Meaning Behind your Reading Glass Strength

You might be wondering what the numbers and the plus sign mean on your reading glasses. Chances are you might also want to know if you really need to wear glasses or not. This article discusses the levels of hyperopia or farsightedness, the diopter range, the severity of hyperopia and if the person needs glasses or not.

As a general rule, the positive sign in your reading glass is for magnification and the diopter is the strength of the magnification. For example, +1.50 means that it magnifies 1.5 times. The higher the number, the greater the magnification.

With regards to if you need to wear glasses, you can also correlate the glass you need to the severity or level of your farsightedness. Below is a table summary where it will be easily explained. Using the table, you can easily tell whether your hyperopia is bad or not.

Examples will also be given so you can use the table on your own.

The Levels of Farsightedness with the Reading Glass Level

DioptersHyperopia LevelDefinition
Less than +2.00 DioptersLow HyperopiaCan still see clearly even without Correction
+2.25 to +5.00 DioptersModerate HyperopiaUnable to see very clearly without Correction
More than +5.25 DioptersHigh or Severe HyperopiaVision severely distorted and must always need Correction
Levels of Hyperopia or farsightedness with their diopter range

According to the American Academy of Opthalmology, low hyperopia doesn’t need to wear glasses but when you start to have a moderate hyperopia, it is time to start thinking of wearing one.

Source: American Academy of Opthalmology(AAO)

This table summarizes your level of farsightedness or hyperopia depending on the correction you need.

Thus, this will answer all of your queries if your eyes are in a bad shape depending on your prescription level.

Here are some of the common queries regarding this and the answer based on the table.

Summary on Do you Need glasses or not based on your eye grade level

The Meaning of Eye Prescription +1.50

People with +1.50 eye prescription is in the mild or low hyperopia level. They start at this level because in this range, people can still function and see well even without glasses. The only problem is reading really small texts(approximately font size 10 and below) which they start to see bit a bit blurry.

People with a job that needs attention to detail such as work in the arts or design will definitely feel the effect of the blur even if it is still in the mild level. Thus, this might be the time to wear glasses.

But on the day to day basis and if they don’t really need to use glasses, it is perfectly fine to live day by day without the aid of glasses.

Most people who start wearing positive lenses start between 1.00, 1.25 to 1.50 so below is the difference between them. However, take not that they are all still considered under mild or low hyperopia.

Difference between 1.00, 1.25 and 1.50 Reading Glasses

The difference between 1.00, 1.25 and 1.50 reading glass is the level of their magnification. People who uses 1.00 reading glass usually can’t read well texts that are approximately font size 6, 1.25 usually will have a hard time reading starting approximately font size 8 and font size 10 in 1.50.

All of the are still classified under mild hyperopia because in this level, people can still function even without the aid of glasses.

Also take note that the size of the text is approximate and the distance where people can’t read the text is about 12 inches or a feet.

This means that people who needs +1.50 reading glasses will have a hard time reading font size of about 10 if they are reading 12 feet away from the text.

Also take note that the font sizes are just an approximation and will still depend on the font style being used. The examples here are using the font widely used which is Times New Roman.

Moderate Hyperopia (+2.25 to +5.00 Diopters)

At this level, people with Moderate Hyperopia will start to have the need to wear glasses. This is because most people at this range will have a hard time reading the regular font sizes which is about 11 or 12. At this stage, people might need to wear glasses on some occasions especially when reading texts.

Some people can get by with low hyperopia but once they reach this stage, it will be hard not to live with glasses. Things will be really hard to read without them and without the aid of reading glasses, their quality of life will be severely affected.

Thus, people in this hyperopia range might need to wear glasses on some special occasions unlike with mild hyperopia that doesn’t have to.

This is also the level in which people who don’t wear glasses will start to experience discomfort if they don’t wear their glasses such as headaches because of eyestrain.

The Difference Between +2.25 and +2.50 Reading Glasses

People who have +2.25 reading glass will usually have a hard time reading texts on font size 12, while on +2.50 people will start having trouble reading at font size 14. The blur happens when they read texts approximately 1 feet away.

People usually starts wearing glasses at this range because it is the time they have moderate hyperopia and without glasses, they can’t really see well and will definitely see a difference in their quality of life.

The only difference between the people who wear +2.25 and +2.50 is the severity of their myopia. In approximation it is around 12-14 font size. In which, 11-12 is the usual font size used in almost all texts.

Of course, font size is relative to the font style that is used. This is an approximation using the font size Times New Roman which is very common.

Severe Hyperopia (More than +5.25 Diopters)

People with severe hyperopia will be very dependent on their glasses. People on this stage will need to wear glasses almost all the time because at this stage, texts will be so hard to read without them. Not correcting at this stage will most likely lead to eye strains and discomfort.

Another, at this stage, people will need the help of a health professional and over the counter reading glasses will be hard to find.

This is because most over the counter reading glasses will only have prescription lenses from +1.00 to +3.00. Averaging of about +1.00-3.00 diopters.

The Common grades of Over-the-Counter Reading Glasses

The Average Eye prescription you can get from Over-The-Counter reading glasses is about +1.00 to +3.00 Diopters. It will be hard to find anything higher than that and might need an actual eye exam to have a custom made for you.

If your eye grade is still within the range, then it will be easy to find the ones you need at dollar stores or other places where they sell cheap reading or positive glasses.

Are Cheap Reading Glasses Worth it?

If you are looking for just an ordinary reading glass and is only worried in the power of the lens, cheap reading glasses are completely fine to use. The only difference that you can find between cheap reading glass and the expensive ones are the material used, design and after sales service. Other than that, the magnification strength is the same.

Expensive reading glass are a good buy if you are looking for the material used. Some cheap reading glass don’t use optical grade lens which means that there might be distortion in the lens which may cause it to not work well.

However, there is an easy way to check the quality of the reading glass. If it passed the test, then you are having a good deal with the quality of glass and price. How to Check Reading Glasses.

Another is of course, durability and availability. People with really severe hyperopia will find it hard to buy prescriptions higher than +3.00 or 3.50. At this range, it will be better to get an eye exam and get a custom.


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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