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Distance Glasses: What They Are and Why You Need Them

If you’ve found yourself squinting to see the road ahead while driving or moved closer to the television to watch your favorite show, you may need to consider distance glasses.

Difficulty with distance vision is a common problem. If you don’t do anything about it, at best you’re likely to suffer from eyestrain and headaches, and at worst, you may end up dealing with something more serious, like a car accident. Luckily, things don’t need to get to that point because nearsightedness is easily corrected with the right distance prescription lenses.

Let’s investigate why seeing long distances may be difficult and how this is different from other vision problems. Then we’ll review what you can do about it and how to go about buying your new distance glasses.

When You Might Need Distance Eyeglasses

Distance glasses: woman looking far ahead

When you go to your optometrist for an eye test, they’ll check how well your eyes focus at different distances. Then they’ll give you a prescription that indicates the refractive error you have and what kind of prescription glasses you need.

  • If the first block of your prescription (the spherical number) shows a plus sign, you have hyperopia (or farsightedness). Your eyeball is probably slightly shorter than average, so when light enters your eye, it focuses behind the retina, rather than directly on it. This means you’ll struggle to see objects that are up close — for example, if you’re trying to read a book, messages on your phone, or the ingredients list on a product at the grocery store.

    If you have hyperopia, you probably need single-vision lenses that help you see objects that are close to you. Over-the-counter reading glasses might help, but these are very generic and not designed to be used all the time. Most likely you’ll need prescription glasses that accurately correct for your specific refractive error. 

  • If the first block of your prescription shows a number with a negative sign, you have myopia (also known as nearsightedness or short-sightedness). Your eyeball may be a bit long, so light focuses in front of the retina. This means you can’t focus on objects that are far away. You’ll notice things may look blurry when you’re watching TV, driving, or keeping an eye on your child on the playground or sports field.

    If you have myopia, you’ll need distance glasses or contact lenses. These are also single-vision glasses but you can only get them with a prescription from your eye doctor.

There are also a couple of other possibilities:

  • Presbyopia is a variation of farsightedness that often occurs as we get older. Our eyes lose some of their ability to focus on objects at close range, essentially making us more farsighted. Reading distance then becomes a problem, much like hyperopia. If it’s simply a matter of presbyopia (rather than anything more complicated), over-the-counter reading glasses may be enough to solve this.

  • Astigmatism is the result of a slightly misshapen cornea or lens, which means that light gets scattered rather than focusing on one point on the retina. If you have astigmatism, you need prescription glasses that correct for it. Your prescription will show a cylinder number, which indicates the degree of astigmatism, and an axis number, which shows exactly where the astigmatism is located.

All of these issues need some kind of vision correction, and if you have more than one, you may need some version of varifocals — which could be bifocals, trifocals, or progressive lenses. 

Can You Use Your Distance Glasses as Reading Glasses?

This is a question many people ask. Now that you know more about the different kinds of refractive errors, you’ll probably be able to guess that the answer here is no. Distance glasses and reading glasses provide opposite types of visual correction.

If you’re struggling to see both up close and far away, as we’ve mentioned above, you probably need multifocals.

How to Get Distance Glasses

Woman wearing pink glasses

Your first step to getting your new glasses is to visit your optometrist for an eye exam. In fact, even if you don’t think you need distance glasses, you should have your vision tested regularly, especially as you get older. That’s just good basic eye care.

Once you have the prescription for your distance glasses, you can start to shop around for a new pair of glasses.

You could visit your local optician to see the range of distance glasses they offer, but an even better place to start is online with Pair Eyewear. Pair offers a wide range of style options to suit both your personality and your budget. Best of all, our eyeglasses are designed to make it easy to switch up your look from day to day.

Let’s look at the process of ordering Pair Eyewear:

1. Start by choosing a Base Frame that suits your face. Our Virtual Try-On feature allows you to view a live image of yourself and try on various styles.

2. Once you’ve found the perfect pair for you, you can move on to selecting as many Top Frames as you like. Choose from our regular collections or our limited-edition ranges, which change from season to season.

3. You’ll then be asked to choose your lens type, whether that’s non-prescription, single-vision, readers, or progressive lenses. If you’re ordering straightforward distance glasses, you’ll most likely be choosing single-vision.

If you have a more complex prescription, you may need multifocal lenses instead of pure distance glasses. In which case, try our progressive lenses.

This new version of the old-school multifocals offers wearers much smoother transitions between the different fields of vision. They also look a lot less clunky and old-fashioned. In fact, they can pass for single-vision glasses, which means you can maintain your style — or even enhance it — while wearing your Pair Eyewear glasses.

4. Once you’ve got your lens type squared away, you can select any additional options. For example:

  • Premium plus lenses: Usually high-index lenses tend to be a little heavier but these are ultra-thin and therefore lightweight. They’re especially recommended if your prescription is very strong.

  • Blue-light filters: These are important if you’re planning to use your new pair of glasses as computer glasses or to watch TV or any other devices. Screens emit harmful blue light that can cause eyestrain and interfere with your sleep patterns. Blue light-filtering eyeglass lenses are designed to protect your eyes and your sleep.

  • Light responsive: If you like your glasses to work for you both indoors and out, you may want to try light-responsive lenses. As you move outside, these photochromic lenses change to a darker tint to act more like sunglasses.

Note: If you want sunglasses, you have two options. You can either pick a pair of Sun Tops to snap onto your regular glasses when you’re outside, or you can go with the more permanent option of sunglasses. If you choose the latter, you’ll need to start by selecting a Base Frame from our Sunglasses page

All our sunglasses and Sun Tops block 100% of UVA and UVB rays and are polarized to help protect your eyes. They’re also scratch-resistant, which is handy if you’re very active — or simply a little heavy-handed with your glasses.

5. Then you’ll be asked to upload your prescription or request us to contact your eye doctor for this. You can also choose to do this later if you prefer.

If you’re ordering progressive lenses, your prescription needs to include your pupillary distance. This is the distance between the center of your pupils. It’s important to get this accurate or the different sections of your progressive prescription may not end up in the right place on the lenses.

6. At this point, you can also add a cleaning kit, glasses case, or wall-hanger to your basket.

7. Once you’ve made your selection there, you’ll check out. Before you know it, your order will arrive in the mail and you’ll be able to show off your new eyewear.

If you have any questions about our products or the process involved in getting your new distance glasses, feel free to consult our FAQ page or contact us directly. 

Distance Glasses Help You See the World Clearly

Glasses on a green background

Poor distance vision is a common problem that can affect your ability to carry out simple daily tasks like driving or watching television. If you’re struggling to see at a distance, get your eyes tested to find out the prescription you need.

Then start looking for the perfect distance glasses for you. Our versatile range from Pair Eyewear offers such a wide selection that you’ll be hard-pressed to choose just one — and luckily you don’t have to, thanks to customization with Top Frames. Pick out a pair today and bring your world back into focus.