Most of us out there have to wear glasses, contacts or both at one point in our life. I have worked in the private (meaning not a Walmart, Sam’s Club or Lenscrafters, but for two private doctors who work for themselves) optical industry for about nine years. Do you need an eye exam? How can I pick out glasses that I will love? Facts & myths about contacts. Get these answers and more this week.
******I am not a doctor. These are all my opinions and if you have true eye issues, call your doctor. They can help you get your eyes seeing 20/20. Or if you are having an eye emergency please call your eye doctor or head to an urgent care facility.******
- Bring a friend or family member. Someone who will be honest with you. With so many choices it is hard to know if something looks good and hideous. I would never let someone walk out of my optical shop with glasses that looked horrendous, but it is sometimes easier to trust someone you know rather than the opticians helping our pick out your glasses.
- Decide if you want something similar or different than your previous glasses. This will help narrow down the types of glasses you are looking for.
- Try on a couple pairs that you normally wouldn’t try. Sometimes you find a pair you like even though you wouldn’t have tried them off originally.
- When you try on frames put anything you like in a pile. Don’t put them back on the shelf. This makes them easy to lose.
- After you have a pile try them all on again. Eliminating any that you don’t like anymore.
- Remember, most frames come in multiple colors and sizes. If you like a shape of frame, but not the color, have the optician look up the other colors.
- When picking out a shape, try to go with a frame shaped opposite of your face shape. Example: If you have a round frame go with a more square or oval shaped frame.
- In the end when you pick out the frame you will put your lenses in, make sure it is something you like. Ultimately, you will be wearing these glasses. So even if your friend doesn’t like them but you are in love, make sure you do. But also listen to the optician about sizing. They will make sure your frames will fit well.
- Sizing: Make sure that the sides (temples) are not squeezing the sides of your head. Second, make sure the temples aren’t too long or too short behind your ears. They should fit comfortably around the curve of your ear. if they are too long you will feel them going way past your ear. Some glasses can be adjusted to fit better, but it is always a good idea to make sure glasses fit well when you try them on.
- Neutral colors aren’t just blacks and browns. Many olive greens, navy blues and even burgundy colors look very neutral against your skin and hair color.
Types of frames:
- Full framed metal: This is one of the strongest types of frames. If you want a super strong frame, go with titanium. It is the strongest type of glasses. Second, is Stainless Steel. The frame lining the whole lens gives strength to the frame which will hold it in place better.
- Full framed plastic: These types are strong and provide an edgy chunky look. I find that these are more comfortable on the nose due to the lack of nosepieces, but keep in mind they need to fit your nose perfectly, otherwise they will not be comfy and slide all over the place.
- Grooved rimless frames: These frames have metal or plastic framing the top of the lenses and are held in with a small clear wire that looks like fishing line. These types of frames are more fragile than the previous two because of the exposed edge. They can chip on the exposed lens and get out of adjustment more easily. If you are pretty careful with glasses these should work fine.
- Totally rimless frames: Those glasses that look like you aren’t wearing glasses. They look great for that, but are VERY fragile. Most have the temples and nosepieces drilled directly into the lenses, so if you bend them too much then the lenses can crack. They are also harder to keep and get into adjustment due to the lack of frame and structure around the lenses.
Types of Lenses
There are a bunch of types of lenses within each category but let’s start with the main materials.
- Plastic Lenses: these lenses are lightweight and very common. They can scratch more easily so be sure to order a scratch protectant coating. When cleaning be sure to wet and use a clean soft cloth to wipe. Never use tissues or paper towels because the wood fibers will cause scratching of the lenses.
- Polycarbonate: A bit lighter and more impact resistant option than plastic. Often used for children. Same cleaning instructions as plastic.
- Mid and Hi Index: If you prescription is high you might want to consider a compacted thinner material such as Mid and Hi Index. A Mid index will make lenses a little lighter and thinner where a Hi Index will reduce the weight and thickness by up to 40 percent. Clean the same as you would plastic lenses.
- Glass: Most people no longer have glass lenses. They are quite heavy and can shatter if dropped. The upside is that they are easier to clean. They can be cleaned using a shirt tail, tissue or anything you can get your hands on.
Lens Focal Types
- Single Vision: Lenses that are used only for distance or up close but not both at the same time.
- Lined Bifocals and Trifocals: The good old bifocals and trifocals where a line is visible. The advantage here is being able to find the right area to look through quite easily and it is very precise.
- No-Lined Bifocals or Progressives: See up close, computer distance and far away all without the lines. These lenses are more expensive, but have no lines so no one will know you are wearing a bifocal. They do take a bit more of an adjustment to find the right places to look through. There is also some distortion in the peripheral vision. Most people can get used to it, but some don’t want to bother with it. Be sure to give it a good two week trial run before giving up.
A few last words:
You get what you pay for. Be sure to check for warranties and use them! Remember that if you are getting a great great deal then the glasses might not be top notch, especially if they come from a big box store or an online store.
Fit maybe more important than price. Sometimes some glasses will feel great right when you put them on. If you like how they look hang on to them. Even though glasses can be adjusted there is really only so much an optician can do. Have them work on the frames while you are at the office to make sure they fit better before ordering. This is also important to remember when ordering online. No matter what gadgets there are to see how a frame will look on your face, it is so much easier to see and feel it in real life to make sure it fits properly and the shape is how you like it!
Check back on Monday for the low down on contact lenses!