Eyeglasses are out-of-control expensive. None of this is helped by the fact that most of the makers of eyeglasses are owned by the same companies, who also own the companies who make the frames. While it seems like it's impossible to get quality lenses affordably, with a few of my tricks you can change your glasses like you change your shoes.
Trick 1: Understand Your Prescription
- Contact lenses require a separate prescription. You can't order glasses with a contacts script.
- If you have a complicated prescription, make sure you understand what makes it tricky. Bifocals? Do you require special lenses or coatings?
- Get your eye doctor to determine your PD, or pupillary distance. This is the distance between your pupils. It's kind of a key measurement and while you can measure it yourself, it's easy to botch.
- Determine your "temple arm" length to find glasses that will fit comfortably from your ear to your nose. Every pair of glasses has a few separate measurements on the arms and bridge. Understanding these numbers is key. The temple arm measurement (mine is 135-140) is the length of the arm and the piece that curves around your ear. If you have a pair of glasses that are comfortable, look to select a pair of glasses with a similar temple arm measurement. I wouldn't stray more than 5 millimeters either way unless your existing glasses are uncomfortable.
- Determine the width of your glasses, by looking for a small number on the bridge of the nose. The width of my last pair of glasses was 52 per lens. Use this as a reference for how wide your lenses will be. If you want a wider lens, look for a slightly larger number. Again, don't stray too far from this number, unless you are going for a completely different look.
- Determine the distance between your lenses. The number following the square is the distance between your lenses; in my case, this is 17. Picking a pair with a larger number means the lenses will be farther apart. On plastic frames, this may relate to how the glasses sit on the bridge of your nose. On frames with nose pads, this can be adjusted slightly. Again, you don't want to stray too far from your original number, unless you were unhappy with your fit.
Trick 3: Understand Your Options
Now that you are ready to shop, where do you start?
I love GlassesUSA and just got my first pair of progressive lens glasses. No, progressives aren't those lenses that change color, they are bifocals without the obvious line across the lens. Honestly, I was terrified to step into progressive lenses online but, using my methods, the lenses are perfect.
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