How to Choose Glasses – The Most Important Factor


Today I’m starting again working with an optometry education company doing a workshop with retail optometry staff to teach them some of the image related aspects of helping their clients choose flattering glasses frames.

But before you even start trying on frames, the No. 1 factor that will affect your choice, and what you need to tell a staff member is what is your prescription.
Why is this so important?  Depending on your prescription, this may limit your frame options.  Multifocal/progressive lenses need to be deeper than single focus.  A prescription which requires a thicker lense edge (I think the technical term is Sil), will limit frame choices as the frame will need to be flatter in construction, or a rimless style may not work.  So before you try on every frame in the shop, talk to the staff there and check that your presciption doesn’t preclude you from any frames.
You don’t want to find ‘the perfect frame’ to find out that it’s not a suitable match for your prescription.
pic:  Frame from La Font – style Borgia


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  • Bonjour Ms Lamport,

    I thank you for your kind comment on my blog. I guess you saw my comment on Birgitte’s (Bubble gum 4 breakfast)blog ? I read your blog with great interest. I am very happy Birgitte wrote about it. Unfortunately, my silhouette is not on your blog… big sigh ! Regards, Anne from Montreal

  • Yes I definitely made that mistake…got some adorable “thinner” framed glasses for a progressive perscription. The technician did not tell me that I would have barely a dot to look through with each progression. So, I can hardly wear them. Great info!

  • Anne – you are an hourglass with a wider shoulder – it’s just a variation on the shape, which is pretty normal – most of us have some variations on a basic silhouette. Thanks for stopping by.

    Renae – even though they ‘can’ make progressive lenses with a thinner frame – should they?

  • Imogen, this is a great informational series! I wish I’d known about this years ago when I was 12 and shopping for my first of many pairs of glasses…

    I do want to add one thing to this post – I *think* that the issue with thicker lenses can be changed by going to a lighter composite material. (I’m not 100% sure that they actually make the lens thinner, but they are definitely lighter weight on your nose/face, which can make a big difference if you are getting a heavier frame.)

    Also, last time that I got new frames, the optical center suggested beveling/polishing the edge of the lens as it would stick out slightly from the glasses frame since it was a strong prescription. I tried it, and you honestly can’t tell that the lens sticks out unless you look VERY closely.

  • Tiffany – shop around – not all optometrists stock the same frames – if you want something more different avoid the chains and go to an independent. If you want some more advice email me.

    Kari – the information I’m posting comes directly from a fantastic optometrist I work with – yes there are better and lighter materials these days, but the thicker the lens, the less choice you still have with frames. It’s very dependent on your prescription (which there can be lots of variables on).

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