If you just found out that you may need glasses, you may be wondering what you should be looking for to ensure you find the right pair for your vision needs; besides the prescription lenses themselves, it’s worth also considering the type of lenses and frames you want. But how do you choose?
A few factors to consider when buying eyeglasses can be broken down into four general areas:
- Current eye health
- Face shape
Thinking about each of these factors will help you find glasses suitable for your vision’s needs while matching your lifestyle and making you look great.
Modern advancements in optometry and ophthalmology have given consumers a plethora of options when it comes to choosing glasses, from the average “This will get the job done” pair of glasses to the “I don’t know what I did before these” glasses. In the remainder of this article, we’ll offer tips for how you can pick out the perfect pair to keep you and your eyes happy.
What Should I Look for When Buying Glasses?
As mentioned above, you’ll want to consider your current eye health, lifestyle, and face shape/skin tone as you start your search for a new pair of eyeglasses. What you should look for in your glasses will depend on where you fall in these areas.
Considering Your Current Eye Health
Of course, before you start looking for glasses, you’ll need the help of a great eye doctor (optometrist), especially if this is your first time needing glasses. Most eyeglasses retailers require you to submit an updated prescription from your eye doctor to place an order, so it’s definitely worth paying them a visit.
An optometrist will also inform you of any unique eye conditions you have that will affect your prescription or require you to have unique features added to your lenses.
Certain eye conditions require different lenses to correct. These lenses could range in size, width, or thickness depending on the condition; therefore, the range of available frames for you to choose from will also vary.
For example, rimless glasses usually work well for thicker lenses because the lenses won’t need to be forced to fit within a specific shape or thin rim; the same can be said for thicker frames.
Types of Lenses to Choose From
The type of prescription you receive from the optometrist may affect the type of lenses you need. There are essentially three types of lenses:
Single Vision Lens
These are the most common type of lenses. They consist of a single prescription that is consistent throughout the entire lens.
The Bifocal Lens
This lens consists of a large single vision lens, along with a smaller half-moon lens, of a varying magnification or prescription set for nearsightedness.
The Progressive Lens
This is similar to the bifocal in that it has varying prescriptions or magnifications; however, the transition is seamless. Whereas the bifocal contains a distinct, separate lens manufactured into a traditional single lens, the progressive lens has no such evidence. A progressive lens’s prescription changes based on where you’re looking.
- The top of the lens provides enhanced vision at a distance.
- The center of the lens provides an intermediate/transitional area between far and near objects for enhanced vision.
- The bottom of the lens provides enhanced vision at near distances.
Considering Your Lifestyle
The next thing to consider is your lifestyle and how that affects the purpose of your glasses. Obviously, they’ll be used to help you see clearly, but many people use different types of glasses for different tasks. For example, reading glasses will usually only be used for reading or seeing things up close, while many prescription glasses are used for driving or for seeing far away.
First, think about the things you do daily to help you narrow down your glasses options. Are you physically active? Do you only need glasses for specific tasks, such as reading or driving? Do you work or frequent an area that requires glasses to resist various hazards?
Depending on how much activity you do that requires glasses within a given day, you may want to look for glasses that are more durable and can handle frequent use.
A Note on Glass Lenses and Durability
When you hear glasses, typically, the image of glass isn’t far behind. But in reality, glass is very rarely used for glasses nowadays because it is too heavy and breakable. Two types of lenses sit at the top of the list in terms of durability:
A polycarbonate lens is lighter and more durable than glass. These lenses are also generally made with a UV blocking treatment.
High Index Lenses
High index lenses are very much like a polycarbonate lens, but the lens itself is much thinner. The higher the index number, the stronger the prescription that it supports.
Outside of durability, there is a slew of other features to choose from to create your perfect pair of glasses, such as additional treatment options.
Most lenses are compatible with specific customization options or “treatments.” These treatments offer further benefits to your eyewear that can make your overall vision better or help protect your eyes:
|Improves visual clarity and reduces glare
|Protects your eyes from UV rays
|Photochromic Lenses (Transition Lenses)
|Appears clear while indoors but becomes shaded when exposed to UV rays
|Reflective to reduce glare
|Eliminates glare, and provides a certain amount of UV protection
|High Index Lenses
|Grants a thinner lens than the polycarbonate counterpart
|Blue Light Filtering Lenses
|Filters an increased amount of blue light than your typical UV protected glasses
(Source: Warby Parker)