How do you buy the right pair of prescription glasses for your needs?
Common issues people face are glasses are:
- Expense – Prescription glasses can cost hundreds of dollars
- Time – Finding the perfect pair at a fair price can take a lot of time, especially if you shop around for a particular style at a great price.
- Confusion – What’s the right style for your face shape and profession? Do you need the add-ons and do you need multiple pairs?
My goal is to help clear up the process of buying prescription eye-glasses.
<Below are 9 tips on how to buy prescription glasses effectively>
1. Have An Up-To-Date Eyewear Prescription
The standard validity of a prescription is 2 years for adults and 1 year if you are younger. If your prescription is outdated, visit your local optical shop to get a new one.
When you get your eyesight examined, the optometrist must give you a copy of the prescription whether or not you ask for it.
Here are some abbreviations and terms listed on your prescription you’ll need to be aware of when ordering glasses online:
- OD (Oculus Dexter) refers to your right eye.
- OS (Oculus Sinister) refers to your left eye.
- Sphere (SPH) indicates the amount of lens power, prescribed to correct nearsightedness (-) or farsightedness(+).
- ADD (for bifocals) is the added magnifying power applied to the bottom part of multifocal lenses to correct presbyopia.
- Cylinder (CYL) indicates the amount of lens power for astigmatism.
- Axis describes the positioning of the cylindrical power on your lenses (required for astigmatism).
<Note: you will not be able to use a contact lens prescription – the two are different.>
2. Measure Your Pupillary Distance
Pupillary Distance (PD) is the distance between your pupils – usually measured in millimeters.
The optical center of the lenses gives you the truest vision. This part of the eyeglasses should be directly in front of your pupils.
To get the correct positioning of the lenses on your eyeglasses, the eyeglasses lab needs your PD. Pupillary distance generally falls between 54 and 68 mm.It can be tricky to measure your own PD. It is best to have it measured by a skilled optician.
Optometrists will note this measurement during your eye examination but may omit the PD from your prescription because it gives consumers the ability to shop online. Ask them to write this number in your prescription, if they haven’t already.
3) SELECT The Right Frames
The secret to ordering perfectly fitting prescription glasses online is simple – know your frame size. There are three factors that affect your selection of frames for your eyeglasses.
a. Choose Eyeglasses That Complement Your Face Shape
The right eyeglass frames offer a benefit beyond clearer vision – the ability to complement your facial features and overall look. Create a balanced appearance using eyeglasses by choosing a frame shape that provides a contrast to the shape of your face.
The human face can be categorized to fit into several generic face shapes.
Heart/Diamond – characterized by strong broad cheekbones, a larger forehead and a narrow chin. Find a pair of glasses with similar angles. Rounder shaped frames with a wider top than bottom should create a nice contrast.
Round – characterized by a rounded forehead and a circular face. Select frames that are wider than they are tall. Rectangular frames add structure, elongating your face.
Square – if you have a square face and jaw, you need to soften the face’s natural angularity. Softer, rounder frames balance the stark angles of your face.
Oval – The enviable oval shape can rock almost any style of eyeglasses. Your best bet is a pair of symmetrical glasses, with a rigid structure but also softness with a round bottom.
For a full break-down of face shapes and corresponding frame shapes, refer to the following infographic:
CHART face shape and glasses filled
b. Pick A Frame That Fits Your Personal Style
What are your personal and professional needs?
For serious business – Stick to conservative frame colors and shapes. To enhance your professional image, consider classic shapes such as ovals, rectangles and almonds. Black, gunmetal, silver and brown frames are recommended because these conservative tones match with business suits.
eyeglasses to suit personal styleFor creative professionals – Wear modern shapes, such as geometric designs in thick plastic or metallic frames. Try unusual colors – blue, purple and green. Retro, vintage styles and aviator shapes are also suitable to highlight your creative edge.
For students – Sport eye-catching shapes and colors. Unusual shapes, bright colors, larger sizes and interesting details such as color laminations. Feel free to experiment with a a geeky, retro look or a modern frame with lots of color.
For the busy parent – Don’t worry about the latest trends in eyewear, stick to a basic yet stylish pair of glasses. Ovals, upswept rectangles and soft cat-eye shapes are very functional and still look great. Darker colors like deep red, black and green can also add a stylish edge to a basic frame.
c. Buy The Right Size
Fashion is secondary. Proper positioning of the glasses in front of your eyes should be your primary concern.
If you already own a pair of glasses that fit you well, check the measurements written on the inside arm of the frame. In some cases, the numbers will be printed on or just behind the nose bridge. The numbers represent the following measurements:
Eye size – the horizontal width of the lens, a two-digit number in the 40 – 62mm range.
Bridge size – the horizontal distance between the two lenses, a two-digit number in the 14 – 24mm range.
Temple size – the length of the arm piece, a three-digit number in the 120 – 165mm range.
What is a suitable frame size for you? The width of your face is the key to finding an appropriate sized frame.
Note: Sunglasses are generally larger to give you more protection from the sun – so don’t go by those measurements.
It is important to match the size and shape of your eyeglasses to the proportions of your face. The resulting overall look should be balanced. Smaller frames suit a person with a less pronounced facial structure. You need a large and wide facial shape to pull of eyeglasses with big frames.
4) BUY The Right Frames
There are two options to purchase eyeglass frames – in person at your local optical store, or through an online store.
Advantages of buying offline:
Professional help – An experienced optician has the knowledge to tell you if the frame you select is suitable for your prescription or if it fits your nose correctly.
Complicated prescriptions – If you have a high power, complicated prescription, it is difficult to use an online store. An experienced optician is required to help you acquire the right eyeglasses. Online stores limit the rx range they will process.
Support local – If you would like to support your local stores, make sure you’re not getting ripped off by comparing the price of the same pair of glasses online.
Advantages of buying online:
Lower cost – In many cases, you save up to 70% off retail prices. Online brands design and manufacture all of their frames before customizing them to your prescription at their in-house prescription labs. The removal of the middle-man equates to big savings on the total cost of the frames.
More selection – Online stores usually have a wider range of glasses. Lenses offered are same high quality as those available in retail outlets. The glasses are made by professional opticians at in-house state of the art laboratories.
Upload face – Some online stores allow you to upload your photo on their website to see what the glasses would look like on your face. All you have to do is line up your pupils and take the picture with your phone or webcam.
Convenience and speed – you don’t have to waste effort and time driving to the store to pick up your eyeglasses. Order from the privacy of your home in your pajamas – your glasses will be delivered to your doorstep.
5. Avoid Add-Ons To Keep The Cost Of Glasses Down
Anti-reflective coating, anti-scratch, poly-carbonate lens, etc., are all add-ons that crank up the price of a pair of eyeglasses.
Don’t get sucked in with the extremely low advertised prices. Figure out exactly what you need and then compare the price with 3 or 4 different online retailers for that exact same model.
Some stores include the add-ons and others don’t. Go with the final price – not the advertised price of the glasses that gets you in.
6) Refund & Return Policy
Always check the refund and return policy of a company before making a purchase. If you find the glasses aren’t right for you – you should be able to exchange them for the right style or size without hassle.
When buying online, there’s no salesperson to give you immediate feedback – the decision is entirely yours to make.
In my opinion two weeks is enough time to get used to a new pair of glasses. It is also sufficient to know if you need to exchange them for a more suitable pair.
7) It’s Worth Paying Extra For Frames You LOVE
$100 for eyeglasses that looks average vs. $200 for a pair you love?
Prescription eyeglasses are an accessory you wear every day. It is worth paying full price for a quality pair – especially once you divide the total price by the number of days you will wear them. They end up costing pennies or less in terms of price per wear.
You are likely to wear your glasses every hour you are awake, so spend a little extra to purchase an attractive pair over glasses that are cheaper but not as appealing.
FYI, I have about 8 pairs of glasses from GlassesUSA.com and can say having inspected their build that they are well-made and can be purchased for a great price (often 70% less than retail).
FYI, I created an unlisted video you can access here where I walk you through using their website. GlassesUSA.com has an amazing “virtual try-on tool” that allows you to upload a picture and see what the glasses look like on you from the comfort of your own home! Click here to watch the video.
Use the code WELCOME50 for 50% off!
8) Consider Purchasing More Than One Pair Of Glasses
When you purchase eyeglasses from a traditional retailer, the cost includes a premium to the store and hefty outsourcing osts.
When you factor in manufacturing costs, distributor’s costs, warehouse costs, retail rent, third-party fees and other overheads – it is easy to see why eyeglasses are so expensive.
Online stores cut the middlemen out of the equation, making it simple for you to choose high quality glasses for an affordable price.
Purchasing online gives you more freedom to buy several pairs of eyeglasses for the price of one pair at a retail store.
Having the flexibility to change your eyeglasses is a lifesaver in times of emergency (eyeglasses crack easily… I learnt that lesson early in life).
9) Use Protective Case & A Microfiber Cloth
Eyeglasses are easily damaged.
It is important to store them in a sturdy, hard case.
Cleaning your frames and lenses regularly helps you see clearly and keeps your glasses looking new.
To clean them, use a soft microfiber cloth.
Use both hands to take them off (helps maintain their original shape) and never place the glasses lens down as this can result in scratched lenses.
Regularly check the screws that hold the frame together. If you find one is loose, tighten it gently with a small screwdriver or take your glasses into your local optical store.