Eyeglasses are even more popular today than they ever used to be, despite the large availability and use of contact lenses and vision correction surgery.
Frame styles branded with high-profile designer brands are always in demand because eyeglasses have become a fashion accessory. The average person now has several pairs with different styles and colors matching their wardrobe and outfit for the day. Eyeglass frame materials have evolved with the advent of new plastics and various types of metals.
For safety glasses, you may want an extra tough plastic, such as polycarbonate. If you suffer from skin allergies, hypoallergenic metals such as titanium or stainless steel are good choices.
Certain frames are made with highly flexible metal alloys, which reduce the possibility of breakage. Spring hinges also add durability, and are a great option for children’s eyewear.
Multi-colored inlays, composite materials, designer emblems, and enhancements such as insets of precious stones may also be found in popular frame styles.
Rimless styles have become more popular in recent years as another way to wear eyeglasses without obvious frames. Some of them are made of titanium making them so light and comfortable, it almost feels like not wearing anything at all. Rimless styles mainly involve attaching plastic or metal temples directly onto the lenses rather than onto a frame.
Advances in eyeglass lenses
You also have many options when choosing the lenses for your eyeglasses. My biggest recommendation is to get your lenses coated with the anti-reflective coating. It provides the best vision and makes your eyeglasses look its best. Among the most popular types of lenses and lens options prescribed today are:
- Aspheric lenses, which have a slimmer, more attractive profile than other lenses. They also eliminate that magnified, “bug-eye” look caused by some prescriptions.
- High index lenses, which are made of new materials that enable the lenses to be noticeably thinner and lighter than regular plastic lenses.
- Polycarbonate lenses are thinner, lighter and up to 10 times more impact-resistant than regular plastic lenses. These lenses are great for safety glasses, children’s eyewear, and for anyone who wants lightweight, durable lenses. They also have an in-built UV protection.
- Photochromic lenses are sun-sensitive lenses that quickly darken in bright conditions, and quickly return to a clear state in ordinary indoor lighting. It is also known as Transition lenses. A nice convenient add-on to have if you are indoors and outdoors frequently.
- Polarized lenses diminish glare from flat, reflective surfaces (like water) and also reduce eye fatigue. A must add-on for your prescription sunglasses.
- Anti-reflective coatings are among the most popular add-ons for lenses. They can dramatically improve the look and comfort of your glasses by minimizing the amount of light that reflects off the surface of your lenses, which also has the added benefit of reducing glare and thus easing eye fatigue. A must add-on if you want the best and clearest vision.
- Other lens coatings include scratch-resistant, ultraviolet treatment, and mirror coatings.
Eyeglass lenses for presbyopia
Presbyopia is the normal, age-related loss of near focusing ability that makes reading and other close-up tasks more difficult after age 40.
This means that the usual type of eyeglass lenses you’ve likely been accustomed to wearing, known as single vision lenses, no longer will work well for you.
Multifocal eyeglass lenses available for presbyopia correction include:
- Bifocals: Lenses with two powers – one for distance and one for near – separated by a visible line.
- Trifocals: Lenses with three powers for seeing at varying distances – near, intermediate and far – separated by two visible lines.
- Progressive lenses: These lenses have advanced over time and today we have varying designs and qualities with some designs offering wider zones with less distortion than others allowing more comfortable viewing. I recommend paying more for the best lens design as it really makes a difference. These lenses have many advantages over bifocals and trifocals because they allow the wearer to focus at many different distances, not just two or three. Because they have no lines, progressive lenses allow a smooth, comfortable transition from one distance to another. This is my best recommendation especially if you also work on the computer as part of your daily routine. Always get the the anti-reflective coating on your lenses as it reduces reflections and eye fatigue.
If you see well in the distance without the need for eyeglasses, simple reading glasses with single vision lenses may be all you need to deal with near vision problems caused by presbyopia.
We should all be aware of the importance of protecting our eyes from the harmful UV rays when we are outdoors. It is especially important for children to have sunglasses on when outdoors. Most of our UV exposure in our life occurs when we are less than 18 years of age as that is when we spend our most time outdoors. UV rays are known to accelerate cataracts and macular degeneration so sunglass protection can slow down its development. Sunglasses come in varying styles and colors and it can be made in your prescription. I recommend getting it polarized with an anti-reflecting coating to cut down glare. If you wear prescription glasses, you should definitely have a pair of prescription sunglasses in your car when you drive.
Your appearance, personal taste and lifestyle should all be considered when choosing eyeglasses. We can help you choose frames and lenses that both complement your appearance and meet your lifestyle needs.
Meyer Izaac, O.D.