If you’re in the market for new glasses, make sure you have all the facts before you make that ultimate purchase. In addition to knowing how to choose the right frame, there are also different lens types and materials to consider, in addition to ways to control costs.
Listed below are 7 important factors to consider when buying new glasses, and how they can impact that new pair of specs.
1. Get an Exam
Before you think about the frames, make sure your prescription is up to date. It’s extremely important to visit your optometrist yearly for a comprehensive dilated eye exam, as dilating the pupils is the only way your doctor can fully check for glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration, and other problems. Many of these diseases don’t exhibit symptoms in the early stages, so don’t skip this important visit!
2. What’s Your Shape?
Faces come in all shapes and sizes, but there are some general trends. Round, oval, square, rectangular, and heart-shaped are the most common shapes, and each type lends itself to a different style of glasses. Generally, you’ll want to go with a shape that compliments and contrasts with your features. For example, round faces do well with wide, angular glasses, whereas a square face tends to look best in rounder glasses. Heart, oval, and rectangular faces are narrower at the jaw line, so you’ll want to look for deeper specs to add some weight to the bottom of the face, while also balancing out the length from forehead to chin.
3. Your Style & Spirit
If you like versatility or tend to be more classic and contemporary in style, then traditional tortoise-shell frames, or metal frames in a black or metallic finish, would be a great choice for you. Or are you more of a creative type? Bold plastic frames are all the rage, and a bright pop of color could be a cool way to express your free spirit. Or, consider an unusual shape, such as an extremely round or extremely angular or architectural frame — these will definitely make a statement!
4. The Material
Glasses are generally made of either metal or plastic, with variations therein. Metal glasses are lightweight and extremely durable, and metal options tend to be the most hypoallergenic, too. But, they can also be expensive. Plastic frames come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and they’re also very lightweight and tend to be cheaper than metal. However, they are generally more prone to breakage, and the plastic can degrade over time due to sun exposure and the natural oils in your face.
5. The Lenses
After you’ve chosen your frames, you’ll be given many different choices for lenses.
Here are a few options to consider:
-Anti-Reflective: AR coating prevents glare, allows more visible light to reach your eye, and can help you see at night. If you go for one “extra” for your lenses, this should be the one.
-Polarized: Another way to reduce glare and haze. Polarized lenses are a good option for sunglasses, or if you frequently work outdoors.
-High-index plastic: A thin, light lens used as an alternative to big, heavy, bulky lenses that are usually used for a strong prescription.
-Transition: Lenses that darken when exposed to sunlight, and fade back to clear optical lenses when indoors.
-Polycarbonate: Highly impact-resistant lenses, good for athletes, workers in industrial jobs, or outdoor enthusiasts.
Eco-Friendly glasses are fairly new to the market, but they’re becoming more popular and easier to find each year. These specs are made with the least amount of material and fewest manufacturing steps possible, which helps eliminate waste and reduces carbon emissions. Don’t think the frames will only look good on the “crunchy granola” set, too. Eco-chic frames run the gamut from sleek and sophisticated to wild and modern, so you’ll definitely be able to find a pair that speaks to you.
7. The Price
There are lots of different ways you can control the cost of new frames without compromising on the style you want. One of the best ways to buy glasses these days is online, where the markups tend to be significantly reduced. Also, consider what lens options you really need. While AR coating and polarized lenses are generally a good investment, don’t get talked into transition lenses if you already have a pair of beloved sunglasses, or polycarbonate lenses if you don’t work in an industry, outdoor, or other occupation that may pose a risk to your eyes.
Now that you’ve got the lowdown on choosing a new pair of glasses, you’ll have a much easier time finding just the right frames for you. Of course, your optometrist will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have, so don’t be afraid to ask!