A good pair of eyeglasses is an important part of millions of people’s daily lives. That’s why it’s critical to consider the many elements that matter when it comes to the right set of spectacles. Just a few of these include materials, sizes, warranties and options. Understanding these options will make your visit to an overwhelming retailer much easier. Below, learn more about these and other details that will help you find the perfect pair.
First things first: an eye exam
Before you visit your local eyewear retailer, it’s recommended to get an eye exam. This will ensure that your prescription is up-to-date and accurate. A comprehensive eye exam will also check for the possibility of more severe vision issues, including cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration (among others). To learn about what goes into a comprehensive eye exam, visit this article.
Materials and durability
You can find frames made from a variety of materials, ranging from getting-the-job-done plastics to exotic carbon fiber and woods. Regardless of which you choose, each comes with its own set of pros and cons that should be given some thought.
For many people, plastic frames provide just what they need without dipping into their wallets. They’re generally lightweight, but may not stand up to rough tasks as well as others. On the bright side, plastic frames can get quite creative by mimicking textures and, in some cases, shapes to really suit your style. The look may change over time as colors and strength may fade depending on the environment they’ll be exposed to.
Typically seen in sports, military and other high-tech applications, carbon fiber frames can be relatively pricey, though come with a few key advantages. For example, the chemical properties of the material allow it to be extremely rigid and built to last. Even with its high strength, it manages to remain incredibly light. There’s also a high level of chemical resistance. And like its other uses, carbon fiber frames usually look sleek and stylish.
While not nearly as popular as other frame materials, wooden frames have their share of fans. Generally crafted by hand, these eco-friendly frames are truly one-of-a-kind and are often seen as allowing wearers to get even closer to nature by being made of natural materials. Durability, availability and cost aren’t the material’s strength, however. Consequently, the creative flexibility of plastic allows those frames to very much look like actual wooden frames.
And then you have metal frames, available in a variety of finishes, dimensions and price ranges. In fact, metal is the most widely used material in frames. Specific types include titanium, stainless steel and aluminum. While most are similar in terms of strength, weight and their resistance to the elements, the finish and flexibility of metal frames do vary. It’s hard to go against a metal frame these days.
Shape, size and color
In addition to being familiar with the material you’re interested in beforehand, you should also think about the general shape of the frames. This is also something that your optician can help with when you get your eye exam.
Shape and size
Shape and size not only helps determine the design of the frame, but also allows the frame to fit properly on your head for optimal long-term comfort. According to The Vision Council, there are some guidelines that can help you choose the right shape and size:
- Eyewear should repeat your personal best feature (such as a blue frame to match blue eyes).
- The frame shape should contrast with your face shape.
- The frame size should be in scale with your face size.
Of course, trying on a frame and viewing yourself in a mirror is ideal.
Equally important is the color of the frames. Generally speaking, the color should complement your mix of skin tone, eye color, hair color and your clothing. The fashion forward may also consider the current season. For example, Pantone forecasts the below colors as being in style for spring 2017. As an adventurous alternative, you can throw all of that into the trash by going with colors that radically challenge the fashion of today.
Similar to frames, the type of nose pad can affect comfort and function. Common nose pad materials include silicone and polycarbonate. Silicone nose pads are soft and comfortable, but might be slippery unless textured, or if the frames themselves aren’t fitted properly. Polycarbonate nose pads can be thinner, lighter and more resistant to facial chemicals.
Depending on where you shop, frames may include excellent warranty options that protect against lost or damaged eyeglasses. For example, Davis Vision provides a complementary 1-year breakage warranty for all frames fabricated in our labs. For other retailers and providers, a 30-day satisfaction guarantee can typically be found. Otherwise, you may be given the option to purchase an extended policy. At the very least, you’ll be able to receive free lifetime adjustments and cleanings.
Lastly, eyeglasses are of little use without lenses that help you see better. Similar to the selection of frames, most wearers will have a large selection of lenses and accompanying features, such as lens coatings. For additional information, visit this article about popular lens types and coatings.
- Morgan, E. (2016, January). Eyeglass Frame Materials. Retrieved from All About Vision: https://www.allaboutvision.com/eyeglasses/eyeglass_frame_materials.htm
- Morgan, E. (2017, February). How To Choose The Best Eyeglasses For Your Face Shape And Coloring. Retrieved from All About Vision: https://www.allaboutvision.com/eyeglasses/eyeglasses_shape_color_analysis.htm
- Nose Pad Materials. (2011, October). Retrieved from NosePads.com: https://www.nosepads.com/nose-pad-materials.html