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