Having had poor eyesight my whole life, vision care has always been an important issue to me. Because of the extent of correction my eyes needed, my frames needed to be large enough to accommodate the lenses that were required to correct my vision. I was thrilled when I could finally ditch my “coke bottle bottom” glasses and wear contact lenses. Once I graduated to contacts, I no longer had to deal with the weight of them on my face – they were always sliding down my nose. I was eager to show the world my whole face instead of it being obscured behind those thick, unattractive glasses.
Throughout decades of contact-wearing, however, my vision has changed. My new choice for vision correction is glasses – not contacts – for the first time since I was a teenager. Why did I switch back to glasses? Because, just like my vision, the technology of vision correction has changed dramatically. I was thrilled to discover how many options exist to remove my objection to wearing glasses. I learned a lot from my recent visit to the optometrist and thought I’d pass along the knowledge I gained to help you be a more informed consumer of eyeglasses.
Get the right correction for your needs
I flat-out asked my doctor which solution – contacts or glasses – would correct my vision best. He said that since I needed bifocals for the first time, (eek!) that glasses would work best.
- Traditional bifocal lenses have a half-circle in the center, which is where you focus to see up-close, like for reading. The half-circle is visible to others, too, so is considered by some to be unattractive.
- Progressive lenses are a newer type of “multi-focal” lens. These lenses are made differently, using a gradient of increasing power so that the “sweet spot” for up-close viewing is more spread out, not limited to the center of the lens. This makes the experience of close-to-far sight less choppy and overall vision more natural. They also don’t have the visible bifocal “line” – they look just like single-vision lenses. Progressive lenses are more costly but are considered worth it for both cosmetic and vision reasons.
Get the right type of lenses
- Polycarbonate lenses are lighter than glass and shatter-resistant, making them the safe choice for children and those who participate in sports to wear.
- Scratch-resistant coating makes your lenses less likely to get scratches which impair your vision through them.
- Anti-reflective treatment allows light to pass through, rather than reflect off the lenses, providing clearer vision, less eyestrain when using the computer and under fluorescent light, less nighttime glare, and a clearer view of your eyes when people look at you.
- UV protection is critical to the health of your eyes and for preventing the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. A clear UV protection is available, or you can get Transitions lenses (which change according to the amount of available light) or traditional sunglasses.
Get the right frames
Regardless of style, they should fit properly and be an appropriate size for the corrective lens you need.
- Metal frames can be flexible, lightweight and less noticeable.
- Plastic frames can be sturdier and have more fashionable options but are rigid and heavier.
All these options allowed me to have a pair of glasses that are not only attractive but help me see incredibly well, are lightweight, fit well and are good for my eyes. Remember to choose what’s most important and appropriate for you and you’ll spend your eye care dollars wisely.
When it comes to your vision, what are you willing to spend on?