Buying glasses can be a complicated experience. There is so much to choose from. The ultimate goal, however, is to create the ideal set of custom eyeglasses that look good, feel comfortable and correct vision problems. These aspects of lenses and frames contribute to the customized nature of glasses today.
The most custom portion of any pair of eyeglasses is the lens. Glass are not meant to be used by anyone else, and actually they may not be very useful for anyone else. After a comprehensive eye exam, an ophthalmologist determines the lens prescription and talks to patients about the best kind of lenses to correct vision problems. These six factors affect the types of lenses that people could buy, for vision correction, comfort and convenience:
- Lens Types: The type of lenses that a person needs depends on their vision problems and how much correction they want to get from the glasses. Some people only need single vision lenses that help them see far away or close up. Others prefer bifocals or multifocal lenses that allow them to look out different parts of the lens to see near or at distance. Progressive lenses are the latest trend in multifocal lenses, creating a seamless transition from one distance to another.
- Lens Materials: People used to have glasses made of glass, hence the name. They broke easily and could cause serious injury when they did. However, most people have glasses made of other materials nowadays, because they are lighter in weight and more durable. CR-39 is a plastic developed decades ago and still popular today. The strongest is polycarbonate, which is very difficult to break and much less likely to scratch. Some people also prefer high-index plastic lenses, which are thinner and even lighter than other plastic lenses.
- Lens Prescription: A lens prescription is by definition custom, because it reflects the unique vision needs of each eye for a person. The prescription is measured in sphere, cylinder and axis. The sphere measures the power of the lens in diopters, positive for farsightedness and negative numbers for nearsightedness. The cylinder and axis relate to astigmatism. People who have astigmatism may need a greater power for the astigmatism, indicated by the cylinder. The axis refers to the lens meridian needed to correct the astigmatism, and is measured from 0-180 degrees. In the manufacturing of the actual lens, a plastic blank is ground down to the right kind of refraction designed to match the correct prescription.
- Pupillary Distance: The higher the power of the lens, the more that the position of the pupils makes a difference. People looking through lenses from different angles may not see items as clearly, making pupillary distance crucial. To determine this, an ophthalmologist measures the distance from the center of one pupil to the center of the other one. Pupillary distance is also often used to determine the appropriate width of frames for purchase.
- Custom Tints: There are some people who need or simply prefer to have a certain tint to their glasses. For example, people who find blue light particularly harsh may try glasses with a brown tint to minimize that light. Pink is better for people who use computers for many hours throughout the day, to minimize eyestrain. Yellow tint helps improve depth perception, ideal for outdoor use.
- Photochromic Lenses: Trying to keep track of prescription glasses and sunglasses is a hassle many people do not enjoy. Photochromic lenses solve this problem by offering lenses that will change to a dark tint when exposed to natural light for several seconds. Once a person walks back inside, the tint goes away. Photochromic lenses are also available in a variety of tints.
Although it may seem like frames are interchangeable from person to person, this may not necessarily be the case. Frames also help to personalize glasses and create a custom fit.
- There are literally thousands of different frames to choose from.
- The earpieces of the frames can be adjusted to fit more comfortably around the ears of anyone wearing them.
- The frames can often easily be engraved with a name or other information, in case the glasses are lost.
Since all eyeglasses are custom, it makes sense to select lens types, enhancements and frames that work for each individual person. At Sealy Eye Center, we are committed to providing the best glasses for all of our patients. Contact us today at (888) 701-0487 to arrange an eye exam or order new eyewear.