usually have such as: being lightweight, extreme durability and designs.

As you can see, cheap prescription glasses do not harm your eyesight. If you are on a tight budget, it is perfectly fine to opt for an over the counter prescription lens. But if you have any other conditions other than farsightedness such as astigmatism or glaucoma, better consult an expert because they can give you the proper care you need for your eyes.


Jason Ong is a YouTuber and the one who owns this site. He shares what he learned to people and make videos if necessary. He was a former lecturer. The things he taught are topics related to Clinical Laboratory Science or what others call Medical Technology. Right now, he is also working part-time in an app company as a production supervisor. You can visit his YouTube Channel on

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