Can Cheap Glasses Affect Health?

Buying cheap “off the peg” ready-made reading glasses may damage your eyesight according to research carried out by ‘Which’ consumer magazine which reveals that the majority of self-prescribed glasses affect health.

Independent research

In their research, ‘Which’ checked 18 pairs of glasses from high street stores and they found problems with almost half of them. The lead researcher found that those carrying a higher prescription – +3.50 to +4.00 – were considered to be of the greatest concern. They also found that the off-the-peg glasses cause headaches, eye strains, blurred vision and double vision – all the problems that spectacles are meant to solve.



‘Which’ has also warned that these cheap glasses are not suitable for people with higher prescriptions because they are not suitable for walking and other mobile activities because they ‘could cause a nasty accident’. The big problem here is that the centre point of the lenses may not be aligned and the lenses are made to the same power as each other, whereas each of your eyes typically requires a different power.

Therefore one eye might be clear while the other is blurred. ‘Which’ found this in a pair from Poundland which had a prescription strength that differed from the +3.5 on the packet.

Unfortunately, millions have turned to cheap glasses because of the perceived high cost of glasses from opticians.


Eye strain

Buying cheap “off the peg” glasses may save you money in the short term, however, that can come at a great expense later. These so-called ready readers sell for as little as £1 in high street shops and some of the common problems they are associated with include headaches and eye strain.


Too basic

Also, cheap reading glasses are mass produced and are designed only to magnify images in front of you, like a book. They correct only for the most basic of prescriptions and do not correct for astigmatism or correctly align the centre of the lenses to the centre of your pupils.

Glasses manufactured by an Opticians will be made specifically for you, will have your full optical prescription, correct alignment and will be made using optical grade materials.

Advice from opticians is that you should have an eye examination before buying any spectacles (“Off the peg” or otherwise) as the eye test can detect any problems with your eyes like cataracts or brain tumours as well as determine your full prescription.

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