Customer Question Friday: What is the Difference Between Your Reading Glasses and the Ones in the Drug Store?

Three pair of high quality reading glassesPeople often ask us why they should buy our reading glasses when they can buy them elsewhere for $5 or $10.  Well, here we outline the differences between our optical quality reading glasses and lower end product.


First we will look at the differences in the frames, then the hinges, and finally we will look at lenses. 



The biggest difference between optical quality reading glasses, what we sell, and lower end product is the material that the frames are made with.   


With plastic frames, high quality reading glasses will be made with acetate plastic, while lower end product will generally be made from injected molded plastic.  The advantages of the acetate frames are: durability as the plastic itself is much stronger than injection resin, a rich looking polished finish, and much more vibrant colour. 


One other point to consider when discussing plastic frames is that higher quality frames will have a metal rod on the inside of the temple (arm) running from the hinge to the end.  This adds durability and makes the temple adjustable. 


With metal frames, high quality metal reading glasses are generally made with stainless steel, compared to lower end reading glasses that are usually made with a mix of metals including nickel.  The advantage of frames made with stainless steel is that they are more durable while being lighter weight.



The hinges of reading glasses need to be durable.  Think of how many times a day you take your reading glasses on and off.  This repeated use is hard on the hinges, which means a higher quality hinge will extend the life of your reading glasses.


Generally speaking, high quality reading glasses will have stainless steel hinges, compared to hinges made with softer metals in lower quality reading glasses.


While spring hinges will help your reading glasses last longer, keep in mind they too need to be made with quality metal.  We have seen a lot of low end reading glasses with spring hinges, but the metal is so soft the hinges do not last and are completely ineffective.


Plastic hinge on reading glassesReading glasses that have any plastic on the hinges, as shown in the picture, should immediately be seen as low quality.  Plastic hinges certainly are not made to last.  Screws can't even be replaced if they fall out and it is obvious that plastic construction simply can't take the wear and tear that a hinge needs to endure.





There are two important points to consider when comparing the lenses between premium and lower end product.


First is the quality of the lens itself.  High quality reading glasses will use optical quality lenses from a reputable manufacturer.  They will be made of either CR39 or polycarbonate plastic.  These will be distortion free and the diopter (lens strength) will be accurate.


Second is the placement of the lenses within the frame, based on the frame size.  Placement of the lenses should be set with consideration given to the estimated PD (distance between the wearer’s pupils in millimetres).  Narrower frames should have a smaller PD estimate the wider frames.   Generally, lower end product has PD estimates that are all over the map.



Based on the comparisons outlined above, premium reading glasses offer you an optical quality option when compared to lower end product.  High quality reading glasses will give you increased durability with frames and hinges made of quality materials, and superior optics with quality lenses placed into the frames accurately.  In addition, the lenses can be changed in the higher quality frames over time.


Premium reading glasses, with price points between $40 and $70 are actually great value when compared to designer frames and lenses priced in the hundreds of dollars.  Keep in mind, many of the frames for the reading glasses that we sell are being made in the same factories, with the same materials, as many of the high priced designer frames.


To view our optical quality reading glasses click the links below:


Womens Reading Glasses

Mens Reading Glasses

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