people over age 40 need some visual correction in order to read or
see things close-up. Often, bifocals are necessary because the closer
things are, the blurrier they seem.
Reading glasses are a popular option, with different styles and colors
and a price that makes having several pair an option.
Your comfort and satisfaction with your new eyeglasses depend on much
more than the written prescription. They also require quality lenses,
accurate grinding, a proper frame, and expert fitting. Select your optical
dispenser carefully. Ask for recommendations, talk to friends, and be
wary of bargains because it takes time to fit and grind glasses properly,
and short-cuts can be costly if the glasses aren't right.
Frames, Fitting, and Other Variables
What is most important to you? How the frame looks? How sturdy it is?
How well it fits? You certainly wouldn't want it to keep sliding down
your nose or falling off your ears. But it is sometimes hard to satisfy
both fashion and function at the same time. A skilled optical dispenser
can help you choose a style and size that is right for you and will
personalize its fit.
If you are considering a designer frame that holds oversize lenses,
be aware that there are drawbacks. Large lenses can generate strange
visual sensations, especially if your previous lenses were much smaller;
moving your head or your eyes may make objects look wavy, curved, distorted
or crooked, or the floor may seem to be coming up at you. Most of the
time such sensations disappear after a few days. If you are nearsighted,
consider that larger lenses are heavier. If you have been wearing bifocals
in a smaller lens size, it may be difficult to find the ideal head position
for seeing comfortably through the reading portion.
Your dispenser must consider many variables, almost none of them spelled
out on your prescription. These include the width of the frame, the
width of the bridge of your nose and whether you should have adjustable
nose-pads, the length of the temple pieces, the distance between the
optical centers of the lenses and, if you wear multifocal lenses, the
exact position of the reading portion (as well as the mid-range portion).
A first-class dispenser takes all appropriate variables into account
and makes sure the selected lens/frame combination is right for you.
Should You Choose Plastic Lenses?
Plastic lenses are lighter than glass; the weight difference is more
noticeable with higher-powered prescriptions. Polycarbonate is an extremely
strong plastic. Lenses made from it won't break and they offer great
protection - more than even hardened glass lenses. If you choose plastic,
ask the dispenser how to take care of plastic, which is more easily
scratched than glass. Like glass, plastic lenses can be dyed solid colors
or with a graduated tint, darker at the top, lighter toward the bottom.
They are also available in sun-activated (photochromic) materials that
automatically become darker outdoors and lighter indoors.
Bifocals, Trifocals, and Progressives
Bifocals and trifocals let you focus through different prescriptions
at different distances through the same lens. A bifocal lens has two
distinct clear zones; a trifocal lens has three; a progressive-power
lens provides smooth continuity from distance, to intermediate, to near.
The type of multifocal lens most likely to satisfy your visual needs
is usually specified on the prescription. Ask the optician to explain
and demonstrate it to you.
The positioning of any lens, but particularly the height of the reading
segment of a multifocal or progressive lens, is critical. If the position
is not precisely right for you, you may have problems using the glasses,
so the dispenser will ask you to demonstrate exactly how and where you
prefer to hold reading material. Measurements will be made based on
If You Just Can't Adjust to Your New Glasses
When you pick up your new glasses, the dispenser will fine-tune them
to your face and ears. You should be comfortable with them. If you wear
the glasses for two weeks and still can't get used to them, it is possible
that an error has been made.
Most difficulties can be traced to positioning problems, which the
dispenser can probably solve. He or she can re-examine the fit, check
that the lenses are ground exactly to the prescription, and check that
the base curves, height of bifocal/trifocal, and optical centers are
correct. Don't hesitate to ask about these factors.
If the dispenser assures you that all are correct, make an appointment
with our office to check the measurements of your eyes, and determine
if an error may have been made in your prescription.
More Information on Glasses:
The following articles are in PDF format.
More Glasses and Contacts Information:
Feel free to call or drop in if you'd like to speak to someone in person.
How often should I have an eye exam?
Children - Six months of age, three years old, before starting
school, and every two years after. If your child wears glasses or contacts,
they should have an exam yearly.
Adults - Every one to two years up to age 40. Adults with diabetes,
high blood pressure, and other disorders should be seen annually. Adults
over 60 should be seen annually.
Should I wear over the counter reading
Over-the-counter reading glasses are inexpensive eyeglasses that can
be purchased in variety, drug, and discount stores without a prescription.
They can be used instead of prescription reading glasses, but they are
not an ideal substitute, which you will discover as soon as you try
them. Still, they may work for you. If so, they can come in handy if
you like to have several pairs of reading glasses lying around in different
places or if you tend to misplace your reading glasses. Read