Wearing reading glasses behind the wheel is a common practice for many drivers who need visual assistance to see things up close clearly. But is it safe and legal to drive while wearing reading glasses? This comprehensive guide provides insights into the considerations around wearing reading glasses when operating a motor vehicle.
Can You Wear Reading Glasses While Driving?
Topics Covered In This Article
- 1 Can You Wear Reading Glasses While Driving?
- 2 Key Factors to Consider
- 3 Prescription vs. Over-the-Counter Readers
- 4 Reading Glasses Strength Recommendations
- 5 Avoid Bifocals, Trifocals, and Progressives
- 6 State Laws on Driving with Reading Glasses
- 7 Tips for Driving at Night with Reading Glasses
- 8 Recommendations for Driving with Reading Glasses
- 9 FAQs About Driving with Reading Glasses
- 10 The Bottom Line
The quick answer is: Yes, in most cases, you can legally and safely wear reading glasses while driving if they allow you to see clearly both up close and at a distance.
But not recommended because , certain factors like the strength of the reading prescription, type of reading glasses, and your visual comfort level can impact safety and should be taken into account.
Key Factors to Consider
Here are the key factors to consider when determining if reading glasses are appropriate for driving:
Your Visual Acuity
Your ability to see clearly both up close and at a distance with reading glasses on is crucial. Reading glasses should not impair your distance vision. If your distance vision is blurry with them on, do not drive with that pair.
Strength of Reading Prescription
The magnification power of reading glasses is measured in diopters. Stronger prescriptions over +3.00 can potentially cause distance blur while driving. Milder readers from +1.00 to +2.25 are generally safer options.
Type of Reading Glasses
Basic single vision reading glasses are the best option. Bifocals, trifocals, and progressives with multiple prescriptions can distort distance vision too much for driving.
Some states restrict wearing multifocal glasses like bifocals when driving. Make sure reading glasses are permitted by your state’s DMV laws.
Your Comfort Level
Never drive with any eyewear that decreases visual clarity or feels uncomfortable. Only use readers you feel safe driving with.
Prescription vs. Over-the-Counter Readers
There are two main types of reading glasses:
Prescription Reading Glasses
These are customized by an optometrist specifically for your vision needs. They only correct near/reading vision.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Readers
These are non-prescription magnifying glasses bought at pharmacies and retail stores. They simply make text bigger.
Prescription readers tailored to your eyesight are ideal if you have refractive errors like nearsightedness or astigmatism. OTC readers just magnify text without correcting vision problems, but can be safely worn for driving by people with no need for corrective lenses.
Reading Glasses Strength Recommendations
Here are some general guidelines on reading glasses powers for driving:
- +1.00 to +2.00 – Lower strength safe for driving
- +2.25 to +2.75 – Mid-range strength, use caution
- +3.00 or higher – Increased risk of distance blur
Higher powered reading glasses are more likely to reduce visual clarity at farther distances. Even with 20/20 vision, stronger readers can potentially cause distance blur while driving. Have your eye doctor evaluate your glasses for driving vision safety.
Avoid Bifocals, Trifocals, and Progressives
These types of lenses have separate prescriptions for distance and near vision:
- Bifocals – Visible line separates two prescriptions
- Trifocals – Three lens sections including intermediate
- Progressives – Gradual transition from distance to reading
The reading portions can significantly reduce distance clarity and sharpness. Most states prohibit bifocals when driving due to increased safety risks. Progressives and trifocals also not recommended.
State Laws on Driving with Reading Glasses
Most states permit simple single vision reading glasses for driving. But some have restrictions:
- Alabama – Bans bifocals/trifocals
- Georgia – Prohibits bifocals
- Hawaii – Requires corrective lenses, but no bifocals
- Illinois – Restricts driving if needing glasses for distance vision
- Texas – No bifocals/trifocals, corrective lenses must be worn
Check your local DMV laws on permissible eyewear for operating motor vehicles before driving with certain reading glasses.
Tips for Driving at Night with Reading Glasses
Take these precautions when driving at night with reading glasses:
- Avoid stronger prescriptions over +2.50 diopters – increased blur risk
- Reduce speed and increase following distance
- Use caution with bifocals, trifocals, progressives – peripheral distortion possible
- Get anti-reflective lens coating to reduce glare
- Clean lenses frequently to optimize vision and minimize glare
- Consider single vision lenses if impairment from multifocals
Discuss options with your eye doctor to optimize eyewear for safe and comfortable night driving based on your needs.
Recommendations for Driving with Reading Glasses
Follow these tips for safely using reading glasses when driving:
- Get a comprehensive eye exam every 2 years over age 60
- Have your optometrist assess glasses for clear near and far vision
- Use lower strength OTC readers under +2.00
- Only use basic single vision reading lenses
- Test night vision with glasses on for sharp sight
- Bring distance glasses too and swap if needed
- Adjust seat, mirrors, and glasses for optimal view
- Clean lenses regularly and keep wipes in car
- Never wear glasses that reduce vision, comfort or cause headaches
- Review DMV vision requirements for drivers
Following these recommendations will help ensure reading glasses don’t pose increased safety issues when driving. Always go with the eyewear that provides the clearest, most comfortable vision.
FAQs About Driving with Reading Glasses
Can I drive with just one reading contact lens?
No. Wearing just one reading contact lens can hinder depth perception. Always use prescribed optical correction for both eyes when driving.
What reading glass strength can I safely drive with?
Glasses up to +2.00 are generally safe if distance vision remains clear. Avoid stronger prescriptions over +3.00 due to increased far vision blur.
Should I remove reading glasses to drive?
Yes, remove them if your reading glasses make distance vision noticeably blurry or uncomfortable. Use whatever eyewear gives the clearest vision.
Can reading glasses cause headaches while driving?
Yes, strongly powered or improperly fitted glasses can lead to eye strain, discomfort, and headaches while driving. Make sure your readers are specifically prescribed and fitted for you.
Are prescription readers safer for driving than over-the-counter?
Prescription reading glasses customized by an optometrist may provide sharper vision at varying distances compared to generic OTC readers when driving.
The Bottom Line
You can drive with properly prescribed basic reading glasses in most cases if they don’t substantially impair your distance vision. Avoid bifocals and strong prescriptions over +3.00 diopters. Get regular eye exams and talk to your optometrist about the optimal eyewear for safely driving with clear vision both up close and far away based on your specific needs. Only use reading glasses while driving if you can see clearly at all distances and feel completely comfortable behind the wheel. Your vision health and safety should be your top priority.
David Doyle is a respected authority in the sphere of gaming and reading glasses. He is renowned for his comprehensive reviews that not only evaluate the products but also provide valuable information to consumers.
Doyle’s deep knowledge of lens technology, frame design, and ergonomics, combined with his gaming experience, has enabled him to provide informative and reliable insights to a wide array of readers.
Through his writings, Doyle has helped countless readers to choose glasses that enhance their gaming and reading experiences while ensuring maximum comfort and eye health.