Great quality prescription glasses -what to check before you buy

These days it’s easy to buy new eyeglasses, whether at your local optometrist’s store or online. With an almost limitless choice of frames, lenses, coatings, and accessories, which are the most important to keep in mind as you choose?


Most of us start by finding the right frames, and there’s a vast range of options.

As a rule of thumb, to find frames that suit you, is to choose a style that contrasts with the shape of your face. For example, if you have a square-shaped face, opt for a round style of frame. If your face is square, choose round frames.

Also, match  the color of the frames to your skin tone. If your skin has a warm tone, browns, olives, tortoiseshell, or gold frames will enhance it. For a cool complexion, silver, black, deep tortoiseshell, purple or blue, will be more flattering.

Choose your frames carefully, as they’ll become one of your most iconic accessories. If you’d like to have multiple pairs, for different outfits, but don’t want to break the bank, opt for some cheap prescription glasses instead.  Apart from the fancy logo, there’s often no discernable difference in look or quality.

Fortunately these days it’s not only possible to try on eyeglass frames at your local optician’s, you can also go online and experiment virtually with different styles to help you make the perfect choice

One advantage of going glasses-shopping in person, is that you can obtain expert advice, before you make a purchase. How suitable will your chosen frames be, given the lenses you choose and the strength of your prescription?   For example, if you have a strong prescription, the lenses will be thicker, so may not pair well with slim wire frames. If you’re going for a special prescription, for sports or driving, narrow frames may not be optimal for peripheral vision.


Regardless of the brand or cost, eyeglass frames tend to be made from a limited number of materials.

Titanium is most often used for metal frames, as it’s light, tough, and hypo-allergenic. However, it is quite expensive, so will increase the cost of your glasses.

Another metal used for frames is Monel, the trademarked name for an alloy of nickel and copper. Although it’s light and durable, it can cause an adverse reaction in a wearers with a nickel allergy.

Cellulose acetate (also known as zyl or zylonite) is the most commonly used material for glasses frames.  Less expensive than titanium, it comes in a huge variety of designs.  Interestingly, it is manufactured from wood pulp, so is sustainable and biodegradable. Although that’s good for the environment, one drawback is that it may become brittle over time.


Your optometrist will advise you on the most appropriate lenses to correct your vision. Today, people tend to go for one of two main choices

Single vision glasses

Perfect if you only need to correct one aspect of your eye-sight, for example, if you have myopia, presbyopia, or astigmatism.  The area of focus is spread evenly over the area of the lens. They are typically used for reading, computer use, and other close, detailed tasks.

If you’re over 40 and starting to find it hard to see close objects clearly,  but your distance-vision remains strong, they’ll correct your vision effectively.

If you’re myopic, they’ll enable you to drive and watch movies or sports from a distance.

They are usually a more economical choice than progressive options.

Progressive lenses

These are a now a popular alternative to bifocals if more than one aspect of your vision needs correction.  Progressive lenses provide a great solution and can be used in a wide variety of situations. They are more visually appealing than bifocals, as the transition between the different lens strengths is seamless.

If you spend extended periods at your computer or looking at other digital devices, due to the wider intermediate area of the lenses, you’ll benefit from the improved vision and a reduced risk of CVS.

Extras to consider

·       Anti-scratch coating to extend the life of your lenses and protect them when they are dropped.

·       Anti-reflective coating to eliminate reflections, especially at night, that reduce the contrast between objects. This can be helpful if you drive, or walk outdoors, at night.

·       UV-blocking treatment is useful, especially if you don’t like wearing sunglasses. It will protect against UV radiation which is linked to age-related eye issues such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

·        Photochromic treatment.  This enables lenses to darken and lighten automatically according to the level of ambient light.