I’ve worked in the optical industry for over five years, and one of the questions I hear every day is, “what’s in style?”. Over the years my answer has changed along with passing seasons and trends, but now I can confidently say, “a little bit of everything”. Fashion in 2019 is all about personal style — What makes you feel most like you? What makes you happy when you put it on?
THAT BEING SAID, there are ground rules. Something that looks good on other people is not necessarily going to look good on you. But most importantly, although eyeglasses are fashion, they are still a medical device. This is why it is important to respect that your optician and optometrist are not just trying to sell you an expensive accessory. Opticians are trained to find glasses that will fit both your visual and fashion needs.
This article will walk you through 5 must-know tips when purchasing glasses.
I’m going to quote Captain Barbossa from the Pirates of the Caribbean and say that the face diagrams you can find online are, “more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual ‘rules’.” The general advice is usually to choose a shape that is opposite of your face. If you have a rounder face, go with a square or rectangular frame. If you have a square face or a sharp jawline, go with a rounded frame that will soften your features. Ovals can generally go with any shape. That being said, our heads are not just featureless blobs on top of our body. Consider your eye size/shape and how high your cheekbones are when trying on glasses to make sure that your frames fit your face perfectly.
TIP → If you love the cat-eye look and you have a rounder face, go with a cat-eye that has a more square bottom.
If a frame does not fit you properly, no matter how cute it is, you will not want to wear it. PERIOD. So how do you make sure that the frames you are purchasing fit you correctly?
SHNOZE FIT →
There are two main nose bridges you will encounter: a non-adjustable plastic bridge or adjustable nose pads. Plastic bridges are the most important to get right because there is really no way to adjust them. To make sure you get a PERFECT fit with a plastic shnoze bridge, it needs to fit like a glove. That means it needs to hit your nose on all three points (both sides and the top). It can’t have any gaps and should not shift side to side on your nose. The exception to this is a key-hole bridge (looks like a key-hole), where the key-hole part will typically sit above your nose.
If you are someone with a flat nose bridge then I suggest an alternative fit frame or something with adjustable nose pads. Another thing to note is that one type of nose bridge is not necessarily more durable or comfortable than the other, so the choice comes down to personal preference.
TEMPLE/SIDE/ARM (whatever you want to call it) →
The next step on the road to the perfect pair of glasses is making sure that the temples fit you. First, we will discuss length. You want to make sure you have enough length that the temples can be bent at 45-degree angle behind your ear. This is to ensure that your glasses will stay on your noggin!
Next, make sure that the temples are not hitting the sides of your face. Many people think that if the glasses hit the side of your face, then they fit. This is not correct! If your temples are hitting the sides of your face it means that over time your glasses will 1) Give you a headache 2) Slip down your nose and 3) Leave red marks on the side of your face.
EYE SIZE →
In regards to sizing, glasses are just like jeans or shoes. Depending on who makes the frame, the same size in one brand can be completely different in another brand. When considering if a frame fits someone or not, I want to make sure that their eyes are as close to the center of the lens as possible. The reason for this is if the distance between your eyes is smaller than the distance between the center of the lenses (decentration), 1) You will end up with thicker lenses, and 2) It makes your eyes look closer together and no one wants that!
You will also want to consider how far the lenses come down on your cheekbones. Eyeglasses that highlight your cheekbones will show off your features and be more flattering.
3. LENS OPTIONS
The five main plastic materials you will encounter when purchasing glasses are: CR-39, Polycarbonate, Trivex, Hi-Index 1.67, and Hi-Index 1.74.
CR-39/Plastic 1.50/Standard plastic is the lowest grade plastic you can get for your lenses, and is considered a budget option. It is not necessarily a poor quality material, but it will not give you the best vision possible. For people who have higher prescriptions (-/+ 2.00 and beyond), going with these options will cause you to have thicker lenses.
POLYCARBONATE vs. TRIVEX→
Polycarbonate and Trivex are both very durable, lightweight materials, and will allow you to have lighter, thinner lenses. The main difference between the two is clarity. Polycarbonate has aberrations in the material that can distort your vision. For this reason, many offices do not even offer Polycarbonate as an option anymore. Trivex has much better clarity and is what I always recommend to patients, barring prescription limitations.
You will see that many online retailers offer Polycarbonate instead of Trivex. This is because it is cheaper to produce, allowing them to charge more affordable prices. Do not be mistaken though, this is not the best material option out there.
HI-INDEX 1.67 & 1.74 →
Hi-Index materials allow you to have the thinnest, lightest lenses possible (at least in the U.S.). The choice between the two simply comes down to how thin you want your lenses. Hi-Index 1.74 will be thinner and lighter than the 1.67 option. For people with high prescriptions, getting the thinnest lightest material will allow you to avoid the “coke-bottle” stigma, and will also offer you better vision. Hi-Index options are also great for those who have mid-range prescriptions but have chosen a rim-less, no-rim, or cat-eye frame.
TIP → Another way to make sure that your lenses are as thin as possible is to get a smaller, rounder frame. The smaller and rounder the frame, the thinner your lenses will be. Also, steering clear of cat-eyes or frames with lots of edges will ensure thinner lenses.
Many opticians I know have a bad habit of feature vomiting. This makes people uncomfortable and can also lead to the feeling of being sold to, rather than being informed. There are a lot of different coatings and upgrades you can add to your lenses, but the two that I always get on my glasses, and will always recommend to others, are an Anti-reflective and Scratch coating.
ANTI-REFLECTIVE/ANTI-GLARE COATINGS (AR)→
– Reduces glare when driving at night or in bright conditions.
– Reduces glare from computer screens and phones.
– Helps you see clearer!
– Reduces eye-strain, especially for those who spend a lot of time on their computer, phone, television, or other electronic devices.
– Allows your loved ones to see your eyes instead of glare off of your glasses.
The higher the quality of AR coating you get, the better each of these benefits will be, so when you have a choice of getting a higher quality AR coating, go with it! You may also have the option to get an AR coating with blue-blocking properties, like Essilor Crizal Prevencia. Blue-blocking AR coatings help reduce eye-strain even more by blocking the blue-violet lights that are emitted from the screens of our electronic devices. Research says this will help you sleep better, as blue-violet light from our phones and computers at night essentially “tricks” our bodies into thinking it’s day time. Of course, I have simplified things down for this post, so I recommend doing your own research as well if you are interested in this topic.
TIP → If you clean your glasses with soap make sure it does not contain citrus, as that will ruin your anti-reflective coating. If you have paid for a high-quality AR coating and it is flaking off (and you have not used citrus soap or had the glasses for many years), this is a defect so contact the office you purchased them from.
SCRATCH COATING →
Scratch coating doesn’t need a list, it does what it says: it will help keep your lenses from developing scratches. That being said, plastic lenses are more vulnerable to scratching so take advantage of the scratch coat warranties that your optometry office offers you if you notice any issues.
TIP → The best way to prevent scratching is to clean and store your glasses properly.
5. PERSONAL STYLE
Last, but definitely not least, you have to consider YOUR personal style. If the glasses are not something that you will want to put on every day (even if you don’t have to wear them every day), then don’t get them.
This also applies to online eyewear retailers such as Warby Parker and Zenni Optical. Even $50.00 is waste if it is something that you aren’t going to wear. My tip is to think about what you wear on a daily basis: Are you someone who wears a lot of colors? Or are you like me and wear mostly neutrals (gray, black, white, etc.)? Do you prefer to wear your hair up or down?
With that being said, please remember to have FUN with it! Try on styles you wouldn’t normally go for. Push your personal boundaries, don’t put yourself in a box of your own creation. A fun frame doesn’t mean it has to be something crazy. You can have a fun color and a simple shape or a fun shape and a simple color. You might be surprised by what you like!
This post is not promoted in any way, shape or form by the companies listed in this article.