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Tips for Buying Eyeglasses

The road signs are blurry….night driving is something you avoid at all cost; you constantly clean your glasses thinking they have to be dirty…but no.  You can no longer see out of your eyeglasses and it is time for a new pair with your updated prescription so you can see clearly again.  

No one is excited about this scenario.  As an optician for 18 years, I have seen the solemn faces, heard the complaints, and felt the despair.  But at the end of the day, I saw the smiles, received the hugs and felt the joy of not only helping my patients see better, but feel confident in their investment for their eyes, and actually be excited about their new glasses!  

When buying new glasses you should have 3 main goals.

  1. Optimum and relaxed vision
  2. Great appearance
  3. Comfortable and correct fit  

Here are some tips to help ease this painful process and turn it into something you can look forward to.

  1. What do you need your glasses for?  This will vary from user to user.  It will also help you determine how many pairs of glasses you may need.  A person who sits at a computer all day is going to need something different than a person who works outdoors or someone who works in construction. Active people need to consider extra eye protection. Now, you will have specific details to give the optician to help make the correct frame and lens choice and determine how many pairs you could benefit from.  
  2. Are you an eyeglass snob or an eyeglass slob?  How picky are you? We all have that friend.  The person who says, “I bought my glasses online and saved so much money.”  It’s true, you can purchase eyewear online.  BUT, you have to know what you are getting into and your expectations have to match.  If you wear your glasses every day, want the clearest, crispest vision, best fit and the comfort of knowing you can get a cleaning, adjustments, warranties and one on one service; online is not for you. 
  3. Online horrors I have seen:
    1. Eyewear that does not even stay on the face or completely the wrong size.
    2. Skin conditions due to the lack of quality and fit of the frame.  
    3. The prescriptions have been way off!
    4. A ‘fake’ brand name frame.
    5. Measurements not even close to where they should be.
    6. Is it worth it?  You truly get what you pay for in some cases.  For me, without proper sight, I cannot work, I cannot provide for my family.  I will not be able to see my children’s sporting events. I don’t feel safe driving my family.  I am definitely the particular one that wants the best vision and feel possible!
  4. What do you like or dislike about your current glasses?  This one is easy!!  Keep what you like, change what you don’t.  If your current pair is too heavy, you want a lighter weight frame.  If it is too boring, go with a bold pair.  If your lenses are all scratched, add protection.
  5. How do I know what looks good on me?  This is where you ask the experts.  A good optician can make sure your eyes are centered in the frame. The prescription and style of lens you need should fit in the frame properly.  There is never one perfect rule that says a certain shape frame is the only one that works on your face shape! Styles change frequently and it is the job of the optician to educate you on the current trends and on what looks best on your face based on your preferences. I currently have frame shapes in rectangle, round, cat eye, and more.
    You can also bring someone that knows you and has to look at you frequently.  It is always helpful to get a 2nd opinion.  Make sure to take pictures of a few different styles. Looking at them with your glasses on if you don’t have contacts will really help with the decision.    
  6. Lenses:  Do I really need that?  This goes back to the slob or snob question.  Think movies.  You can watch a movie on VHS or standard DVD, or you can watch a movie in High Definition.  You are still seeing the same movie, but the clarity, sound, and picture are drastically different.   It is the same with lenses.  You will almost always see out of them, but the viewing area size, lack of peripheral distortion and clarity of the lens will differ greatly.  Digital manufacturing using custom position of wear measurements means that you will have lenses made specifically for how a frame sits on your face. Custom measurements take your pupil distance, vertex distance how much the frame curves and the angle they rest at and the optical center or bifocal height of the lens. Digital lenses will give you the best vision possible and eliminate unnecessary eyestrain.  The quality of digital lenses can vary. The best lenses are a dual sided digital that use all the measurements listed above. Progressive, lined bifocal and single vision lenses all have these capabilities.
  7. Always get an anti-reflective treatment. This is a must. Glare is annoying. Night driving is already difficult. We spend so much time on electronic devices.  An anti-reflective treatment helps with all of these things, plus has a bonus of making your lenses invisible so we can see your eyes.  This treatment can vary in price due to the quality, scratch resistance, and anti-static properties.  No matter what, always get anti-reflective on your eyeglasses.
  8. Check on the warranties and refund policy.  What if you make the wrong decision? Or your kid smashes them 9 months from now. It happens. Make sure you are protected and the quality is guaranteed.  Just make sure you receive the policies in writing. A handshake or an obscure “We will take care of you if anything happens” does not count. The Eye Care Center has a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. We will remake your lenses at no charge into a different frame or issue a complete refund. If you purchase the Super Hi VisionEX3 anti-reflective treatment you receive unlimited lens remakes for one year.  Please check our website for additional details.

    I wish you the best of luck on your hunt for the perfect eyewear. Remember, one pair usually is just not enough! Follow these same tips and tricks no matter what the pair may be for, and be sure to let us know about your next frame purchase experience!

    By Amy Kraemer, Optical Manager, ABOC

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