If you have reading glasses, you might be wondering if you can use them for multiple vision problems. Your vision is an essential sense, and buying numerous pairs of glasses can be expensive. In addition, you may be wondering can you use your reading glasses for distance?

No, reading glasses cannot be used for distance. Reading glasses allow you to see up to a few millimeters and about 18 inches away from you. If you try to look even farther away, objects will appear blurry and unfocused. This is because both lenses are shaped differently, and an eye focuses differently in both pairs. In addition, wearing the wrong glasses for your seeing needs can make your eyes tired and difficult to see.

There are many differences between reading glasses and distance glasses. Read on to learn how each kind of glasses is helpful for you to see.

Differences Between Reading Glasses and Distance Glasses

The purpose of glasses is to help avoid eye strain and allow you to see clearly. Reading glasses are created for the sole purpose of being able to read. Distance glasses are more versatile, allowing you to see objects from a distance clearer. Your optometrist will help you decide what is best for you.

Amount Of Wearing Time

Distance glasses are worn for a different amount of time compared to reading glasses. Distance glasses are typically worn all the time. Most of the time, you will need to see both up close and at a distance. These can be helpful for driving and other tasks.

Reading glasses should only be worn for a short period. They should only be used for reading text and then taken off. They are built for people later in life that is losing their nearsighted vision. This is a natural process that happens for most people in their lives.

When you get older you may notice you are wearing your reading glasses for a more extended time. Your eye lens is slowly hardening, making it difficult to see close and far away. This means you may need a new prescription and see an eye doctor. 

Eyeglass Lenses Shaped Differently

The lenses are shaped differently for both of these glasses. They are built to be differently shaped to magnify your vision and help you to see easily. Depending on your needs, your lenses will be shaped to what is best for you.

Distance lenses are curved inward, whereas reading glasses are curved outward. If you wear the wrong type of glasses, the lousy portion of your sight will be magnified and may be blurry. If you notice that certain parts are blurry, that is not usually; there is a good chance you are wearing the wrong glasses.

Seeing Different Distances

One of the most apparent differences between reading and distance glasses is seeing at different distances.  Reading glasses allow you to see things up close. However, reading glasses will enable you to see up to about 18 inches from you. This can make it difficult for you to see things such as a computer screen.

Distance glasses are for further distances because it allows you to see beyond those preliminary eighteen inches. For example, you will see things on a computer screen and road signs more easily with distance lenses than the reading glasses lens.

Options To Help You See At All Distances

There are ways you can see at all distances without resorting to using one pair of glasses. These options include Lasik eye surgery and wearing single-lens glasses. These options allow you to see distance and read clearly. These options are:

  • Lasik Eye Surgery
  • Multiple pairs of single-lens glasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Reading glasses
  • Computer glasses

Each of these options can help you to see at your best. Most of these options are having multiple pairs of glasses or utilizing a bifocal or trifocal lens. Using the right pair of glasses for your needs is essential, and you can use them to see distance and up close. Lasik eye surgery will be your more expensive option, but it requires the slightest bit of effort every day.


Reading glasses will not help you to see at a distance. The differences between the two types of glasses enable you to see better for their specific purposes. There are options out there that will help you see at both distances; it just depends on your individual needs. If you need to know what is best for you, see your optometrist!