Eyeglasses FAQ's

Thinking about buying new eyeglasses?

These answers to frequently asked questions about eyeglass frames and lenses will make your shopping experience more enjoyable and less confusing:

Q. How do I know if my eyeglasses prescription is still valid?

A. Most eye doctors recommend that you have an eye exam and your prescription for glasses updated at least every two years. If you wear contact lenses or you have risk factors for eye problems, you should have annual exams. Children who wear corrective lenses also should have yearly exams. Don't invest in new eyeglasses without first making sure your prescription is up-to-date. If your prescription gets too out-of-date, you may start experiencing eye fatigue symptoms like blurred vision and eye twitching.

Q. What type of lenses should I get?

A. For most prescriptions, high index lenses are noticeably thinner and lighter than regular plastic lenses for a slimmer profile and greater wearing comfort. These thinner, lighter lenses are especially beneficial if you have a high amount of myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), which makes regular plastic lenses thick and bulky.

High index lenses reflect more light than regular plastc lenses. To counter this you should consider having an anti-reflective coating applied to your lenses to reduce glare.

Also, if you will be wearing your glasses full-time, you may want to consider photochromic lenses. These clear "transition lenses" darken automatically in sunlight for greater comfort outdoors.

Q. What lenses are best for kids?

A. If you are shopping for children's eyewear or prescription safety glasses, choose polycarbonate lenses. These lightweight lenses are up to ten times more resistant to shattering than regular glass or plastic lenses for added safety.

Q. What about lens coatings?

A. Lens coatings add value to your lenses by improving their appearance, performance and durability. Anti-reflective coating eliminates lens reflections that cause glare. It also makes you eyeglass lenses look nearly invisible for better eye contact. Scratch-resistant coating makes your lenses more durable.

Q. What is UV protection? Do I need it?

A. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun has been associated with a number of eye problems, including cataracts. So it's wise to choose lenses that block 100 percent of the sun's UV rays. Protection from UV is especially important for children's eyeglasses since experts say most people get over 80 percent of their lifetime exposure to ultraviolet radiation by age 18.

Most high index lenses automatically block 100 percent of the sun's UV rays, as do photochromic lenses. Regular plastic lenses require an added lens treatment to provide full UV protection.

Q. Do expensive sunglasses provide better UV protection than inexpensive sunglasses?

A. Not necessarily. While most brand name and designer sunglasses provide 100 percent UV protection, not all do. A professional optician usually can verify how much UV protection your sunglasses provide. All polarized sunglasses block 100 percent UV light.

Q. I have a round face. What eyeglass frames will look best on me?

A. Generally, the best frame shapes will complement, not mirror, your face shape. So for a round face, eyeglass frames that are angular often look best. A professional optician can analyze your face shape, size and coloring and help you choose frames that best complement your appearance.

Q. My eye doctor says I need bifocals? Are there other options?

A. Today, most people prefer line-free progressive lenses as an alternative to lined bifocals because they provide a more youthful look. Progressive also provide a smoother transition between viewing zones than bifocals for more natural-feeling vision.

Q. I see pretty well far away, but my eye doctor says I need reading glasses. Are the store-bought "readers" OK or will they hurt my eyes?

A. Store-bought readers are often an acceptable alternative for people who only need corrective lenses for reading, but prescription reading glasses generally are more comfortable. This is because a customized prescription usually will be more accurate, and the eyeglass frames usually are of better quality.

Inexpensive readers may cause eye strain if the lens powers are not exactly what you need and you use them for prolonged periods of reading or working at a computer, but they will not hurt or damage your eyes.

For more information about eyewear and eye care, call us at 302-995-9060.