From deciding what style you want, to selecting the frame thickness, to determining if you need progressive lenses or anti-reflective coating, a lot of decisions go into selecting a new pair of glasses. This process can be intimidating to some – particularly those who previously have not worn corrective lenses.
Relax! The selection process can be fun, and gives you a chance to express your individual style! Plus, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
Let’s start by looking at some General Guidelines to follow when selecting eyewear; then we will take a look at your facial structure and review how to determine your face shape. Understanding your face shape and facial features is the key to selecting the right frames and achieving a balanced look that accentuates your best features for a flattering appearance.
Frame selection guidelines
When selecting a new pair of frames, the General Guidelines below can help you with the fit and comfort of your new glasses.
Frames come in many sizes, colors, and shapes. To help you select the right shape, learn more about your face shape and how to select frames that will complement the natural curves of your face.
Lastly, there are many choices and terms to know about before ordering your eyeglass lenses. We can help you learn all about lenses so that you can make the clear choice.
- Eye Position: Your eyes should be centered within the lens openings, regardless of frame shape.
- Width: Choose frames that are wide enough so there is slight clearance between the frames and the sides of your head. If frames feel too tight or loose at the store, they can feel very uncomfortable after several hours of wear.
- Brow: Let your eyebrows define the top of your frames; the top of the frames should follow your natural brow line. Darker or thicker or darker frames can balance thick eyebrows.
- Proportion: Select frames in proportion to your body size and weight. Thin and delicate frames accentuate slender figures, and thicker frames balance well with fuller figures.
- Lenses: Thinner, lighter, reflection-free lenses are premium choices, but may come at extra costs. High-index plastic lenses and anti-reflective coatings make for a flattering appearance. For bifocals, progressive lenses can provide a contemporary, no-line look.
Frames and your face shape
Frames allow you to express your personality and make a statement, but above all, they should complement your natural face shape.
The directions below can help you determine your face shape and what style frames you should consider.
Your face shape
Basic face shapes include: oval, diamond, round, square, triangle, inverted triangle, and oblong.
To determine your face shape:
- Have someone take a straight-ahead photograph of your face.
- Draw six dots on the outline of your face in the picture:
- Two on each side of your forehead
- Two at your cheekbones (near your eyes)
- Two at your jaw line (at the level of your mouth).
- Analyze the width of each pair of dots to determine your face shape.
In general, the most attractive frames gently counterbalance your face shape and features.For example, if you have a round face, frames with angular shapes will counterbalance the roundness of your face for a more attractive look. Round frames will do the opposite – they will exaggerate the roundness of your face.
- Dots on cheekbones are farthest apart. Dots on forehead and jaw are about equally spaced, slightly closer together. Face is longer than it is wide.
- An oval face gives you the greatest freedom in selecting a frame shape – you can wear nearly any frame style. Select a frame that is just slightly wider than the broadest part of your face. Keep the size and weight of the frame proportional to your body size and weight.
- Similar to oval, but dots on forehead and jaw are closer together. Face is more angular, with a smaller forehead and chin than an oval face.
- The goal is to add width to your forehead and jaw, and make your cheekbones appear narrower. Choose softly curved frames that are no wider than your cheekbones. Square frames or frames with a straight top and rounded bottom are also good choices. Avoid decorative temples, which will exaggerate the width of your cheekbones.
- Dots on cheekbones are farthest apart. Dots on forehead and jaw are slightly closer together. Width and height are nearly equal. Face has a full appearance with few angles.
- The goal is to make your face appear longer and thinner. Choose low, wide rectangles and other short geometric shapes. Frames with hinges located above eye level can help lengthen the face. A Bridge located near the top of the frame can also add length.
- The distance between all three pairs of dots is roughly equal. Width and height of face are nearly equal. Jaw line has an angular or square appearance.
- The goal is to make your face appear longer, with softer curves. Choose oval or slightly angular frame styles with curved corners. Frames with hinges located above eye level can help lengthen the face. A bridge located near the top of the frame can also add length.
- Dots on the jaw are farthest apart. Dots on forehead are closest together. Face has a narrow forehead and is wider at the cheeks and jaw line.
- The goal is to add width to your forehead and make your jaw line appear softer and narrower. Choose frame styles that angle up and outward at the top corners. For women, cat’s-eye shapes are flattering. For men, square frames are attractive. Frames with rimless bottoms are also good for both men and women. Frames with temples and bridge located near the top of the frame are best.
- Dots on the forehead are farthest apart. Dots on the jaw are closest together. Cheekbones are high. Face has a broad forehead and gradually narrows to the chin.
- The goal is to make your forehead looker narrower and add width to your jaw line. Choose frame styles that angle outward at the bottom. Aviator and “bow tie” shapes are good choices. Rectangular styles are also good. Frames with temples and bridge located near the middle of the frame help balance facial features.
- Distances between all three pairs of dots are roughly equal. Similar to square, but face is noticeably longer than it is wide.
- The goal is to make your face appear wider and shorter. Choose round styles or geometric shapes with generous vertical dimensions. Decorative temples or temples with contrasting colors can help add width. Frames with temples and bridge located near the middle of the frame are best.
All about lenses
A visit to your eye care provider can uncover some confusing terminology about lenses. What do they mean? Are these lenses and coatings important for your vision or eye health? This is an overview of the more common lens options.
Anti-reflective lens coatings
An Anti-reflective (AR) coating is a type of optical coating (thin layer of material) that is deposited on an eyeglass lens to reduce the amount of glare and reflected light. Anti-reflective lenses:
- Improve night vision – reflections of streetlamps and headlights on your lenses are drastically minimized
- Decrease computer glare
- Reduce eye strain
- Lessen overhead fluorescent glare
High-index lenses are useful for people with stronger prescriptions. The thinner, lighter material is more comfortable and opens up a greater variety of frame options. However, they are more expensive than other lens options.
As we get older, our eye lens naturally thickens and becomes less flexible, leading to a vision problem called presbyopia. Multifocal eyeglass lenses contain two or more lens powers to help you see objects at all distances after you lose the ability to naturally change the focus of your eyes due to age (presbyopia).
Bifocals are lenses with two parts of different refracting powers, the upper for distance and the lower for near vision. There is a visible line distinguishing between the lower part – which can be a variety of shapes – and the rest of the lens.
Trifocals are lenses with three parts of different refracting powers: the upper for distance, the middle for intermediate, and the lower for near vision. There are clear lines of distinction for each range.
Progressive power lenses are true “multifocal” lenses like bifocals or trifocals, but they provide a lineless, seamless progression of varied lens powers for different distances. Wearers can look up to see clearly into the distance, straight ahead to view objects closer, like a computer, and then down to read or do close-up work.
Your eye care provider should measure your eye carefully to make sure they are putting the gradation of “zones” in the right place. Be aware that some people may need a short adaptation period to become fully comfortable using the lenses.
These lenses are clear indoors, but darken as a reaction to the UV rays in sunlight. They protect your eyes from 100% of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, and can come in a variety of lens materials. Photochromic lenses offer the user the benefits of ‘regular’ glasses and sunglasses wrapped in one product.
Plastic lenses are light weight compared to glass, making them less likely to slip down your nose, especially in stronger prescriptions (stronger prescriptions tend to have thicker lenses). Plastic lenses are impact resistant, making them a better choice for children, active adults, sportswear, and safety wear. Plastic lenses are more likely to dent or crack rather than shatter the way glass does.
Polarized sunglass lenses are different than standard sunglasses in that they have a special filter within the lens that reduces glare. When sunlight hits off of a surface – particularly a smooth flat surface – the reflection can be amazingly bright. Polarized lenses are better at blocking this reflected light, making them an especially good solution for reducing glare while you do activities such as driving, boating, skiing, and fishing.
Polycarbonate lenses are the most-used alternative material for modern lenses. They are impact-resistant, lighter, provide 100 percent UV protection, are scratch resistant, and are easy to clean.They are great for sports protective eyewear and for kids.
Scratch resistant coating
Scratch Resistant Coating provides a much harder surface that is more resistant to scratching. Kids’ lenses, especially, benefit from a scratch-resistant hard coat. Today, most eyeglass lenses have a built-in scratch-resistant coating;however, the coating can also be optional. Be sure to ask your eye care provider if scratch resistant coating is included with your lenses or to add it in if it is an optional feature you would like to have.
UV coating is a lens treatment consisting of an invisible dye that blocks ultraviolet (UV) light. Regular plastic eyeglass lenses block most UV light, but adding a UV-blocking dye boosts UV protection to 100 percent for added safety. Other eyeglass lens materials, including polycarbonate, most high-index plastics, and Photochromic lenses have 100 percent UV protection built-in, so an extra lens treatment is not required for these lenses.