Finding the Perfect Glasses

Options. It’s something everyone wants, right? But sometimes the more options there are, the harder it is to make a decision. With so many places to buy glasses, it can feel a little bit overwhelming. Here are 5 foolproof steps to finding the right glasses.

1. Determine your budget.

money and glasses

Finding the most beautiful glasses in the world isn’t going to help you if you can’t afford them. In fact, you may get hung up on a pair that you love, only to find out that they’re out of your budget. Set a budget ahead of time and don’t be afraid to mention it to your optician. But be realistic: don’t expect to find top quality eyewear at bargain basement prices. You’ll just waste time and end up frustrated.

2. Choose your Optician Wisely

Choose an optical store that you feel matches your taste and budget. Do they carry fun / funky and unique frames? Are they ultra conservative? Do they carry the best quality frames and lenses money can buy, or are they selling disposable eyewear for low budgets? Either option may be fine, depending on your circumstances and expectations, but make sure your choice matches your needs.

3. Work Backwards

Frames are the most tangible part of the eyeglass buying experience. You can feel them, see them, try them on. But they should be the last thing you consider. Let’s face it..the reason you’re probably wearing glasses is because you want to IMPROVE your VISION! Therefore, the most important part of the search begins with your lenses. Show your optician your prescription BEFORE you look at frames. He or she will offer suggestions on frame selection that may influence how well your prescription will work, how thick your lenses will be and the comfort of your glasses.

The optician should assess your lifestyle needs…do you use them for driving? Reading in bed? Golf? Do you require sunglasses? How will glasses work with your contact lenses? Are you on the computer or a digital device all day?

All of these questions should be answered BEFORE you begin looking at frames. Your optician may even recommend multiple pairs of glasses. It is important that you feel you can trust him/her because you need to know that the recommendations are for your own benefit and not because you are being “upsold”.

Is it an optician you are dealing with, or a sales clerk? Look for the license badge which all Ontario opticians are required to wear. Opticians go to school for 2 years and write National Board exams to ensure their skills and expertise. They are also required to take courses and update their continuing education logbooks annually; Opticianry is a regulated health care profession.

licensed optician

Once a thorough evaluation of your vision needs is done, the optician can recommend frame choices for you, and help you narrow down your search to find frames you love, which brings us to the next step…

4. Be Open Minded

Everyone’s got some creativity in them. Maybe you have the perfect pair of glasses in your mind’s eye: perhaps they’re round and have red on the front with yellow plaid temples and rhinestones ( you get the idea). Being creative is fun and so is expressing yourself. Because of the way frames are produced, however, the cost of designing your own glasses can be prohibitive. And often, what you think will work on your face doesn’t even look or fit well once you get them on. If upwards of $1000 for glasses for custom designed, bespoke glasses is a little steep, you may want to approach things from another angle.

Try different shapes and colours that you may not have had in mind. After all, it only takes a few seconds to put them on your face. Generally, choose a shape that is the opposite of your face shape. If you have a round face, try more angular frames and vice versa. This rule is only a guideline…maybe you want to emphasize your square jaw. If so, go for it!

Don’t be afraid to accept suggestions from the optician. Remember that he or she does this all day long, every day, and so brings a wealth of experience to knowing which shapes and colours will suit you and your lenses best. If you feel pressured at all…get out now! Your optician should be offering you suggestions based on what works best for your visual needs, while considering your lifestyle and budget.

5. Make sure the frame feels comfortable and fits properly.

The optician will take a variety of measurements, including your pupillary reflex and possibly an optical centre height, seg height, vertex distance, pantoscopic tilt and wrap. Before any measurements are done, your frame should fit properly, as this will affect the measurements. If it’s a frame with nosepads, the optician should make sure they fit flush on your nose. If it’s a frame without nosepads, the bridge should straddle your nose all the way across.
A Great Bridge Fit:
great bridge fit

There should be no gap between the frame and the crest of your bridge.
bridge too narrow
This bridge is too narrow
The bridge also shouldn’t away too quickly at the sides, so that it is only perched on the top of your nose.
This bridge is too wide
bridge too wide
This frame sits too high on the brows as a result of a narrow bridge.

narrow bridge frame too high
The frame eye wire should not sit above your eyebrows and it is usually flattering if the arch of the eye wire matches the arch of your brow in shape.

The temples (arms) should not touch your temples; there should be a slight space of a millimetre or two between your temple and that of the frame.
This frame below is too wide, and there is a large gap at the temple as a result.
frame too wide

This frame below is too small. Notice the temples bowing outwards, and the frame curving away from the face.
frame too small

A picture of proper frame width below.

proper frame fit

It is also important that the temples are not too long or too short. Too short, and you’re out of luck and in for some very uncomfortable glasses.
This temple is too short.
temple too short
Another example of temples too short
temple too short

If the temples are too long, they will either slip or have to be wrapped too much behind your ears. Some temples can be shortened by your optician with end cutters and a file, when necessary. The glasses should not touch your cheeks at all. Sometimes people with flat bridges and high cheekbones have trouble with this.

A frame resting on cheeks below.
frame resting on cheeks

If so, nosepads can sometimes be inserted into frames that do not have them. Many frame lines now also offer a “global fit” option for flat bridges.

Paying attention to these details and following these steps will save your from misery in the long run. No matter how smashing you look in your new glasses, poor vision, a headache or a sore nose or ear will not make you smile.