Eyeglasses are enjoying increased popularity nowadays, even with the widespread availability of contact lenses and laser surgery for vision correction. The extensive array of attractive frames and designer styles on the eyewear displays are largely responsible for this contemporary demand for glasses. Quality frame materials have come a long way, and many high profile designer labels can be found in a variety of new plastics and premium metals.
The frame material that’s best for you depends upon your personal needs. If you require protective or safety eyewear, an extra-durable plastic, such as zyl, is an ideal choice. For skin allergies, hypoallergenic metals, such as stainless steel or titanium, are excellent options. People with an active lifestyle will do well with metal alloys that are highly flexible and break-resistant. Children’s eyeglasses often have spring hinges, which increase resilience and decrease the risk of breaks on the playground or sports field.
Eyeglasses have become more than just a way to provide visual acuity. With so many stylistic frames, eyewear is also a trendy accessory that can be changed to match and enhance your wardrobe. When choosing your eyeglasses, your physical appearance, lifestyle and taste in fashion are important criteria.
Ultra-chic frames can be purchased with designer emblems, multi-colored inlays or sparkling insets of crystals or precious stones. Eyeglasses with composite materials make another appealing presentation. For a minimalist and understated look, choose rimless styles, which are constructed by attaching metal or plastic temples directly to the lenses.
All about Lenses
Once you’ve picked your favorite frames, it’s time to consider the type of lenses that are most suited for your vision requirements. The technology of eyeglass lenses has advanced considerably in recent years, with many high quality options and benefits. It’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the available types of lenses:
Eyeglasses for Presbyopia
After 40 years of age, a normal loss of your ability to focus on nearby objects often occurs. Called presbyopia, this typical vision loss makes reading and other close-up tasks more challenging. Your natural eyesight or single vision lenses may no longer provide you with sharp vision, and you may need specialized lenses to correct presbyopia. Your options include:
It’s time to choose a new pair of eyeglasses, and the current selection of frames is overwhelming. Armed with only your vision prescription, you now need to navigate between different materials, colors, prices and unique features of all the eyeglass frames. Here is a basic guide that explains about the most common types of frames and what they have to offer.
The most popular material for eyeglass frames, there is a whole array of metals to consider. Each metal comes with a distinctive set of properties and characteristics.
Titanium: Extremely resilient and corrosion-resistant, titanium is also hypoallergenic and weighs in at 40% lighter than other metals. Available in a variety of color tones, titanium is an ideal material for eyeglasses.
Beta titanium: Titanium mixed with small quantities of aluminum and vanadium, this alloy is more flexible than pure titanium. Adjustments to your eyeglass fit are therefore done easily.
Memory metal: Frames made of memory metal are composed of a titanium alloy that has approximately 50% nickel and 50% titanium. These eyeglasses are very bendable and will return to their original shape even after they are twisted and turned. Memory metal frames are superb for kids or anyone who is rough on their eyeglasses.
Beryllium: The primary advantage of beryllium is its corrosion-resistance. A less costly metal than titanium, beryllium doesn’t tarnish. It is an ideal option for anyone who spends a lot of time around salt water, or who possesses high skin acidity. Flexible, durable and lightweight, beryllium comes in a range of colors.
Stainless steel: Manufactured in both matte and polished, glossy finishes, stainless steel is strong, flexible, corrosion-resistant and lightweight. An iron-carbon alloy, it also contains chromium.
Monel: This popular alloy of copper and nickel is less expensive than other metals, yet depending upon the quality of plating used – it sometimes discolors or causes skin reactions after long use.
Aluminum: Lightweight and very resistant to corrosion, aluminum boasts a unique look and is frequently used in high-end, exclusive eyewear.
Zyl: Abbreviated from “zylonate” (cellulose acetate), zyl is relatively inexpensive and very popular in plastic eyeglass frames. Lightweight, it is available in a rainbow of colors, including multi-colored versions and layers of different colors within one frame.
Propionate: Often used in sports frames, propionate is extremely durable and flexible. This nylon-based plastic is also lightweight and hypoallergenic.
Nylon: Over recent years, nylon has been replaced largely by more resilient nylon blends, such as polyamides, gliamides and copolyamides. While 100% nylon is lightweight and strong, it tends to weaken with age and become brittle.
Cellulose acetate: A plant-based plastic that is hypoallergenic. This material was first used for eyewear in the late 1940’s because of brittleness and other problems with previously used plastics. Today’s acetates are known for being strong, lightweight, and flexible. Cellulose acetate also has the widest range for transparency, rich colors, and finishes. More complex colorations are able to be produced by layering several colors or transparencies in layers and sandwiching them together.
The best of both worlds, combination frames offer metal and plastic components in one frame. These styles were trendy in the 1950s and 1960s and have recently been revitalized for a fun comeback in many more colors and tones than the classic versions.
Mix It Up!
Each respective frame material brings unique features and advantages to your eyeglasses. One pair of glasses may not fit every part of your daily routine, in addition to social outings and special occasions. Perhaps a pair of titanium frames is best for your sophisticated, conservative work environment, but on the weekends you’d prefer to show off style with a retro zyl frame in laminated colors? Consider purchasing more than one pair of eyeglasses, and match your frames to your personality and lifestyle.
If you thought the trickiest part of choosing a new pair of glasses was the frame selection, think again. You should be putting just as much thought and consideration into the lenses that you select for your new specs.
The quality and type of lenses in your eyeglasses will not only correct your visual acuity, but they will allow you to continue to see your best through various conditions. Whether it is keeping the lenses free from scratches, fog, glare or UV rays, or making them stronger or more attractive, your eyeglass lenses can help to keep your eyes safe and comfortable wherever the day (or night) takes you.
Here are a variety of coatings that you can apply to your lenses to maintain optimal vision and comfort and to protect your lenses and your eyes.
Anti-reflective (AR) also known as anti-glare coatings help reduce the reflections and glare on your lenses, improving your vision and comfort in high-glare environments, and the look of your glasses as well (you can see your eyes clearly without a reflection on the front of the lens). Reflections from the sun, television and computer screens and bright lights (especially when driving at night) can cause eye strain, headaches and difficulty seeing. AR coatings and lenses can reduce this effect, improving your vision quality and comfort in these circumstances.
Scratch Resistant Coatings
Scratches not only affect the smooth look of the surface of your glasses but they can disrupt your vision. A scratch-resistant coating adds an extra layer of protection on the surface of the lens to significantly reduce scratching. This coating is particularly great for kids who may tend to be a little more rough with their eyewear.
Ultraviolet (UV) coatings protect your eyes from harmful UV rays from the sun. This coating can turn standard lenses into UV blocking lenses that can block 100% of the UV light from entering your eyes. UV is linked to the development of a number of eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal damage.
Particularly if you live in a cold climate, you may have experienced walking indoors from the cold and having your glasses lenses fog up completely. This can take a few minutes to resolve and can be dangerous if you are driving or need to see clearly. Anti-fog coatings will eliminate this effect, creating a smooth transition from cold to hot environments.
You may want to go with an upgraded lens to improve the look, strength or functionality of your glasses.
High Index Lenses
High index lenses have a higher refractive index which means they reflect more light than standard prescription lenses. What this means for you, the consumer, is that they can be made thinner and lighter than traditional lenses. High index lenses are particularly popular with those that need a high prescription as they are able to avoid thick lenses, adding comfort and a smoother look, but a higher price tag.
Trivex or Polycarbonate Lenses
Trivex or polycarbonate lenses are impact resistant lenses – a fantastic choice for sports and safety eyewear as well as standard sunglasses and eyeglasses for active types or kids. These lenses also offer full UV protection and are lightweight for optimal comfort.
Polychromatic lenses are made with special technology that turns them into sunglasses when exposed to sunlight. The lenses darken automatically when you go outside and return to normal when you go back indoors. Polychromatic lenses can come in a number of tint colors and are great when you need prescription sunglasses but don’t want to carry around or pay for another pair.
Aspheric lenses use advanced technology to create a slimmer, flatter and lighter lens than standard prescription lenses. While aspheric lenses can improve the appearance of any prescription lens, they are especially beneficial for those who are farsighted since those lenses tend to bulge out in the middle.
So the next time you are in the market for new eyeglasses, speak to your optometrist or optician about the best lens choices for your eyes, your vision and your lifestyle.
Just as “one-size-fits-all” doesn’t always fit, neither does one pair of eyeglasses for all situations.
Whether you want optimum vision and comfort for a specific activity, such as computer use, work, hobbies or driving, or you need glasses that provide an extra margin of safety for work or recreation, special-purpose eyeglasses will usually meet these needs better than your “everyday” glasses.
If you wear bifocals, you may find you have to tip your head back slightly to use the reading portion of the lens. That’s fine for most things, but if you want to sit and read a novel, this head-back posture can cause neck discomfort and fatigue. Often, a pair of single vision reading glasses are a much better solution for prolonged reading and other detailed near vision tasks, such as sewing or needlepoint work.
Did you know that wearing specially-tinted eyeglass lenses can improve your visual acuity on the tennis court, golf course or on the slopes? Sport-specific eyewear can enhance performance by improving visual clarity while protecting your eyes from injury.
Driving glasses come in two different categories: sunglasses designed specifically for driving and clear prescription driving glasses. Many sunglasses made for driving feature polarized lenses to reduce glare and special tints to enhance contrast for safer, more comfortable vision on the road on sunny days. Eyeglasses for night driving should include your distance prescription and anti-reflective (AR) coating to reduce the glare from streetlights and oncoming headlights and allow more light to reach your eyes for better vision on dark roadways.
Nearly everyone can benefit from specialty eyewear. Let us know about all the different things you like to do, and we can tell you about the best special-purpose eyewear to fit your needs.