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How to pick the proper spectacle frame

By Judith Whitehead – Contributing Writer

Now more than ever before, there are many ways to fill a new glass prescription. You can even order frames online to save money and time.

There are a few things that must be kept in mind before spending the money and obtaining the wrong frame.

First and foremost, you will need a current refraction: An eye care professional must decide the power of the lenses, and that can't be done online. You will also need to know the PD – or distance between the pupil reflexes – if you are going the online way. The doctor's office can provide you with that in a few seconds.

Everyone has different needs when it comes to deciding if you want single vision readers; bifocals, which encompass both near and distance correction; or just distance.

Judith Whitehead

If you pick a blended bifocal or no-line bifocal, the placement of the bifocal is critical or you will be disappointed in its usefulness. A conventional bifocal with a line should line up with the lower lid when looking straight ahead. If it doesn't, you will be looking through a partial bifocal and not getting the full benefit of the additional power used for reading. If the frame is poorly adjusted, you will not be happy, either.

New glasses can be an investment. At times we try to save money, but in the long run it can cost you more if you need to do a redo because of poor quality or fit.

Frames come in all qualities, shapes, fit and fashion.

Fashion does not always fit the bill. If you have a very round face and pick a round frame, it may not work out for you. If you pick a very small frame and try and squeeze a thick and powerful prescription into it , you may be disappointed. The frame has to be appropriate for the prescription.

A small frame with a bifocal will give you little reading power in the bifocal because there is not enough room to get the full value of the reading power. A very large frame may sit too low on the nose and face and you will have a hard time getting the full benefit of the bifocal power. Depending on the size of the frame, it may be very heavy if you have a powerful prescription; there are lenses that can compress a strength into a thin lens but they cost more money. There is no reason to wear what we used to call “coke bottle” lenses any longer. Strong lenses may appear very thin today.

Generally speaking, a round face lends itself to a more square or rectangle style frame. A square shaped face looks more attractive with a rounder frame.

Your optician should guide you in the fit and style that is best suited for your face. If ordering online, you must keep these things in mind – as return policies vary among companies if you made a poor choice.

Other things to consider: Does the frame have spring hinges, which hold a frame adjustment better? Are they plastic, metal or rimless? Rimless frames are at times harder to maintain, and if you are not careful with your frames the lenses may move or become loose in the frame.

Frames are definitely an investment and, as with anything, poor quality costs more in the long run.

Choose carefully and you will be happy with your choices; if your eye doctor has given you a prescription strength that you don't like or can't tolerate, most opticians will do a “doctor's redo” at no charge if you return the pair in a reasonable amount of time. A happy customer will spread the word. Since opticians and companies are highly competitive today, they want to make you a happy consumer.

Judith Whitehead, of East Amherst, is a certified ophthalmic technician.


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