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How to Buy Eyeglasses

The first priority when selecting eyeglasses is to choose frames that offer the best possible vision for your prescription strength. After that, glasses can be chosen for their appearance and style.

All frames are not equally suitable for all prescriptions. Progressive lenses often need a slightly larger surface to function at their best. Prescriptions that address myopia may need smaller frames that center on the wearer’s eyes. Some people find that their vision improves with plastic frames, since the thick edges handle light reflection very well.

Make sure the eyeglasses fit the face. If glasses are purchased at the optometrist’s office, trained personnel will measure the wearer’s face and suggest glasses that will fit properly. The wearer will need the information about those measurements to order a pair of eyeglasses online.

Eyeglasses are marked with a series of three numbers, such as 51 16-148. The numbers are usually engraved on the inner surface of the temples. The numbers in this example refer to eye/lens size 51, bridge size 16, and temple length 150. Generally speaking, frames with those measurements would be a good fit if the individual had worn frames with that set of measurements previously. However, the overall shape and design of the eyeglasses can make some adjustments to these measurements necessary.

Choose eyeglass frames that suit the shape of the wearer’s face and his coloring. Usually, this means that the frame shape should contrast with the shape of the face and the size of the frame should be scaled to the size of the face.

Eyeglass color should complement the wearer’s skin tone, eye color, and hair color. People with “cool” coloring have a slightly blue or pink undertone to their skin color. Black, blue-gray, plum, and dark tortoiseshell eyeglass frames are recommended for people with cool coloring. People with “warm” coloring have yellow undertones to their skin. Khaki, camel, gold, and light tortoiseshell eyeglass frames look good on people with warm coloring.

Eyeglasses should also reflect the wearer’s style and personality. Many people have more than one pair of glasses for just that purpose. Neutral colors and conservative shapes are traditional office wear, while sharply geometric shapes, bright colors, and ornamentation look great in less conventional settings.

Eyeglasses are also matched to special activities. Prescription skiing goggles and diving masks, for example, are readily available. Many athletes have sports glasses with tinted lenses or tinted contact lenses to increase the sharpness of their vision under specific circumstances. Yellow enhancement improves performance for tennis players, who usually use yellow balls. Rose lenses make it easier for skiers to see shades of gray that mark bumps under the snow.

People who play contact sports should always wear shatter-resistant polycarbonate lenses. Flexible frames and spring hinges are good choices for anyone with an active lifestyle. They’re an especially good choice for children’s eyeglasses.

The right eyeglasses will improve vision -- but they will also enhance the wearer’s looks, reflect his personality, enhance his performance, and increase his safety. That’s a lot of benefits for one simple pair of glasses.

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