By Michael Hutton 

Need reading glasses ? Increasingly they are being sourced online by cost-conscious consumers who find the prices being charged by high street retailers are too high for their stretched budgets in today's tough economic environment. But a new Which? investigation where undercover researchers bought 36 pairs of glasses from 13 different online retailers found that 15 pairs failed basic tests including 10 that did not come up to the British standard for the industry. Getting reading glasses which are inappropriate for an individual's prescription gives rise to the risk of headaches and eye strain plus the possibility of exacerbating the eyesight problem which prompted the purchase in the first place.

Millions of people are now buying their glasses online but the Which? investigation has highlighted how the search for cost savings may have an unintended adverse outcome. Half of the remaining 21 pairs which passed the basic evaluation were rated as ‘borderline' by the panel of experts and of the failed glasses, four pairs were described as ‘woeful' whilst five online retailers sent the researchers glasses with varifocal lenses which were described as being ‘potentially dangerous'. However, as an alternative for those who need reading glasses , there is now a new treatment which can address both short-sightedness and presbyopia which is the term for the reading difficulties people encounter when they enter their 40's.

The new treatment is called overnight orthokeratology - or ortho-k for short - and entails wearing small custom-designed contact lenses only at night while sleeping. These special lenses gently flatten the surface of the eye using the mild pressure of closed lids to ensure that light focuses directly on the retina and enables distant objects to be seen clearly. Once the lenses are removed in the morning, the wearer enjoys perfect natural vision all day long until the lenses are reinserted at night since the correction effect lasts for over 24 hours. Additionally, this microscopic flattening of the centre of the eye creates a similarly microscopically raised area on the periphery of the eye which means objects nearby can also be seen clearly. Hence, this treatment means that people who previously felt they need reading glasses  now find they are not necessary.

Check if you are suitable for overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses  for reading problems.

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