Can You Wear Reading Glasses With Contact lenses? 

Wearing contact lenses and reading glasses sounds weird. However, it’s not unusual. It is common among older adults with presbyopia, as it is a natural part of aging.

When this happens, the crystalline lens inside your eye becomes less flexible, causing you to lose your ability to focus on close objects. When you develop presbyopia, you have difficulties performing close-up activities.

You are eligible for both wears if the above description is you. In this article, we’ll look at wearing reading glasses and contact lenses, why you can combine them, and tips for comfort.

Wearing Contact Lenses and Reading Glasses

Presbyopia is an age-related condition with blurry vision as one of its symptoms. As a young person, your eye lens is flexible and can easily change shape, but as you grow, it becomes rigid. The rigidity becomes an obstacle to close vision.

To emphasize the seriousness of the condition, while you may already wear contact lenses to correct your distance vision, you may still need to wear reading glasses for tasks like reading books or working on close-up activities.

Can You Combine Contact Lenses and Reading Glasses?

Yes, you can combine your contact lenses with your reading glasses. Despite concerns from several people, there is no scientific evidence of eye damage or harm from wearing both. The combination allows you to enjoy distance vision with your contacts and improved near vision with your reading glasses.

Why Consider Wearing Both?

The main reason for considering wearing contact lenses and reading glasses is because it address the issues outlined by Presbyopia. While your contact lens can correct distance vision, it can’t do so for near vision. When you wear both glasses and contacts, it gives you the necessary correction for close-up tasks.

Several people have raised concerns about the combination, but options like multifocal contact lenses do exist.

Types of Contact Lenses Suitable for Use With Reading Glasses

Can You Wear Reading Glasses With Contact lenses? 

Let’s look at some of the contact lenses you can use with your reading glasses:

  1. Multifocal contact lenses:

Multifocal contact lenses allow you to see images in three dimensions- upfront, at a distance, and intermediate distances. You may never need to wear reading glasses with multifocal contacts. The prescription in multifocal lenses is all through, meaning you can use it for multiple purposes.

Your multifocal contact lenses come in two designs – simultaneous image designs and alternating image designs.

The simultaneous image design in multifocal contact lenses allows for clear distance and near vision. It allows your brain to view multiple images at multiple distances and then concentrate on one while filtering the others. The brain is left to determine the main image before any filtering.

In alternating image designs also called translating designs, there are designated areas for distance and near correction. Wearing this design, you see images at a distance when you look straight ahead, but on looking down, your lens moves to the near power area over the pupil.

One great advantage of a multifocal lens is its ability to suit any lifestyle. There are multifocal contacts for extended and overnight wear. You can also see daily disposable multifocal contact lenses.

  1. Monovision: In your monovision contacts, you have one eye corrected for distance vision and the other for near vision. Unlike multifocal contacts, you can find monovision lenses in colored lenses. A key disadvantage is that while it corrects for far and near vision, there are no plans for intermediate vision. Monovision lenses can affect your depth perception and impact driving and outdoor sports.
  2. Bifocal contact lenses: If you require both near and far vision, you can use bifocal contact lenses. They have distinct zones for such vision while offering clear vision at multiple distances. Unlike the multifocal contact lens, your bifocal contacts have a clear line that separates close-up and distance vision.

Benefits of Using Reading Glasses Over Contact Lenses

Can You Wear Reading Glasses With Contact lenses? 

Most patients prefer contacts over reading glasses, but that doesn’t mean glasses are without huge benefits. Let’s look at them:

  1. Contact lenses and reading glasses both offer vision correction. However, glasses don’t go through rigorous cleaning routines like contacts.
  2. Your glasses are a better option financially than contact lenses.
  3. While contacts can increase your risk of eye infections with improper care, glasses pose minimal risk.
  4. You don’t need special training in inserting and removing your glasses.
  5. Your glasses help you reduce eye strain common with prolonged screen time.

Benefits of Contact Lenses Over Using Reading Glasses

Can You Wear Reading Glasses With Contact lenses? 

Let’s explore the benefits of contact lenses over using reading glasses:

  1. You achieve comprehensive vision correction with contact lenses. Your near and long-distance prescriptions are catered for.
  2. Contact lenses, especially soft contact lenses, offer more convenience and comfort than glasses. The comfort stems from their ability to conform to your eye shape giving you a natural field of vision.
  3. You can easily fit your contact lenses into your daily habits and routines. Despite your lifestyle and profession, it can offer comfort and ease.
  4. You can customize your lenses at will. Customization mainly happens to address specific distance prescriptions. For instance; you can use multifocal lenses for an all-around distance correction.
  5. Wearing contacts gives you better aesthetics, as you have no noticeable presence of glasses on your face.
  6. 6. Talk about eye health, when you handle soft lenses properly, they pose minimal risk.


Potential Challenges and How to Overcome Them

There are always issues with contact lenses and reading glasses, but addressing these challenges is the key to ensuring effective vision correction. Here are the common challenges and their solutions.

  1. You may experience dry eyes with contacts. As a solution, your eye doctor can provide suitable contact lens options, or you can wear glasses periodically to ease the dryness. Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses can be helpful here too.
  2. Bifocal lenses can be one solution to difficulty with long distances and focus. Never forget to visit your eye care professional to monitor your vision changes and ensure you still have a proper lens fit.
  3. Ensure you follow all your doctor’s recommended cleaning and replacement patterns. Failure results in the build-up of deposits and debris.
  4. Switch to a different lens material or design, for vision disturbances and fluctuations. However, do this under the guidance of your Optometrist.
  5. Always discuss with your eye doctor. That is the only option for finding a balance between your glasses and contacts.

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Expert Tips for Comfort and Convenience

There are other solutions and expert tips that can help you achieve comfort.

  1. Ensure your contact lenses match your specific needs, including any distance prescription.
  2. Follow strict hygiene practices such as hand washing before handling your contact lens.
  3. Choose and prioritize comfort when choosing a contact lens material.
  4. You can consider alternatives like multifocal contact lenses or other solutions tailored to correct presbyopia and distance prescriptions.
  5. Don’t ever forget your regular eye exams with your eye care professional.


Clear vision begins when you wear contacts/glasses tailored to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia. You can use multifocal lenses to address presbyopia as they offer you correct vision for all distances. You may not necessarily need to wear both glasses and contacts when you have multifocal contact lenses.