Eyewear Buying Guide

What to Know When Buying Eyeglasses:

Do know that all current, brand-name, lenses and many new free-form house brands range from very good – to – excellent. If you are being told that a certain lens is somehow above and beyond all others and is worth considerably more money than other lenses, you are probably being fed worthless sales propaganda

Do buy a quality non-glare coating. Non-glare coatings allow you to see better, look better, and make for a better pair of glasses. Get the best non-glare coating you can afford. If you can afford it, get a good coating on every pair you have. Just like lenses, your optician should be able to tell you what brand and what type of non-glare coating you are getting and give you information about your coating. If you must choose between a cheap non-glare coating or none at all choose none at all. Cheap AR or non-glare coatings do nothing but scratch, smudge, and smear.

Do ask about which lens you are getting. If your optician cannot tell you then you are probably being sold a very low-end product. Today the lenses being sold may not be a “brand name” but may still be of extremely high quality. Listen for terms like “house” or “independent” free-form.

Do try to buy a lens produced in the last year or two. Progressive lenses are still getting improvements, so many new designs are actually easier to wear than those made just a few years ago.

Do realize that if you are presbyopic (meaning that you need additional power, and should wear a lined multi-focal or progressive) and that if you have a change in prescription, that one area of your vision will be better and one will be worse!

If you are presbyopic (meaning that you need additional power, and wear a multifocal or progressive) and if you have a change in your prescription that one area of your vision will be better and one will be worse! Unfortunately, it’s a case that you cannot have perfect vision in all ranges. It’s part of the joy of getting older. If the optician’s prescription provides you with crisp distance vision, chances are that you will lose some of the clarity that you had with near vision in your old pair.

Do buy a BIG frame if you want your progressive to work well. With progressive lenses, it needs room to do it. Yes, the optician will probably tell you it will work just fine, and the lens company will probably tell you it will work, but you’ll have better luck with a bigger lens.

What you need to know about taking your glasses back to the shop:

Know that a frame that has been returned can often be reused or returned to the manufacturer for a credit. Lenses, since they are ground especially for your individual pair of glasses and prescription cannot be reused and become trash. For that reason, you must understand the reluctance of your doctor or optician to remake lenses without being 100% sure that they know e-x-a-c-t-l-y what the reason is.

For that reason, you will need to explain to them what is not right about your prescription and/or glasses, not just throw them down and say, “These don’t work.”

Online Eyeglass Shopping

Buying products online is certainly convenient but it is not without risks, especially when buying medical products such as prescription glasses. Ordering glasses online is very different than your average online shopping experience.  It is important to know that optometrists are not only trained in medical eye care, but also in the proper manufacturing, fitting, measuring, and dispensing of eyewear. When making a glasses purchase online, the consumer is essentially taking on the role of a trained optical dispenser.  This role includes taking critical measurements and making decisions with respect to frame, lens and material selection.  There is an inherent risk associated with making these determinations without the proper skills and training.

Potential consumers should be aware of a number of factors that go into converting an eyeglass prescription into glasses that are both comfortable and provide clear vision.  These include:

  • Taking an accurate measurement of the distance between the two eyes. This is called the interpupillary distance (PD)
  • Obtaining the proper measurement of the optical centers (OC) in order to avoid eyestrain and pulling.
  • Determining the height to place the optical center of the lens in your selected frames
  • Measuring how high to place the bifocal (for those patients who need it)
  • Determining the most appropriate lenses material and lens index given the patient’s prescription, as well as work and lifestyle demands.
  • Choosing the appropriate measurements for the lenses to best suit the patient’s lifestyle or work environment.
  • Taking the appropriate base curve determination to control magnification, especially in cases where there is a difference between the curvatures of the two eyes.
  • Proper selection of frame size, eye size, bridge width, temple length, shape, wrap, material, and overall fit to ensure good comfort and vision with no distortion as well as cosmetically acceptable lens thickness.
  • Properly adjusting the frame to your face

Before the glasses are ready to be dispensed and used by the patient, a trained optical dispenser should ensure that they have been properly manufactured and are within an acceptable tolerance. Then the appropriate adjustments should be made to ensure the glasses fit the patient’s face correctly to ensure clear and comfortable vision.  Poorly manufactured or poorly fitted glasses can cause eye strain, headaches, pulling, and blurred vision.

One study published in 2011 showed that nearly half the glasses purchased online failed to meet the recommended quality standards. These glasses did not meet either the optical requirements for the patient’s visual needs or the physical requirements for the patient’s safety.

As stated by the College of Optometrists of Ontario, purchasing eyeglasses online is not regulated, and the consumer is not protected by a regulated body with professional accountability and standards. In Ontario, selling prescription eyeglasses by any unlicensed entity is illegal. This includes internet vendors.

If you are considering buying online, PLEASE don’t if you are wearing progressive lenses and/or have a high prescription it’s much safer to go and see a professional. DO NOT SHOP ONLINE for progressives or high prescriptions!

Last Thing: Just like shoes or clothing you purchase online, for goodness sake, if your online glasses don’t fit, work, or give you a headache, well, then DONT WEAR THEM – SEND THEM BACK!

Crescent Heights Optometry Glasses

We have a wide range of eyewear to choose from including the latest from a range of designer frames including Ray-Ban, Gucci, Tom Ford, and more. We also supply some of the best lenses available on the market including Varilux. During your appointment, we will ensure you get the right lenses and frames to fit your exact needs. Check out some of our amazing designer frames available in our shop. Either walk-in into our office or schedule an appointment with us today!

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