Selecting glasses to correct reading vision can feel like an overwhelming experience. There are so many choices of frames, lenses and coatings. Here are the top things to consider as you pick out your readers.
Decide between custom and ready-made glasses.
Ready-made glasses can be purchased at a drugstore or pharmacy. They are one-size-fits-all and less expensive than custom glasses. These off-the-shelf readers typically don’t come in multi-focal or progressive options.
Custom glasses. If you have a different prescription in each eye, myopia or astigmatism, ready-made glasses may not meet your needs. With custom glasses, an optician will make lenses based on your prescription, including the distance between your pupils. Your pupils must be aligned to the optical center of the lenses to get your best vision correction.
Select the right lens design.
Reading glass lenses come in a few categories; your choice depends on the vision correction you need.
Single vision lenses are designed to correct distance vision. They can be set to any focus, including near or intermediate vision.
Bi-focal lenses have a correction for reading on the bottom half of the lens and another for distance on the top.
Tri-focal lenses have three sections: distance vision, intermediate vision and near vision.
Progressive lenses have a smooth transition between distance and near focal areas without visible dividing lines. They can be more effective in correcting intermediate vision than bi- or tri-focals.
Your ophthalmologist should help guide you to the best lens design for your vision.
Choose your lens shape and size based on your prescription.
Lenses come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Smaller, more narrow lenses may work well for weaker prescriptions. But for stronger prescriptions or multi-focal lenses, larger lens shapes are a better option to allow enough room for the entire prescription. If the lens is too small, you may experience distortion or a prism effect.
Metal frame? Plasctic frame?
Plastic frames come in a large range of colors, styles and prices. Metal, titanium or alloy frames stand up better to wear-and-tear. Titanium is the lightest and most flexible metal frame material. When choosing frames, make sure they fit your face, nasal bridge and ears comfortably.
And then there is this TR90 material, it was produced through Swiss technology as a thermoplastic material that is incredibly durable, flexible, and lightweight. Glasses made with TR90 are extremely comfortable because they have a flexible quality. Since they are flexible, they can bend under pressure and contour your face comfortably.
This flexibility also makes TR90 glasses resilient to damage. Because the material is pliable, they are far less likely to break or bend from impact.
Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses are light and impact-resistant.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors or want lenses that are resistant to breaking, polycarbonate is a safe, lightweight choice. Trivex is another impact-resistant lens material that is lighter weight and may be less distorting than polycarbonate. If you have a stronger prescription, high-index plastic lenses are a thinner, lightweight option.
Aspheric Lenses or spherical lenses?
Aspheric lenses have a more complex front surface than spherical lenses. The front curve gradually changes from the center of the lens to the edge. This design technology allows eyeglass lenses to be made with flatter curves resulting in a thinner and more attractive profile for nearly all prescriptions.
Aspheric lens designs reduce or eliminate the distortion when the wearer looks away from the center of the lens creating a wider field of view with better peripheral vision. These lenses also greatly reduce the magnification and minification of the wearer’s eyes providing a more natural appearance to others.
Due to the fact that the benefits of aspheric lenses increase as the prescription gets stronger, most high-index lenses are aspheric. By combining an aspheric design with a high-index material, strong prescriptions are noticeably thinner, lighter and have a slimmer profile allowing more frame options for the wearer. Since these lenses are flatter and sit closer to the eye than conventional spherical lenses, some wearers may notice more reflections off the front and back surfaces. For this reason, anti-reflective coating is highly recommended.
Protective coatings may make your glasses last longer.
Anti-scratch coatings are a good investment to improve the durability of your glasses. Most plastic lenses (including polycarbonate and Trivex) scratch easily.
Anti-reflective coatings reduce glare and distracting reflections on the surface of your glasses. If you are very nearsighted and require high-index lenses, which are more likely to have glare problems, this coating is helpful.
Photochromic lenses (or transitional lenses) protect your eyes from UV light. They darken automatically in sunlight, which is convenient if you are light-sensitive or plan to use the glasses outdoors. They are not recommended for use in cars.
These coatings can quickly add to the cost of your glasses. If you choose custom glasses, your optician should help you make selections that fit your needs—and your budget.