Different Types of Glasses, Lenses, and Coatings: Everything You Need to Know
Eyeglasses have become a trendy accessory that not only correct people’s vision but also representing fashion and lifestyle. With so many different types and styles available, it can be hard to find the perfect pair of glasses.
Before you start shopping, it’s important to understand the different types of frames, lenses, lens coatings, and treatments available to you. Selecting the right type of glasses can help to correct or improve vision issues and common eye problems.
Before you start reading, you probably know that glasses can be expensive. Fortunately, with the right information, you can filter through all the options available to determine which type of glasses are best suited for your lifestyle. Then, you can make a decision that’s within your budget while fulfilling all your vision needs.
Types of Glasses Frames
When most people think of glasses, they first think of frames. There are many different types of frames made from a variety of materials, such as plastic, metal, and even wood.
Knowing what type of frames you want or prefer can make the entire shopping process much easier, especially since frames come in a myriad of different materials, colors and styles.
1. Full-Rim Glasses
2. Half-Rim Glasses
3. Rimless Glasses
4. Shield Frame Glasses
Even though there are distinct parts to glasses frames, you'll soon see that they are the same, regardless of what type of frames you have.
Parents should consider getting their kids a pair of full-rim glasses because of their durability. Although they may feel a little bit heavier, they are often a popular choice for people with an active lifestyle.
Half-rim glasses have frames without a complete rim structure around the lens. Instead, there is a solid structure overtop of the lens, which can considerably reduce the weight of the frame.
Rimless glasses have lenses attached at the bridge (the part across your nose) and the hinges that connect to the arms. These types of glasses are ideal for people who want to minimize people being distracted by bulky or colorful lenses.
Shield frames are a unique style of glasses designed to protect against unwanted debris and light in the peripheral areas. Although these frames may seem like a bold fashion statement, they offer substantial protection for your eyes.
Types of Lenses for Glasses
Next, come your lenses. Just as technology advances, so do eyeglasses lenses. Traditionally, all lenses were made of glass. However, nowadays they come in a variety of different materials.
Aspheric lenses, often labelled as ASPH on eyewear, are known for being the most powerful truism on the market. Vision through aspheric lenses often appear closer to natural vision and offer superior optical performance.
The spherical design of aspheric lenses have three distinct advantages:
1. Spherical Aberration
Blurry vision through eyeglasses occurs when light enters the surface of a lens and creates a variety of focal points. The design of aspheric lens has less curvature and results in a single focal point, which provides clearer, sharper vision and reduces the effect of peripheral distortion.
Typically, distortion is caused when straight lines are bent through a lens due to increasing magnification or minification. With aspherical lens, this distortion is reduced by decreasing power at the edge. This reduces or eliminates barrel distortion on minus lenses and pincushion distortion on plus lenses.
3. Marginal Astigmatism
This occurs when light entering a lens with spherical or cylindrical power gain causes light to focus at the lens edge. The result is an unequal magnification of the image due to it being focused in a different location. Aspherical lenses reduce these problems by reducing power gain at the periphery, allowing for a clearer, more accurate image.
Ultimately, the thinner and flatter design of aspheric is a popular choice for prescription eyeglasses.
CR-39, also known as allyl diglycol carbonate (ADC), is a lightweight, low-cost plastic polymer type of lens. Most eyeglasses will use CR-39 lenses.
Benefits of CR-39 Lenses
- Lightweight material
- Provides excellent optical performance (even for high prescriptions)
- Can easily add a scratch resistance layer for increased durability
- Recommended for working with chemicals and paints
- Ideal for everyday use
CR-39 is half the weight of glass. This makes them a popular choice for readers because they offer incredible comfort while remaining at a lower price point.
In the early days of vision correction, glass was the only material uses to create lenses. While there are many alternatives available today, many people continue to choose glass lenses for their exceptional optical clarity.
Benefits of Glass Lenses
- Superior optical clarity with little to no distortion
- Very strong materials, both scratch resistant and durable
- Can be thinner than plastic lenses (which can be more desirable)
- Often used for bifocals and trifocals
The biggest concern for glass lenses are their ability to shatter or break very easily, which can cause extreme harm to the eye or result in loss of vision. Its recommended not to use glass lenses for active lifestyles or sports while being better used for general activities and reading.
It can be frustrating to carry around a regular pair of eyeglasses and sunglasses to go about your day-to-day. Luckily, the invention of photochromic lenses now provides 2-in-1 eyewear that adapts to the changes of the sun and your surroundings.
Also, for people with prescriptions, photochromic lenses work as an alternative to prescription sunglasses.
Benefits of Photochromic Lenses
- Adapts to environmental changes (indoors, outdoors, low-light conditions, etc.)
- Helps reduces the glaring effect of the sun
- Available for most prescriptions
- Offer daily protection against the sun's harmful UV rays
- Eliminates the need to carry two pairs of glasses
- Available in a variety of different colors
Recently, technology for creating photochromic lenses has advanced to allow rapid changes to adjust to environmental conditions. If you're the type of person that often goes in and out throughout the day, you might want to consider a pair of glasses to use this lens.
Polycarbonate lenses are composed of a thermoplastic polymer offering ten times more impact resistance than glass or regular plastic lenses. These are the go-to lenses for people who are athletic, active in sports, and workplace safety.
Benefits of Polycarbonate Lenses
- Superior impact resistance
- Ideal for safety
- Smart choice for athletes and active lifestyles
- Lightweight and thin
- Capable of blocking more than 99% of UV rays
Fun fact: Polycarbonate lenses can survive the impact of a steel ball traveling at 160 km/h without shattering.
Trivex lenses are quite similar to polycarbonate lenses except that they are cast molded using a urethane-based monomer. Trivex is thicker than polycarbonate lenses but thinner than regular plastic lenses.
Benefits of Trivex Lenses
- Arguably, the safest lenses on the market
- Lightweight and impact resistant
- Provides 100% protection from UV rays
- Has a high Abbe value (i.e., has less chromatic aberration)
Trivex lenses are commonly used for rimless frames, children's eyewear, and anyone who needs safe, comfortable glasses.
Ultra-thin lenses, or high-index lenses, are made of a plastic material that bends light more than the standard CR39 lenses. These lenses tend to be more cosmetically appealing and come in the following three sizes:
1. Thin = 1.60 High Index Lens
2. Ultra-Thin = 1.67 High Index Lens
3. Thinnest = 1.774 High Index Lens
As a general rule of thumb, the higher the index, the more expensive these lenses will be. However, the quality offered, along with the aesthetic appeal of these lenses, make it worth the investment.
Types of Multifocal Eyeglass Lenses
Many people who are age 40 or over often experience presbyopia, the loss of focusing ability that comes with age. Since most eyeglasses use single-vision lenses, people dealing with presbyopia or other focusing issues can highly benefit from multifocal lenses. This also includes people who already have prescription glasses for vision correction.
Multifocal eyeglass lenses have two or more lens powers which can help you see objects at varying distances. When you lose the ability to change the focus of your eyes naturally, a multifocal lens allows you to keep your vision sharp regardless of the distance.
Bifocal lenses contain two lens powers that typically allow for viewing objects near and far. Usually, the two areas on the lens are separated by a visible line.
Bifocal lenses are commonly prescribed for people with presbyopia and also conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.
Trifocal lenses contain three lens powers to correct for distance, intermediate, and near vision. Trifocals are unique because they provide an additional correction for intermediate, or arm's length, distances directly above the reading section.
Trifocals are quite useful for people who spend a lot of time on the computer or experience vision loss due to presbyopia.
Progressive lenses are similar to both bifocals and trifocals but have no distinct line to separate the reading areas.
For some people, progressive lenses cause problems and may be challenging to find the appropriate visual area to focus on an object. Often, people adapt by moving their head but should learn how to change the field of view by moving their eyes. While this may seem like a drawback, once people figure this out, they often find progressive lenses to be preferred over bifocals and trifocals.
Reading glasses are non-prescription lenses that help to magnify text to make reading easier. They provide additional comfort for anyone who has focusing issues, regardless of age.
Many people choose to use reading glasses for presbyopia and switch to their regular glasses when they don't need to see up close.
Anyone hesitant about purchasing reading glasses over-the-counter can get prescription lenses for reading. Simply visit your eye doctor to discuss your needs and situation.
Types of Eyeglass Coatings for Lenses
Your glasses don't end with your frames or lenses; you should also consider different types of coatings and treatments for your lenses. Treatments can lead to a bigger price tag for your glasses, but the right ones will allow you to get the most out of your glasses. There are also many additional prescription lens services, so they work better for your needs and lifestyle.
Anti-fog coating is a treatment that prevents fogging from occurring on the surface of eyeglasses. There are many benefits to treating your glasses with an anti-fog coating, such as:
- Reduce fogging effects in hot and humid environments
- Easily manage sudden environmental changes
- Maintain optimal visibility, regardless of conditions
If fogging is a concern, applying an anti-fog coating can drastically improve your visual performance and effectiveness. Consider this if you're in a workplace environment and need to maintain optimal visual ability to perform your job and remain safety compliant.
Anti-reflective coating, or anti-glare coating, can improve vision and reduce eye strain. When this coating is applied, it eliminates reflections from the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses.
For children and teens who spend a significant amount of time on TV, computers, and smartphones, having an anti-reflective coating can be very beneficial. Digital eye strain in children and teens is a growing concern but can be alleviated with anti-reflective coating or blue light treatment on their lenses.
Have you ever seen eyeglasses with lenses that look like a mirror? This is achieved with a mirror coating that uses an optical reflective coating on the outside of the lens.
Mirror coating can help decrease the amount of light that passes through by as much as 60%, which makes them ideal for people who are sensitive to light and go hiking in higher altitudes.
Although it may be impossible to 100% scratch-proof your lenses, applying a scratch-resistant coating can improve durability and prolong their usage. When lenses are treated with a scratch-resistant coating, it makes the lens surface harder and offers more protection from a fall or being rubbed against and abrasive material.
Tinted coating provides an additional hint of color to eyeglass lenses. There are different levels of tint that can be applied to lenses depending on how opaque you want your eyeglasses to be. In general, the deeper the tint, the more protection you'll have from UV radiation.
Ultraviolet coating, or UV coating, provides your eyes with an additional layer of protection from the sun. Just as your skin needs sunscreen, eyeglasses need to be treated to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun.
Some of the common side effects of UV rays include:
- Skin cancer of the eyelids
- Pinguecula/pterygium (growth on the white of the eye)
- Macular degeneration
Fortunately, most lenses are now made with some form of UV protection.
Glasses Through History
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.
TYPES OF GLASSES FRAME MATERIALS
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.
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.