Tinted Reading Glasses

If you have reached the point in life you need reading glasses, tinted reading glasses may offer additional comfort and better vision correction.

What are reading glasses? Reading glasses are offered in two well-known styles: the "Ben Franklin" style half-lenses that sit down on the nose, and full frames, in which the whole lens offers vision correction for reading. The Ben Franklin style lenses let you look down and through the lens for reading or close work, and then up and over them to take advantage of your normal eyesight to see in the distance.

Full reading glasses are best for people who spend a great deal of time on paperwork. If you have to look up to see something out the window or across the room while wearing full reading glasses, the image will be blurry. Generally, people who did not need vision correction before midlife will start with reading glasses rather than bifocals, trifocals, or progressive lenses. You might think of reading glasses as a technology that reached its peak about the time of Ben Franklin in the 1770's, but new developments in tinted reading glasses are making it possible to use these well-known remedies for presbyopia in new and exciting ways.

Read faster with the right tint. A research team at the Visual Perception Unit of the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex in England has discovered that people read slower through clear lenses. The exact tint of lens that accelerates reading speed differs from person to person, but everyone reads slower through clear lenses. Blue or purple tinted lenses may enable faster reading in sunlight, but not as much in office light, since overhead lighting fixtures tend to emit more light in the blue range of the visual spectrum. In the department's test of over 1,000 colors for tinted reading glasses, they also found, not surprisingly, that low light slows down reading, but the right tint can help even when lighting is otherwise inadequate.

You can, the researchers discovered, imitate the effects of tinted reading glasses by placing plastic over light fixtures, but the benefits of tinting overhead lights, as opposed to tinted reading glasses, is limited to the individual's color preferences. The tint that helps one person read faster may not be the tint that helps another person read faster.

Tints for reducing migraine. Tinted lenses are also helpful for people who have migraine. Another team of British researchers, this time at Cambridge, found that 82 per cent of people who have migraine or who have family members who have migraine (that is, they had a tendency toward having migraine headaches themselves) benefited from tinted lenses for reading.

Tints for reducing eyestrain. And in 2009 a research team at the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City found that gray tinted lenses and reading glasses with a tint called FL-41 reduced blinking, squinting, and sensitivity to changes in light far better than the traditional (and this is where the expression came from) rose colored glasses.

Tints change your vision, not your personality. What tinted lenses cannot do for you is to change your personality or your outlook on the world. Whatever we may think when we see people wearing green, yellow, purple, gray, or rose colored lenses, the effect of the lens on the wearer is strictly a matter of vision, not emotion. Psychological research confirms that self-confidence, self-assertion, extraversion, introversion, tough-mindedness, and independence may be attributed to the wearers of various color lenses, but the color of the lenses has no direct effect on the brain other than improved vision.

This means that you shouldn't wear tinted reading glasses to try to change your mood. But you can definitely improve your reading speed and increase your reading comfort by choosing the lens tint that is right for you.


Return From Tinted Reading Glasses to Reading Glasses