Prescription Eyeglasses: Make the Best Choices for Your Eyes

There are various important factors discussed below to keep in mind when you're choosing your glasses.

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Prescription Eyeglasses: Make the Best Choices for Your Eyes Videos

The Importance of Choosing the Right Glasses

The choices you make while buying a pair of glasses are not trivial. Making informed choices will ensure that your glasses are both comfortable and good-looking. There are also several choices you can make that impact their function which should not be overlooked. The place in which you purchase them matters as well. While glasses today can be ordered online, According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), a recent study found that nearly half of all glasses (44.8 percent) ordered online either contained an inaccurate prescription or didn’t meet safety standards designed to protect the eyes. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the lenses failed impact resistance testing – a major safety issue. Children’s glasses performed even worse, with 29 percent failing impact testing.

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Getting the Prescription

The most important part of prescription glasses, is, of course, the prescriptions itself. So be sure to have it in hand when you go glasses shopping, in addition to detailed knowledge about any other eye issues that might be relevant to your purchase.

You will get the most accurate prescription from your optometrist or ophthalmologist. Online eye tests do exist, and while they may provide you with a general idea of where you stand in terms of eyesight, they cannot replace a proper test done by a trained professional. 

With your prescription in hand, you can then move on to pick out lenses and frames.

Types of Eyeglasses

Types of Eyeglasses

There are two main types of eyeglasses: single-vision and multifocal. Single-vision glasses have an all-purpose lens designed to help the wearer see better either up close or far away, while multifocal glasses correct for near and distant vision with the same lens--one portion of the lens focused for distance vision, with the other for up close tasks like reading.

Single-vision lenses are the more common type, being used by people with numerous types of focusing problems. Reading glasses are one example of single-vision lens glasses, and these can even be bought over the counter.

There are several types of multifocal lenses, but all are used to assist someone with more than one vision issue.

Bifocal lenses have a correction on the lower half to assist with reading, and another correction on the top half for distance vision. There are also specialized bifocals, known as double-D bifocals, which also have segments on the top half for glancing up at objects at closer ranges.

Trifocal lenses function similarly, but have three different lens corrections (for long, intermediate, and close ranges).

Progressive lenses operate similarly, but have a smooth transition instead of obvious dividing lines between the different sections. They look better, but they have smaller focal areas due to more of the lens being utilized for the transition, and they can cause more distortion than other lens types.

Types of Eyeglasses

Types of Eyeglasses

You will find lenses available in a few different materials. What’s best for you will largely depend on your lifestyle.

Nowadays, eyeglass lenses are mostly made of plastic as opposed to glass. They are lighter and more flexible, plus are safer since they are less likely to shatter. Plastic lenses also have built-in UV light blocking.

For people who engage in contact sports or other activities that may result in eye injuries, doctors may recommend polycarbonate lenses. More so than other materials, polycarbonate is very impact resistant. A newer material, known as Trivex, is equal to polycarbonate in terms of safety while also being less distorting.

High index lenses are recommended for people requiring high visual correction. They are very thin and lightweight, and tend to look better than thick lens glasses.

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Protective Coatings

Protective Coatings

Several different lens coatings are available for a variety of specific purposes to provide additional benefit for your eyes


Anti-reflective coatings reduce glare. They minimize eye strain, allow for easier eye contact, and can improve your overall appearance. Because lenses with this coating allow more light to pass through, they can improve your ability to make out minute details even in bright light. In particular, this coating can greatly benefit people who spend a lot of time on the water, or who are bothered by headlight glare while driving. Anti-UV coatings, as might be expected, provide protection from the harmful ultraviolet radiation that is a part of sunlight. However, many modern lenses inherently block UV rays, making this coating redundant. Prescription sunglasses, of course, provide UV protection.

Photochromatic lenses are a good choice for people who want to use a single pair of glasses both indoors and outdoors. These are coated in a way to automatically adjust based on exposure to light: they darken in sunlight, and lighten while indoors. However, in some environments the change in tint can take longer, and in cars or airplanes may not change at all due to the windows blocking the light that triggers the change.

Does Price Matter?

The answer to this question is yes and no. Spending more money on designer frames doesn’t mean you’re getting higher quality glasses. However, you shouldn’t try to cut corners when it comes to your lenses; especially the more complex multifocal or progressive lenses.

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Common Questions

While not necessary, Anti-glare treatments are generally recommended for glasses and for good reason. Anti-glare or anti-reflective coatings come with a bevy of benefits. They eliminate glare from incoming light which provides for more crisp vision. Also, most anti-glares come with secondary benefits such as scratch and water resistance which helps to keep the surface clean and clear.
It's really relative to what the actual prescription is and also the preference of the patient. If the Rx is approaching a high value such as -4.00 and above then it's generally time to consider high index. Also, they are more aesthetically appealing than other materials, such as polycarbonate, which would be thicker and more unseemly given the same Rx. Also, high index has a higher abbe value and what this means is light refracts more cleanly through the lens making the vision clearer. All in all, higher index lenses are worth it if applicable.
Hardly anything is necessary when it comes to lenses, aside for the proper fulfilling of the Rx. However, there are things to be done that can improve the overall optical experience like adding an anti-scratch/anti-reflective coating to your lenses. So, let's make a distinction from the get go to avoid confusion later. All anti-scratch coatings are also anti-reflective or anti-glare but not all anti-reflective coatings have a scratch resistant quality. This is important when deciding on what type of anti-reflective to get on your lenses. Every anti-reflective is constructed differently and some offer just the refractive qualities of an anti-reflective while others incorporate the scratch resistance element as well. While it isn't necessary there are a myriad of benefits to choosing a scratch resistant coating for lenses. Not only do you get the benefits from your standard AR lenses but you'll also get that smoother, hydrophobic, scratch resistance which can contribute to an increase in lens longevity. Meaning, with a little bit of care, you'll get a lot more wear. Furthermore we strongly recommend getting scratch resistant coatings for children's glasses, because kids will be kids.
Prism lenses are lenses that shift the focal point in a certain direction but a unit called diopters. What this mean is, depending on the diopters of prism, a lens will move the "image" over that much. Prisms have no refractive quality, meaning they don't help you see clearly like other lenses typically do. Instead they shift images in a certain direction so help our eyes pair images together into a single image in your mind.
Prisms in glasses typically shift light, which we perceive as an image, in a general direction, For instance prisms are usually prescribed in both lenses and will move the image in a direction that makes it easier for the patient to make the images into a single one.
In short, while they do not scratch very easily they are not scratch proof. Polycarbonate lenses are rated as one of the most impact resistant materials for lenses as opposed to plastic or high index but impact resistance doesn't translate to scratch resistance. The highest degree of scratch resistance is typically attained with an anti-glare/anti-scratch coating. These coatings, in their varying levels, offer scratch resistance when placed onto a lens material.
Lenses are primarily made out of plastics these days. The plastic or polymers they are made out of can be separated into four categories. We use CR-39, Polycarbonate, Trivex, and Hi-Index. Depending on the Rx, Age of patient, and their needs will determine the lens material that's chosen.
Computer glasses are used to see at an intermediate range, thusly named. They are a composite of the sphere power of an Rx and about half the addition. When combined we'll have a prescription for intermediate or computer glasses that will let us work comfortably at that range.
In my experience, there's only one trusted method for increasing visibility at night and that's an anti-glare coating. Some providers suggest using differing tints, such as yellow tints, with an AR coating. Tinted lenses filter out a spectra of light which overall reduces light data that goes into the retina and in low light conditions this can prove dangerous. The most effective and virtually danger free method is an AR coating. As of late, companies have produced specifically formulated AR coatings to reduce glare for night driving. The goal is to reduce diffraction, which is light bouncing around and away from the focal point of the lens, resulting in glare such as halos, without reducing the light coming in that's necessary to see an image. Much like when we see oncoming headlights and they're engulfed in a ring of light. An AR coating helps reduce this ultimately let us see more of what's important, the road.
Prescription Eyeglasses: Make the Best Choices for Your Eyes
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You can consult our opticians for recommendations, and they will be more than happy to answer any further questions you have to help ensure you make an informed purchase. You can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit to learn more. Our team of eye care professionals is ready and equipped to provide you with the care you need.

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