An Optician Reveals Her Best Glasses Tips

The ultimate guide to purchasing the perfect pair of glasses

Purchasing the perfect pair of glasses can be a daunting task! With so many frame choices and an overwhelming amount of lens options, where do you even begin?

Oh, and not to mention the frightening notion of an often monogamous long-term relationship with whichever glasses you decide to buy – purchase the wrong pair and you could be faced with a year of lackluster Instagram and Facebook posts that are simply not up to your standards – and nobody has time for that!

Therefore, it’s no surprise that many people tend to procrastinate – or altogether avoid – getting new glasses until absolutely necessary.

Fortunately for you, our ultimate guide to purchasing the perfect pair of glasses has you covered!

RELATED: An Optician Reveals Her Best Sunglasses Tips

Eye doctor giving an eye exam

Step 1: Start with an eye exam

Your vision through a new pair of glasses is only as precise as your prescription! Therefore, a visit to your local optometrist or ophthalmologist is your first step in this process.

During your eye exam, your eye doctor will perform a careful refraction and eye health assessment to ensure your glasses prescription fits your exact needs. Keep in mind, ordering a pair of glasses using an outdated prescription is flirting with disaster and can lead to unclear, uncomfortable vision.

Optician dispensing the perfect pair of glasses

Step 2: Talk to your optician about how you plan to use your glasses

While choosing a new frame is typically the most time-consuming element of getting new glasses, discussing your lifestyle, and how you plan to use your glasses, is just as important!

Make sure to spend a few minutes reviewing your day-to-day activities and glasses prescription with your optician.

Optician helping patient select her glasses

Step 3: Select the perfect frame

Selecting a frame is the most exciting part about purchasing a new pair of glasses!

The frame you wear can say a lot about who you are and is an opportunity to express your personal style. However, careful consideration of your prescription and visual needs is equally important.

If you have a “stronger” prescription, you should consider getting a smaller frame size to reduce the thickness of your lens. On the other hand, progressives, bifocals, and trifocals need to be at least a minimum frame size to allow for your full prescription to take effect.

Also, don’t forget, it’s very important to consider your lifestyle when selecting a frame.

  • Are you an active, on the go person? If so, you may need a more resilient, flexible frame.
  • Are you buying reading glasses that you’ll be taking on and off a lot? If so, you should consider flexible frame hinges.
  • Is your face sensitive to weight or pressure? If so, you might want a lightweight frame.

While there are guidelines for the best pairing of frame and face shape, there are no steadfast rules.

For example:

  • Round faces are best complemented by a square shaped frames.
  • Oblong or oval faces are best suited by more rectangular shaped frames.
  • Angular or square faces are best fit in something with softer edges, such as round, oval or cat-eye shaped frames.

Keep in mind, various frame colors can also highlight and brighten your skin tone and eye color. Once you’ve narrowed down your frame options, go with your gut and select the frame that offers you the most comfort and best fit!

Step 4: Select the ideal lenses

After selecting a frame, your optician will help you determine which lens options are best for you.

First, you must choose from one of the following lens designs:

Here is an example of single vision lenses

  • Single vision lenses: These lenses are designed to help you see at a single distance and are commonly used for distance or reading activities.
  • Enhanced single vision lenses (aka anti-fatigue lenses): These lenses are designed for single vision wearers in their late teens to mid-40s. They have a small amount of focusing relief and are great if you have digital eye strain.

This is what lined bifocals look like

  • Bifocal lenses: These lenses offer clear vision at two different distances (typically in the distance and up close) and are divided by one visible line.
  • Trifocal lenses: These lenses offer clear vision at three different distances (in the distance, up close and in between) and are divided by two visible lines.

This is what progressives look like

  • Progressive lenses: These lenses have a progression of power from the top to the bottom of the lens. Since they offer clear, comfortable vision at any distance, progressive lenses are an excellent option if you have presbyopia.
  • Computer progressives: These lenses have layouts that offer optimal comfort and clear vision for a specific task or work environment, such as sitting at your desk in front of a computer all day.

Next, select one of the following lens materials:

The lens material you select will impact the clarity, thickness, and weight of your glasses. Also, depending on your prescription, choosing the right lens material will impact the overall appearance of your glasses. Choosing the wrong lens material can cause your glasses to be too thick or even lead to uncomfortable vision.

  • Glass: While it provides good clarity and is scratch proof, glass lenses are very heavy and breakable! Outside of a few old-timers stuck in their ways, this lens option is virtually extinct.
  • Basic plastic (CR-39): A very cheap lens that tints well. However, thick, heavy, scratches easily and is honestly not your best option.
  • Polycarbonate: A very light, impact resistant and economical lens. In addition, the safety polycarbonate provides makes it a no-brainer for children. Just don’t skip the scratch resistant coating as this lens scratches easily!
  • Trivex: A step up from poly, this lens is extremely light, impact resistant and scratch resistance. Just like polycarbonate, trivex is incredibly safe and great for children.
  • High index lens materials: Results in thinner, lighter lenses and is great if you have a high prescription.

Lastly, you should consider all of the following lens additions:

Here's an example of glasses with and without anti-reflective coatings

  • Anti-reflective (non-glare) coatings: Designed to provide you with crystal clear vision while reducing glare and reflections off your glasses. Also, to be perfectly honest, glasses with anti-reflective coatings look significantly better than those without.
  • Anti-fog lenses: Prevent fogging and are particularly great for glasses wearers that, wouldn’t you know it, battle lenses that constantly fog up.
  • Blue light blocking lenses: Protect your eyes by selectively blocking harmful blue light from overhead lights and digital devices.

Here is an example of glasses with active and inactive Transitions lenses

  • Photochromic lenses (we recommend Transitions lenses): Adaptive lenses that darken seamlessly when exposed to UV light. They also help protect against harmful blue light both indoors and out. The following page shows the options available in the Transitions family of products:
    • Transitions Signature VII lenses: Transitions Signature lenses provide a superior visual experience by being more reactive to varying outdoor light conditions. They begin to darken instantly as soon as you step outdoors and quickly become fully clear indoors.
    • Transitions XTRActive lenses: Transitions XTRActive lenses offer extra protection from light indoors, outdoors, and even in the car.
    • Transitions Vantage lenses: Thanks to breakthrough technology, Transitions Vantage lenses don’t just adapt to changing light, they also polarize as they darken.

Transitions Optical, Inc. is a sponsor of IntroWellness.com

Step 5: Get precise glasses measurements

Since your glasses are custom made, it is important that your optician takes accurate measurements to ensure your lenses are made properly. First, your optician will take a pupil distance (PD) measurement. This side to side measurement ensures the (optical) center of your lenses are aligned directly in front of your eye.

Here is an optician taking a child's pupillary distance

On the other hand, bifocal, trifocal and progressive lenses require your optician takes an up and down measurement known as a segment height (or seg height). This measurement determines where the computer and reading areas in your glasses will begin.

Here is an optician taking an adult's pupillary distance

Keep in mind, accurate measurements are as just as important to your glasses as your prescription. Without precise measurements, you could end up with unclear, uncomfortable vision.

Step 6: Make any final fitting adjustments

Now that you’ve completed your frame and lens selection, it’s time for your final fitting. Much like a custom suit or dress, a few minor adjustments are typically necessary to ensure your glasses fit you perfectly.

For starters, your frame should be sitting straight and even on your face. Also, your temples should feel secure and comfortable behind your ears. If your frame has nose pads, they should be adjusted to perfectly match the curve of your nose.

Progressive lenses typically arrive with markings designed to ensure precise alignment. If anything feels off, your optician can help mitigate adaptation issues by making minor adjustments to your frame.

All things considered, it’s best to visit your optician a few times a year to make the necessary adjustments in order for you to have clear, comfortable vision all day long!

That’s it! Ready to purchase the perfect pair of glasses?

Now that you’ve read our ultimate guide to purchasing the perfect pair of glasses, you’re fully prepared for your next eyewear adventure! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Good luck and enjoy! 🙂

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