One of the goals of Eyeglasses.com is to educate the public about eyeglasses. By helping you better understand eyewear and the options that are available, we hope the information on this website enables you to make more informed decisions regarding your glasses frames and lenses.
Glasses date back to Roman times. According to Wikipedia one of the earliest evidence of the use glasses is found in the 1352 portrait painted by the Italian painter, Tommaso da Modena, of the Dominican Cardinal Hugh of Saint-Cher who was a renowned biblical scholar. Another example, this time an apostle wearing a type of reading glasses, is found in the central panel from an altarpiece painted by Conrad von Soest in 1403, Bad Wildungen, Germany.
Surprisingly, the basic design of glasses has not changed in over 2000 years - a frame, sitting mostly on the ears and nose (there are exceptions), positions lenses in front of the eyes so the wearer can see better.
The content below details the most important features of glasses, including the various parts of glasses frames, glasses prescription, glasses care, as well as How to Buy Glasses Online. You can also check out our Consumer Guide.
Most people who consider buying eyeglasses online for the first time are usually concerned with three things:
- - Can I do this?
- - Will I get the right glasses for me?
- - Will the quality of eyeglasses online be as good as I can get from a local store?
Online commerce sites that offer eyeglasses or sunglasses provide a variety of products and services. It is a different eyewear experience altogether compared to shopping in a traditional retail optical store. Buying eyeglasses online offers the benefits of greater selection, and lower prices.
At Eyeglasses.com, we offer only high quality eyeglass frames, lenses, and services.
Most eye glasses frames work with most lenses. However, there are some exceptions. At Eyeglasses.com we will not make lenses for glasses frames that we do not think will work well. In most circumstances, you need not be concerned about the exceptions. Just look for the frame you want. However, if you are interested to learn more about glasses frames and some of the frame/lens combinations that do not work.
Glasses Frame and Lens Combinations
If your prescription is under +/-4.00 sphere, your lenses will work in almost any pair of glasses frames. If your prescription is stronger than +/-4.00 sphere, or if you want multifocal lenses, there are some additional issues to take into consideration.
Glasses with Mild Minus Lenses
If your prescription has a minus sphere (like -4.00, -4.25, or more), hard resin lenses will be noticeably thicker. In this case, you can go to a thinner, more expensive lens material. If you prefer hard resin, you should look for thicker eyeglass frames in order to cover up some of the edge of the thick lens, and avoid thin metal frames that will accentuate thick lenses. Thick lenses are also thicker when they become larger to accommodate a large frame. We suggest staying with smaller frames because the larger the lens size, the thicker it becomes at its edge. In addition, widening the prescription leads to distortion where the eyes of the wearer may appear smaller.
Glasses with Strong Minus Lenses
If you do have a strong minus correction, you should also consider purchasing a thinner lens product, such as a high index lens and/or one with aspheric design. Rimless eyeglass frames constructions are not recommended for thick lenses because the heavy lenses often cause the frames to be top-heavy and can slide down your nose more readily, and can loosen up over time.
Glasses with Plus Sphere Lenses
If your prescription has a plus sphere (like +4.00, +4.25 or more) you can consider thin frames since plus sphere lenses are thicker in the middle and thinner at the edge.
Glasses with Multifocal Lenses
For multifocal lenses (progressive, bifocal, and trifocal), there needs to be enough height to the frame (known as the B measurement) so that the viewing areas are large enough to see through. We recommend that the B measurement be at least 30mm for any frame that will be getting multifocal lenses. If you have fallen in love with frames for glasses that has a B measurement of 27mm to 29mm, there are some new short corridor lens choices that may work for you.
Glasses Frame Materials
Eyeglass frames are made out of many different composite materials and formulas, but the basic groupings are metal and plastic. In plastics, zyl is the most common, although lower quality plastics are used in the cheaper frames. Nylon is often used in sport sunglasses due to its impact resistance and flexibility. Among the metals, monel is most common, followed by titanium, stainless steel, nickel silver, alpaca, and aluminum.
Zyl is a short name for the material cellulose acetate, which is made of wood flakes, cottonseed fibers, stabilizers and plasticizers. Zyl is the most common plastic frame material because it can assume a large array of colors, textures and patterns. Temples and frame fronts can be cut from blocks of zyl extruded as a sheet of block acetate. Or, granular zyl can be liquefied and then injection molded. Block-cut zyl is stronger and more stable, while injection molded zyl is less stable and less expensive. With daily use in warm temperatures, zyl can shift and lose its form. Sometimes metal cores are added in the temples in order to strengthen and stabilize the frame. If zyl eye glasses frames reach a temperature over 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the plasticizers could rise to the surface of the frame, turning areas of the frame a milky white color. In addition, body oils, perspiration, ultraviolet radiation and cosmetics can also damage the material. The best quality designer eye glasses frames are made with Italian Mazzuccheli zyl. Mazzuccheli now has factories in Italy and China, with the best quality and newest design materials coming from the Italian plants. All Mazzuccheli zyl is made in sheets, which are then cut in the eyewear factories.
Monel (Wikipage) is composed of about two-thirds nickel and one-third copper. This highly ductile alloy can be hammered into a variety of different shapes without losing strength. It resists stress well is often use to stabilize frame bridges and endpieces. Monel colors well, is corrosion resistant, and durable. If you have an allergy to some metals, it is usually the nickel in the metal that causes allergic reactions.
Titanium (Wikipage) is extremely lightweight and will not rust, making it a very popular and relatively new material for eye glasses frames. Titanium's strength allows it to be made thin, but it is hard to solder or weld and is expensive. Titanium is a more expensive metal composite used in eye glasses frames known for its beneficial qualities of strength, lightness, and flexibility. However, titanium is very difficult to color so titanium frames usually come in a very restricted range of eyeglasses frames colors. Eyeglass frames that are 100% titanium are also a hypo-allergenic--they do not contain any nickel which causes allergic reactions in some people. There are many other allergies (to plastics, stainless, and various other materials commonly used to make eyewear), and 100% titanium eye glasses frames are a good choice for people with allergies to any of these materials. Many designer eye glasses frames brands use titanium in some part of their collection.
Stainless steel (Wikipage) is comprised mostly of iron, with a mixture of nickel, manganese, and chromium. Stainless steel is highly lustrous, and makes a good thin and sturdy eye glasses frames with strong corrosion resistance. Although it is hard to make eye glasses frames with stainless steel due to soldering and welding difficulties, stainless steel temples are especially springy.
Nylon (Wikipage) is virtually unbreakable, so it is often chosen for sports and safety applications. Nylon is lightweight and flexible, but can only accept opaque colors. Nylon is a soft material, so it scratches easily, and is used in many low-cost, low-quality eyeglass frame and sunglasses applications.
Nickel Silver, Alpaca, German Silver
Sometimes called "Alpaca" or "German Silver", nickel silver (Wikipage) is rigid compared to other more malleable metals. Nickel silvers contain more than 50% copper, 25% nickel, and the rest zinc (no silver at all). Copper adds pliability, zinc adds strength, and nickel gives it its namesake color, a whitish appearance, because when the nickel content exceeds 12% the copper color no longer shows through. Although the metal is lustrous, its brittleness makes it a poor choice for slender frame fronts and nose pads. Thus, it is better designed for use in hinges, endpieces, bridges and ornamental trims, as well as an inner core for temples.
Aluminum (WIkipage) is cut from a block, is lightweight and low in density. This makes the material strong, and yet light enough to use for thick fashion designs. Aluminum can accept a variety of colors, and chemical anodizing is sometimes used to create black, brown and gold colors. Because aluminum cannot be easily welded or soldered, endpieces, hinges, and nose pads must be fastened with rivets or screws, increasing the chance that those pieces fall out causing the frame to fail. This greatly limits the design possibilities. Aluminum is also very stiff, which limits its versatility. However, the lightness and stiffness of aluminum in some eye glasses designs offers great advantages. For example, for metal frames that are thicker in design, and larger in design, aluminum is the toughest material and can accommodate the thickest and heaviest lenses. Aluminum frames last a long time and can take a lot of abuse compared to plastic frames, or thin metal frames. Revue Eyewear uses aluminum in many of its glasses, as well as some Neostyle glasses. Use the advanced search function to see all the aluminum frames we offer.
Flexon is a trade name for one company's flexible eyeglasses frames material. Flexible eyeglass frames are available in many compositions, but the goal is always the same. This kind of material is used in eyeglass frames in order to reduce breakage. It is normally found in the shaft of the temple and in the bridge, and it allows these areas to endure tremendous twisting without breakage or permanent distortion of the frames shape.
Some people have an allergic reaction to certain metals, especially nickel and certain plastics, which are common component materials used to make eyewear. Hypo-allergenic frames, such as titanium frames, do not contain such materials.
Glasses Frame Parts
Eyeglass frames have several components. The names of the different frame parts are useful to know. Glasses frames have two basic parts: the frame front that holds the lenses, and the temples that hold the frame from falling off your face.
The frame front is composed of two eyepieces connected by the bridge. The eyepieces hold the lenses and connect to the temples by hinges. The bridge is the part over your nose. Usually, there is just one piece of material connecting the two eyepieces, called a single bridge construction, although some especially larger frames have a double-bridge for extra support, with two pieces of material connecting the two eyepieces.
The eyepieces on a full-frame completely encircle the lens. On metal frames, the eyepiece is held together with a screw that is removed when the lenses are installed, and then replaced. On plastic eyeglasses frames, the eyepiece is heated until it expands, the lens is snapped into position, the frame cools and contracts snugly around the lens. On half-rimless frames, the lens in held in place by a nylon cord called the eyewire that attaches to the frame in two places. The rim of a pair of eyeglasses is the part of the eyeglasses frames eyepiece that holds the lens in place. The rim can completely encircle a lens in the case of full frames, or partially hold the frame in the case of semi-rimless frames, or there can be no rim at all in the case of rimless frames.
On the outer edge of each eyepiece some material extends out beyond the shape of the lens. This is called the endpiece. Connected to it is the hinge which holds the temples to the frame front. Endpieces can be designed to be larger so that a bigger person can wear a somewhat smaller lens without the frame pinching the sides of the head.
Many eyeglasses frames, most commonly metal frames, have nosepads attached to the inside of the bridge. Nosepads are normally made of a plastic or silicone materials, and aid in the comfortable resting of the frame on the wearer's nose. Nosepads can be adjusted not only to accommodate an individual's nasal structure, but also the proper positioning of the lenses in front of on the wearer's nose.
Nosepads are attached to pad arms, which are welded to the frame front. Nosepad arms are made of a malleable metal so that they can be adjusted (bent) during a fitting. This metal is then welded on to the frame front which can be made of titanium, monel, stainless, or other materials. Occasionally these weld points weaken and the pad arms break off the frame where they connect. Nosepads are attached by a screw (screw-in nosepads), or require no screw (push-in nosepads). Most nosepads are designed either of these two ways so that the nosepads can be replaced when they wear out.
Pad arms are always made out of malleable metal so they can be adjusted, even on titanium or aluminum frames. Plastic eyeglasses frames, and some metal eyeglasses frames do not have nosepads; they have a saddle bridge construction. This term refers to a style of bridge in which the arched portion of the bridge lies directly on the bridge of the wearer's nose. Saddle bridges are more common with plastic frames than with metal frames. Metal frames with saddle bridges do not have nosepads.
There are many different types for frame temples, which connect and hold the frame's front to the wearers head behind and below the ears. The most common is the skull temple, with the long straight shaft that is bent with a 45 degree angle at the top of the ear near the end of the temple which is called the temple tip. The shaft is the straight part that extends from the connection point at the eyeglasses frame front to the bend in the temple. Library temples are straight all-shaft temples with no bend in them. Most eyeglasses frames' temples have temple tips that are malleable so that they can be changed (bent) to adjust the fit of the glasses. Frames that are made of titanium, aluminum, and stainless often have a different type of metal welded on to the temple tips. Temple tips are usually coated by a plastic material that is designed to give and adjust to the metal if the metal is bent during an adjustment. These plastic temple tips covers can become worn out. On some frames they are designed to be replaced.
Cable temples refer to curly temple tips, which curl behind your ears. Cable temples hold glasses in place better and are a good choice for people in active situations and/or for children. However, cable temples are not easy to adjust. Since the metal is not designed to be adjusted easily, if they pinch your ear, it is very difficult to remedy.
Eyeglasses frames' hinges are used to connect the temples to the front of the eyeglasses frames, while allowing the temple to fold flat against the frame. Most frames use external hinges, which are mounted on the inside of the temple shaft. Internal hinges are buried inside the shaft of the temple, hiding the mechanism from view. Hinges are a small but very important component in the overall quality of your eyeglass frame. If the hinge is not mounted on the frame properly, it will disengage which leads to a very difficult (or impossible) repair job. Low quality hinges with wear out, the screw will pop out and get lost, and they will wear quickly leading to rattling or sloppy action. With friction that is consistent throughout the entire range of motion, good quality hinges have a smooth and consistent action that does not wear over time. We still find that the best quality hinges are made in Germany. You can find these in European and Chinese frames, and in most other better quality frames. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find out from the manufacturers which hinges they use in a particular frame.
A spring hinge is a hinge that is mounted on the temple shaft and allows for spring action. Spring action hinges can bend beyond the limit of normal hinges, helping to limit breakage of the frame when under stress. Spring action hinges also help to keep frames properly aligned. Spring hinges are found on both external and internal hinges.
Hingeless Glasses Frames
Hingeless eyeglasses frames use a very springy material, usually titanium, for the temples. The springiness of the temples lightly pinches your head to hold the glasses in place. This system results in a lighter weight pair of glasses, fewer components that could break, and a sleek design.
Clip On Glasses
Clip-on sunglasses lenses are available for some eyeglasses frames. Clip-ons are simply frame fronts with plano sunglass lenses, no temples, and an attachment mechanism to hold on to the underlying frame. The clip-ons usually match the eyeglasses frame in shape and color, and attach either by clips or with magnets. Regular clip-ons require two hands to add and remove the clips, but magnetic clip-ons (hold to the frame with magnets instead of clips) can be added or removed with just one hand.
Glasses Frame Quality
Determining glasses frame quality is quite difficult, even for an eyewear industry professional. The most reliable determinant of the quality of a pair of glasses frames is the feel of them in your hand. Do they rattle? Do they feel stiff and solid? When you exercise the hinges do they move smoothly and with the same friction throughout the bend? A better quality glasses frame has a higher level of machined perfection, so that the better quality parts fit together well. Just because a designer glasses frame has a brand affiliation, it does not mean that the glasses frame is of high quality.
Consider glass frame design model A: using German hinges and Italian Mazzucchelli zyl, which are considered the best, results in an excellent quality European glasses frame. Yet this same frame design model A could instead use Mazzucchelli zyl from China (same company, different factory), Chinese hinges, and be assembled in a Chinese factory. The Chinese frame would be very difficult to differentiate from the original, except that it would be designated Made in China. Now, let's say that this same frame model A used Mazzucchelli zyl from China, and Chinese hinges, but was assembled in Italy, it would be called Italian eyewear, Made in Italy. Most European eyewear nowadays (except for a few high end brands) that is made in Europe is made mostly of Chinese components. You can understand why determining glasses frame quality is so difficult.
Glasses Made in China Quality
Nowadays, about 90% of all eyeglasses are made in China. All of the major Italian glasses frame companies have moved the majority of their production to China. Many of the eyeglasses that are made in China are then shipped to Europe where a minimal amount of assembly or finishing work is done so that the glasses frames can receive the Made in Europe designation. There are some designers, like Alain Mikli, Lafont, and Silhouette and a few others that make their glasses frames completely in Europe. Brands like Armani, Gucci, and other big fashion houses are mostly made in China, and then finished in Europe. This is not to say that China eyewear is of inferior quality. China has been making eyewear for many years and the quality is quite good.
International Quality Components
Glasses frames are a composite of many different parts. Eyewear manufacturers source parts from all around the world, and can assemble glasses frames in different places as well. A plastic glasses frame is composed of the plastic frame front, plastic temples (with wire running through part of the shaft), and hinges. Metal glasses are composed of the metal frame front, metal in the temples, plastic jackets to cover the temples, hinges, frame front, nosepads, and nosepad arms.
Hinges are a small but very important component in the overall quality of your glasses frame. If the hinge is not mounted on the frame properly, it will disengage which leads to a very difficult (or impossible) repair job. Low quality hinges will wear out, the screw will pop out and get lost, and they will wear quickly leading to rattling or sloppy action. Good quality hinges have a smooth and consistent action that does not wear over time, with friction that is consistent throughout the entire range of motion.
Can there be anything easier to wear when it comes to eyewear than Memory Metal in flexible eyeglasses? Flexible glasses with their memory metals dominate in an optical arena full of superb tech innovations. That is because these flexible glasses frames are a perfect solution from fit to finish and strength to flexibility. Although Flexon is the leader in this category, but Eyeglasses.com also likes TitanFlex.
TVs are bigger than some... er... homes. And the same hunger for tech goes for eyeglasses. Reflect on the fact that nothing in eyewear flexes high-tech muscle better than seeing super-tech memory metal frame flexible eyeglasses posturing on someone's face! It seem that everyone wants to flaunt some enduring style these days when it comes to the latest eyewear shapes and colors, particularly how those factors relate to current fashion and lifestyle trends. The current world of memory metals in flexible eyeglasses does that with an array of colors and shapes.
Retailing thrives on brand recognition these days. Designer brands are namedropped continually in successful marketing efforts to connect with every demographic segment of every product in the world. And the draw is not just fashion. Lifestyle names proliferate as key connections to assuring customer satisfaction and luring loyalty across a range of products. Even in tough times, "cheap" is a dirty word on both sides of the dispensing table. Eyewear must be priced right in accordance with its quality, its brand connotation and its warranty life.
And now for the BIG picture:
Consumers are no longer content with flimsy frames (or overly rigid frames for that matter) with a life-span dictated by normal, as well as extreme usage conditions. A flexible metal eyeglasses frame composed of the space- age attributes afforded memory metals delivers a unique combination of strength, lightness AND bend- ability ensuring longer-term, active-lifestyle usage. And as the tech-of-it-all becomes cutting- edge mainstream, the pricing has adjusted to a point of greater availability to a wider range of demographics with appropriate fashionable styling (and the added impetus of brand identities) as a partner to that affordability.
Fit? What could be finer than a metal flexible eyeglasses frame that doesn't stretch out over time, never loses its frontal face plain to an over-stressed bridge and channels the contours of its temple-to-ear virtually forever? In a world where far too many promises of a bold, new future never really happen, it's nice to feel the satisfaction of a technological break-through initiated by the space-race of the '60s and '70s coming to fruition right on the frames of the faces of satisfied consumers. Stay flexible, stay informed and, most of all, commit to a category of eyewear literally built on flexing with these changing high-tech times.
Rimless eyeglass frames have been around for years, but have recently been rediscovered, and are now featured by many of the top designer eyewear brands. Rimless eyeglasses have less frame material, and no frame around the rim of the lens, so the glasses seem to float on the face. Rimless glasses, of all the frame designs, reveal the greatest amount of your face. The light lines and contours of rimless glasses add a delicacy, grace, and refined quality that regular eyeglass frames cannot provide. Rimless glasses are ultralight and very comfortable to wear. The really light rimless titanium glasses, like the Silhouette rimless eyeglasses, are feather light and a real pleasure to wear, especially if you are used to wearing heavy glasses. Not only are they light, but they tend to stay in one place better than regular glasses.
Rimless eyeglasses frames are available in many different shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. Using the frame search function, you can search for the specific features you want: rimless plastic, rimless metal, rimless titanium; frame size, frame color, and frame brand. Rimless eyeglasses are available with regular hinges, with spring hinges, and with no hinges. Rimless glasses come with nosepads, and without nosepads (called a saddle bridge). In general, rimless eyeglass frames cost a little more than their rimmed counterparts because it is more complicated to mount the lenses into rimless glasses.
Rimless Glasses Lenses
Rimless eyeglasses have no frame at all around the lens. A rimless eyeglass frame comes in three pieces (two temples and the nose part). Rimless eyeglass frames use the eyeglass lenses as part of the construction of the frame, so your choice of lenses is important. Eyeglasses.com only makes rimless eyeglasses using polycarbonate, Trivex, or high index lenses. Regular plastic lenses should never be used to make rimless glasses because they tend to crack easily. Any rimless glasses can be made into sunglasses, either regular sunglasses or prescription sunglasses.
Mounting lenses into rimless eyeglass frames is tricky and requires a skilled and experienced technician. Each lens must be drilled perfectly so that the frame fits snugly into the lens. Poorly mounted rimless eyeglass frames may begin to rattle, and eventually crack the lens. One advantage of buying rimless eyeglasses online at eyeglasses.com is that our labs produce very high quality rimless mountings.
Rimless glasses vary in the construction of the frame and how it is attached to the lenses. Double drilled frames are much less likely to begin rattling and to loosen, but it is a more technically difficult job to mount the glasses, so you need to be sure the optical professional doing the mounting has had a lot of experience. Most rimless glasses do not have a double-drilled construction. Instead, they have a notched construction which is easier for the optical professional to make, but is more liable to loosen up over time.
A half-rimless eyeglasses frame design has a rim on part of the frames eye holding a lens, and on the other part a nylon cord secures the lens in place. The rim on a half-rimless frame is most commonly on the top of the lens, although occasionally it is located on the bottom of the lens.
As more and more people become aware of reading glasses as a fashion accessory, reading glasses are finding their way out of the drugstore and into the department store. Because you do not need a prescription for reading glasses, you can buy reading lenses and reading glasses online and in many stores. You can buy reading glasses for as little as a few dollars, but the quality of the low-cost reading glasses is quite low. Follow this link to see our entire collection of reading glasses online.
Non-Prescription (Stock) Reading Glasses versus Prescription Reading Glasses
The least expensive way to buy reading glasses online is to buy stock reading glasses. You can find these types of reading glasses in many different stores. Just choose a pair off the rack which seem the best fit for your reading needs.
If you need vision correction only for reading and you do not have astigmatism, then you can buy non-prescription reading glasses. If you do have astigmatism, you need prescription reading glasses. In both cases, these are still considered single vision lenses.
Non-prescription reading glasses simply magnify objects that are close to us, like the letters in a book. Your eye doctor can determine the magnification power that is best for you, or you can figure it out by yourself through trial and error. A doctor's prescription is not required in order to select a reading lens. Drugstore reading glasses are simply eyeglasses frames with magnifying lenses pre-installed in a range of stock lens powers. It is usually less expensive to purchase reading eyeglasses this way, but stock lens powers rarely provide an optimal vision correction. For best results, you need reading lenses with magnification customized to your needs installed in a pair of eyeglasses frames.
It is easy to lose reading glasses. Many people have several pairs stashed around the home, car, and office so there will always be a pair around when its needed. Some people prefer folding reading glasses, since this type of reading glasses folds up into a small package and is easy to carry. The problem with stock reading eyeglasses is that they may not work well for your eyes. To get the most effective reading eyeglasses for your eyes, Eyeglasses.com recommends that you visit an eye doctor to get a prescription for reading. Ask your eye doctor how well served you will be with stock reading eyeglasses, or whether it is better for you to invest in custom reading lenses.
Some common problems stock reading eyeglasses issues:
1. Stock reading glasses are made for a one-size-fits-all. The optical centers of stock reading glasses may be too wide or too narrow for your face. If you don’t look through the center of the lens, you may not see clearly and/or you may get headaches or dizziness. Follow this link to learn about your pupillary distance, and its importance for lenses that are perfect for you.
2. Most people do not have the same prescription in each eye, but the lenses of stock reading glasses always have the same power. Many people have astigmatism, which is not corrected in stock reading glasses. This too could lead to not seeing clearly, headaches, and/or nausea.
3. Stock reading glasses, especially the $20 variety found in drugstores and superstores, use low quality plastic lenses that may not be formed properly. The plastic could have blurriness and/or bubbles which impairs your vision. Follow this link to read more about lens quality.
4. Reading glasses are designed for a reading focal length, about 12” to 18”. Many people buy reading glasses to read the computer screen, which is normally 24” to 36” away from your face. This will make it more difficult to see the screen, and can cause you to change your posture in your chair leading to neck strain, back strain, and eye strain.
Custom Reading Glasses
Custom reading glasses are just eyeglass frames with custom lenses. Typically, this option will be more expensive than buying stock reading glasses, but the quality of the glasses not only will be much higher, but also much better suited for your eyes and your lifestyle. To put together custom reading glasses, you need to select a frame and then install lenses. One thing you cannot do is to buy reading glasses at a drugstore and then install custom lenses. The reason is that the drug store frames are not ophthalmic quality - they are too low quality to accept a custom lens. However, if you have some ophthalmic quality eyeglasses, it is easy to bring them back to life by installing new custom lenses. Follow this link to read about how to get replacement lenses.
Types of Prescription Reading Glasses
Reading glasses are simply magnifying lenses that make objects larger. But there are several different ways to accomplish this goal, so you can choose from a number of different types of reading glasses depending on your lifestyle and needs. Just like regular eyeglasses, reading glasses are available with a full frame, with a half-frame, and as no-frame rimless. Half-frame reading glasses and rimless reading glasses are practical because it is easier to look over the top of the frame when switching from close-up to distance viewing.
You can see our selection of full-frame reading glasses, half-frame reading glasses, and rimless reading glasses by going to our Frame Search page.
Full-Eye and Half-Eye
There are many different types of reading glasses, but the first and most important choice you must make is whether you want a full frame or a half-eye. Full-eye frame reading glasses look like regular eyeglasses, with a frame that goes all the way around the lens, and the lenses sit directly in front of your eyes. Full-eye reading glasses are good when you spend a long time concentrating on material close-up. When you look up from reading, objects in the distance appear blurry. Half-eye reading glasses are flat on the top of the frame, and are designed to sit down on your nose so that you look down through the lens when reading. When you look up, you look through air over the lenses, not through a lens so objects in the distance are not blurry.
are designed to take up less space in your pocket or purse. There are many different designs of folding reading glasses. Some called pen readers or tube readers are reading glasses that fold into a little tube, that you can drop in your pocket. The tube helps to protect the reading glasses from getting crushed.
Bifocal reading glasses are glasses that have clear lenses at the top, and reading lenses at the bottom. With bifocal reading glasses, you can look straight through the top portion of the lens, and still get reading magnification when you look down. Rimless reading glasses are very practical because your eye does not have negotiate around the frame around the lens. The edge of the lens obstructs your vision much less than an eyeglass frame does. Follow this link to read more about rimless eyeglasses.
Bifocal and No-Line Readers
Stock reading glasses are available in a bifocal style, in which there is a line that separates the lower reading lens from the upper clear lens. No-line reading glasses perform the same function, but there is no visible line between the two different viewing areas. As you move your eyes down from the upper half, the magnification increases slowly allowing you to see better at different close up distances. Sun Readers Reading glasses with tinted lenses are designed so that you can read in bright light conditions. For reading in the sun, many people wear regular sunglasses with contact lenses underneath. Or you can wear regular sunglasses with stick-on magnifiers.
Monocles and Pince Nez
Believe it or not, Monocles (Wiki) and Pince Nez (Wiki) are still very much desired magnification devices. A monocle is a single round frame that is held in the eye socket. Pince nez means "pinch nose" and the frame literally pinches the side of the nose to hold it in place.
Choosing Glasses for Children
The most important issues in choosing glasses specifically for children are safety, durability, cost, and will they wear it? Regarding safety, children should only wear polycarbonate lenses. Cost and durability are related; you should not pay a lot for children’s glasses as kids are likely to damage, lose or outgrow them. To limit these problems, look for spring hinges that allow for some flexibility and help to avoid breakage at the temples. Stronger frame materials like titanium or flexible frames will last longer, but generally cost more. You may want to buy two pairs of cheaper frames for glasses and lenses instead of one pair of expensive frames. If your child is very active, you should consider cable temples that hold the frames for glasses to the ears better, but can also be annoying and painful behind the ears. Finally, (and most importantly) your child is more likely to wear the frames for glasses if he/she likes them.
Online Glasses Shopping For Children
Shopping for frames for glasses online for children is difficult (but not impossible) because of the special considerations for smaller children. The most important place to start is with the current eyeglasses frames they are using. Find out the size of the glasses, and then use the advanced search tool on Eyeglasses.com to find frames with a similar – or somewhat larger – size.
Your lifestyle, needs and preferences are the best guides for you to find the perfect prescription glasses, which are known medically as "Corrective Lenses."
- 1. Start by considering your lifestyle, and thinking about when and how you use your eyes.
- 2. Learn more about the Eyeglasses.com prescription glasses lens features, options, and services.
- 3. Select from the menu of prescription eye glasses lens options, the characteristics that will most support your lifestyle.
- 4. When you are ready, proceed to the Lens Wizard.
Prescription Glasses Lens Types
Single Vision Lenses
Your eyes may need vision correction only for distance, only for reading, or for both..
- If you need correction only for distance vision, then you only need single vision lenses in your prescription eye glasses. With single vision lenses, you can look through all areas of the lens and see clearly.
- If you need vision correction only for reading and you do not have astigmatism, then you can buy non-prescription glasses for reading.
- If you do have astigmatism, you need prescription reading glasses.
In either case, non-prescription glasses or prescription reading glasses are still considered single vision lenses.
If you need vision correction for both distance and reading, then you can use two pairs of prescription eye glasses, and alternate depending on what you need to see. Or, you can choose multifocal lenses (bifocal lenses, trifocal lenses, or progressive lenses). Many people find it inconvenient to switch between glasses as they change tasks such as driving to looking at a map for directions. Multifocal lenses divide the lens so that part of the lens is for reading and part of the lens is for distance vision. Bifocal (two areas) and trifocal (three areas) lenses have visible lines that separate the different areas of the lens.
Progressive Lenses Advantages
Progressive lenses, which are sometimes called no-line bifocals, are actually trifocal lenses without the visible lines. Prescription eyeglasses with progressive lenses were developed because many people wanted the convenience of having one pair of glasses that would satisfy all their seeing needs with a smooth transition when looking from distance objects to close up objects. With a lined bifocal, the transition between viewing areas can be somewhat uncomfortable from one area of the lens for distance viewing through the "line" marking the division to the other area of the lens for close up viewing.
Progressive Lenses Disadvantages
Although progressive lenses offer the convenience of multifocals without the visible line, some people find that they are much harder to get use to than bifocal or trifocal prescription eyeglasses. They are also much more expensive. In order to use progressive prescription glasses, you must learn to move your head to see things; you cannot just move your eyes because you will be looking through a blurry part of the lens. This is called adapting to the lens.
Adapting to New Lenses
You will need to learn how to adapt yourself to your new glasses, whether you get your new glasses from Eyeglasses.com or any other optical store. The adaptation period could be very quick, or it could take longer, depending on you, your glasses, and your prescription. It is very common to experience a feeling of disorientation while you adjust to your new glasses. If you are having trouble adjusting to your new glasses, work through this list in order:
- 1. If your prescription has changed recently, your eyes need extra time to adjust to the new lens.
- 2. If you are wearing multifocal lenses (progressive, bifocal, and trifocal lenses), you must learn to move your head, not your eyes.
- 3. The center of the lenses must be positioned directly in front of your eyes. Make an adjustment to the positioning of the glasses on your face, and be sure the glasses stay in that correct spot.
- 4. If you tried #1 through #3 and you still cannot adjust to your new glasses, it is possible that the pupillary distance measurement was taken incorrectly. It is also possible that your eye doctor gave you the wrong prescription. Sometimes they do make mistakes!
- 5. If you tried #1 through #4 and still are not satisfied with your lenses, send the glasses back to where you bought them.
If you bought your glasses at Eyeglasses.com, return them to us. Our technicians will double check to be sure that the lenses were made exactly to your specifications.
Go to our Return Policy page to learn more about our refund terms.
Prescription Glasses Lens Materials
Once you have determined the best lens type for your lifestyle, preferences, and budget, you can then choose the lens material. There are three basic types of lens material for prescription eye glasses--hard resin plastic, polycarbonate plastic, and high index plastic.
- - If your prescription is lower than +/-4.00, then hard resin is the best choice for you.
- - If it is above +/-4.00, then high index plastic is best for you.
- - If you are a child or an active adult and need some eye protection, then polycarbonate is best for you
Lenses made from Hard Resin, known as CR-39, are fine for most people. CR-39 lenses are light, scratch resistant and very shatter resistant.
On the other hand, Polycarbonate lenses are virtually unbreakable and are lighter and thinner than plastic. They are highly recommended for children and active adults. By active we refer to any activity that includes a possibility of receiving a blow to the face. For example, policemen, firemen, tennis and ball players, aggressive sporting activities - just to name a few. Wearing polycarbonate lenses may not save your eye, but they will certainly help, and a little added protection can't hurt! In general, if the sphere on your prescription is at +/-2.00 or lower, you will not benefit from the more expensive thin high index lens types. Hard resin or polycarbonate lenses will be just fine for you.
High Index Plastic is the most common thin lens material. It is 1/3 less thin than a normal plastic lens and does not contain the impact resistant qualities of polycarbonate. If the sphere on your prescription is higher than +/-2.00, you will benefit from the selection of a thin lens type.
Thinner lenses have three advantages:
- - They do not look thick
- - They do not magnify or minimize your eyes when seen by others
- - They are lighter.
In general, the thinner and lighter the lens, the more expensive it will be.
Aspheric is the most common thin lens design with a more complex front surface that gradually changes in curvature from the center of the lens out to the edge. Most aspheric lenses are made with high index plastic. The combination of an aspheric design with high-index lens materials creates a lens that is noticeably slimmer, thinner and lighter than conventional plastic or glass lenses.
Polycarbonate lenses can be purchased as aspheric, giving the wearer the advantage of polycarbonates strength together with aspherics thinness. The thinness of high index lenses is characterized by the index of refraction (IR).
- - Mid-high index lenses are commonly around a 1.56
- - High index lenses are around 1.60
- - Ultra-high index lenses are 1.66 and above.
All rimless eyeglasses must use polycarbonate, Trivex, or high index lenses to avoid cracking.
After you have selected the best prescription glasses lens material for your personal situation, you can choose among other lens features and options, such as sun-sensitive, scratch coating, anti-reflective coating, and UV protection (UV protection is always inherent in high index and polycarbonate lenses). If you want sunglasses, additional options could include tint, polarization, and mirror coatings. Additional lens services would include a mounting fee (applies only for rimless frames), and rolling and polishing (applies only to higher power lenses being mounted in certain frame types).
For more information on the various lens options, follow this link to eye glasses lenses.
Thick Lenses, Thin Lenses
The plastic used for lenses in prescription eyewear must have at least a 2.0 mm center thickness according to US law. The thickness at the lens edge depends on the strength of your prescription, your pupillary distance, the eye size of the frame, and the lens material. Because of all of these factors, it is nearly impossible to select a lens by its thinness. In general, the thinner and lighter the lens, the more expensive it will be. To make the optimal thickness/price choice for your personal situation, use the chart above as a guideline. You can choose to spend less money and have a thicker lens, or more money to have a thinner lens.
Also, within the mid-high index, high index, and ultra-high index categories you can also choose an aspheric design for additional thinness.
Your prescription can be measured by an optometrist (OD) or ophthalmologist (MD), but the information belongs to you and you should leave the doctor’s office with a copy of your glasses prescription. The glasses prescription can be used on any kind of eyeglasses. Note that your glasses prescription is not restricted to glasses that may be recommended by the doctor. Be sure to ask the doctor to measure your pupil distance and write that down on the eyeglasses prescription as well. If you have your eyeglasses prescription with your pupil distance when you leave your eye doctor’s office, then you can buy glasses with that prescription at any eyeglasses store. We strongly recommend that you fax your glasses prescription to Eyeglasses.com. We can read your eyeglasses prescription and then help find the best prescription eye glasses lens for you. FYI: For multifocal orders, we require that you fax your prescription to us.
Reading Your Prescription
Eyeglasses prescriptions have a certain format that is typically followed. The first line of your glasses prescription is always for the right eye, sometimes designated the OD. The second line is for the left eye, sometimes designated OS. The glasses prescription for each eye is divided into Sphere, Cylinder, and Axis values. It is common to have no values for any one of these, in which case you might see the letters PL or plano, or to have values for all of these. Sometimes the eyeglasses prescription may say OU which means both eyes.
Multifocal Eyeglasses Prescription
If your prescription is for bifocals or trifocals of progressive lenses, there may be additional information on the prescription that says for example Add +2.50. This is important information if you are ordering reading or multifocal lenses. The numbers are expressed in diopters (a universal value system) that tells the power of the lens. On a prescription for multifocal glasses lenses, you will see information designated as "add power". Your "add power" is simply the magnification that is added to your sphere value for distance vision, in order to create a field of view for reading. For example, if your sphere value for distance viewing is 3.00, and your add power is +2.00, then your near vision correction is 1.00. Or, if your sphere value for distance viewing is +1.00 and your add power is +2.00, then your near vision correction is +3.00.
Pupil Distance PD
An accurate PD is a required measurement in order to make prescription glasses, and you cannot purchase from Eyeglasses.com without one. Your PD is the distance in millimeters between your pupils (the centers of your eyes). Your adult PD never changes, and it averages 60 millimeters (mm) for women, and 64 mm for men. Sometimes your eye doctor will write your PD for each eye (for example 33/34, called a monocular pd). Or, the eye doctor may write the PD as 67/64. This means that your PD for distance vision (or DPD) is 67, and for near vision (or NPD, for reading eyeglasses or multifocal lenses) it is 64. Your near vision PD is almost always 3mm less than your distance vision PD.
Where to Get Your PD
Eye doctor ophthalmologists and optometrists usually do not measure your pupil distance, unless you ask for it. When you get your prescription, ask your eye doctor to measure your pupil distance. Write it on your prescription. Now you will be able to get lenses at any store you choose. Once you have your PD, you can upload your photo and use our Virtual Try On (VTO) system. With your PD in place, you will be able to virtually "try on" any frames to see if you like their size and shape on your face.
How Is Pupil Distance Measured?
The pupil distance is measured with an instrument called a “pupilometer” that is put up to your face. Any optical store employee can measure your pupil distance with this instrument, it is not required to be measured by an eye doctor. Any optical store will have a pupillometer. Eye doctors assume that you will have your pupillary distance measurement taken in the optical store which is why they don't automatically measure it during an exam.
How to Measure Your Own Pupil Distance "PD"
Follow these easy instructions to learn the easiest method of How to Measure Your PD. Your Pupillary Distance (PD) is something you can also measure with the help of a friend. However, we strongly recommend that you have an eye care professional measure your pupillary distance with a pupillometer. For strong prescriptions, this is a requirement. For weak prescriptions, and for use in our Try On software, here are some instructions for measuring your own pupillary distance.
You need help to measure your pupillary distance. Ask your friend to do the following:
- - Find a ruler with millimeter measurements, and hold it up to the bridge of your nose.
- - Have your friend close one eye.
- - Your friend should align the ruler's zero on the left, in the center of your pupil. The pupil is the black spot in the middle of the eye.
- - Without moving the ruler, have the friend move their head to the right and read the millimeter line corresponding to your other pupil.
- - Repeat the process two or three times for accuracy.
- - Record your results.
This measurement is fine for the Virtual Try On (VTO) system to see how you look in a pair of eyeglasses. However, we recommend that a professional measure your PD since our guarantee of perfect lenses is VOIDED if we make lenses based on a faulty pupillary distance measurement.
How to Submit a Glasses Prescription
There are many ways to submit a prescription to Eyeglasses.com. You can pick the easiest method from the list below, or simply call us and we will help you 1-888-896-3885 M-F, 9am to 6pm EST.
- - Photograph it with your phone, or scan it, and email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- - Go to www.eyeglasses.com, create an account, and upload to the website.
- - Fax it to 1-888-896-3866
- - For replacement lens orders, put your prescription in the box with the glasses you send us.
- - Visit one of our stores, and drop it off. Or, call us to make an appointment for an eye exam.
Cleaning Glasses Lenses
Cleaning eyeglasses lenses properly takes time and patience. The best way to scratch your eyeglasses lenses is by cleaning them improperly. The people that have chronically scratched lenses are most likely the ones that are improperly cleaning their lenses.
The best way to clean your lenses:
- - Warm soapy water. Hold the frames under a faucet of warm water. Get your fingers soapy and GENTLY rub the lenses and the frame. This will remove grease and dirt without scratching the lenses.
- - Lens Cleaner. You can use lens cleaner from a small spray bottle if it is more convenient, but we prefer the water method if at all possible.
- Gently Dab Dry. The biggest mistake people make is to rub too hard. Rubbing hard, especially on a dry lens, is where most of the scratches come from. Gently dab the cloth on the lens until it is dry.
- - Use a Soft Cloth*.
*The best cloth to use is a microfiber cloth, followed by a clean cotton cloth, followed by a tissue or toilet paper, followed by paper towels, followed by sandpaper (just kidding). FYI: If your cloth is not soft, the lenses will scratch. If your cloth is not clean, the lenses may get scratched.
Cleaning Glasses Frames
Cleaning eyeglass frames is also best done with soapy warm water. If you clean just the lenses, the dirt and facial oils from the frame will eventually find their way onto the lenses. You can also take your prescription glasses to a local optical store, which has a machine for cleaning eyeglass frames. However, if your frame has any inlaid gems, you should not have them cleaned by machin