Health + Prevention

A checklist for buying new spectacles

Glasses for near and far, varifocals, sports spectacles, reading glasses or glasses for the workplace: what do you need to know?

20 September 2022

What’s important when you’re buying a new pair of spectacles? What do you need to know? What mistakes can you avoid, and how can you further enhance your enjoyment of your new spectacles? BETTER VISION with the comprehensive checklist for buying spectacles: for spectacles for near and far vision, progressive spectacles, sports spectacles, reading spectacles or spectacles for the workplace.

  • A checklist for buying new glasses

Before buying your next pair of spectacles - What do you need to know about buying spectacles?

The most important part of buying a new pair of spectacles is finding an optician who has plenty of time for you and provides you with detailed information and advice. Spectacles are very personal and unique items of everyday use that should be perfectly tailored to you and your lifestyle. Moreover, there are many different factors that influence how well you actually see with your new spectacles. Therefore, it’s even more important to have a comprehensive consultation and question-and-answer session with your optician, as well an optimum refraction with unhurried care and professional expertise. You should feel relaxed and comfortable during the refraction process. For example, vision tests and refraction should not be performed when you are suffering from hay fever with the associated eye irritation or migraine. Errors made during the eye examination and refraction can no longer be corrected in the finished spectacles, and may result in reduced visual comfort and vision correction that is anything but perfect. In the worst case, the result may be wearer intolerance. So take your time with this important step, and insist that your optician take his or her time as well.

No matter what kind of glasses you purchase, the following points are crucial when making your selection:

  • What purpose are the new spectacles intended for?
  • Please describe in detail the conditions in which you will be wearing your spectacles, both professionally and privately.
  • Do you have any diseases that may affect your eyes?
  • What did and didn’t you like about your old spectacles?
  • What lens coatings may be appropriate?

The starting point is determining the proper lenses. It is also important to bear in mind that

  • the frames you choose should match your personal style,  but also be appropriate for your vision needs.
  • Find out which lens materials and lens powers are the best for you. These will make your spectacles more comfortable to wear, offer better functionality and have cosmetic advantages.
  • Consult your optician about  lens enhancements  such as anti-reflective coatings, hard coatings, Clean Coat, tints and filters. These offer additional functionality and protection and can help to adapt your spectacles even more precisely to your specific needs.

What’s important in selecting your frames?

In addition to the lenses, the frames are very important. However, when trying on the different frames, there is more to consider than just your appearance. The way they fit is extremely important to long-term wearability and comfort. The frames must fit your face properly - you should not feel any pressure at the points of contact, such as behind your ear or on your nose. The optician should adapt the sides to the shape of your face so that you do not feel any pressure at your temples, even after wearing your spectacles for extended periods. Optimally adjusted sides exert only a slight pull behind the ear, preventing the weight of the spectacles from putting pressure on your nose. The general rule is that your spectacles fit perfectly when you don't even know you're wearing them.

The frames are optimally positioned when your eyebrows are either above or directly behind the upper edge of the frames. This ensures the best vision, because your view is not impaired by the edge of the frames or the lens. Be careful when selecting the size of your frames: the ideal size is determined by the distance between your eyes and the size of your eye sockets. However, the frames should not be much wider than your face and should never touch your cheekbones. Otherwise the lenses will fog, and pressure points may result on your face. Larger frames are currently trendy and offer comfortable vision and good wearability.

Tips for choosing the right spectacle lenses for you

  • If this is your first pair of spectacles, ask the optician to explain in detail the different types of lenses. For higher powers,  high-index materials  may be the best solution for you to minimize the weight and thickness of the lenses.
    When the lenses have been determined using the trial  frame in the refraction room, you should take the time, particularly if you are buying spectacles for the first time, to look through the selected lenses for a while, to walk through the room wearing them, and perhaps to read a text at a normal reading distance.

    Lens enhancements such as anti-reflective coatings, hard coatings, Clean Coat to make cleaning easier, etc. are also important considerations. Your optician will be happy to explain the options to you. When you intend to use your spectacles - for everyday wear, as a spare set of spectacles or only for specific occasions - is particularly important. Spectacle lens coatings can play a very special role, for example if you are often blinded by the sun or by the headlights of  oncoming traffic. Perhaps spectacles with  self-tinting lenses  would be the best solution for you.

    If you are already used to wearing spectacles, you should take the opportunity to discuss in detail with your optician what you particularly liked about your old spectacles and what you felt was not ideal. Small details can be very important in this regard and make seeing with spectacles much more relaxed and comfortable. Lens technology and coating options are also enhanced on an onging basis.

    Friends Chef Cook Cooking Concept

    Reading spectacles are the first pair of spectacles for many people. Generally, a distinction is made between two different types: normal reading spectacles with conventional frames and half-frame or half-moon spectacles. With the half-frame spectacles, you can look through the lenses when you lower your eyes, and see normally when you raise your eyes above the lenses. For both versions, the usual reading distance (i.e. the distance between your eyes and a book or an e-book reader) and the distance between your eyes are important factors in determining the optimum lens powers. It may be helpful to make a few notes at home in everyday situations before your eye examination, e.g.: how far from my face do I hold my mobile phone or book for reading while I am seated, and how far away when I am lying down? What’s the distance between my eyes and my laptop screen? Did you know, for example, that  you hold your smartphone closer to your eyes  than a book when you are reading? This valuable information helps your optician to optimize your reading spectacles for your vision habits.

  • Progressive lenses, though they are very common today, are small optical masterpieces. The goal is to create spectacles that enable you to see as if you had your original good vision without spectacles. Thus, multiple vision solutions must be integrated into a single lens, seamlessly and optimally to ensure the best possible interaction of your eyes. This is an optical challenge that requires great expertise, in-depth knowledge of mathematics and precise knowledge of each individual spectacle wearer.

    A man with glasses talking on mobile phone

    A special method is used to manufacture progressive lenses. When grinding the lens surface, various functions are integrated into one and the same lens - for near vision, distance vision and the transitional range. Moreover, a progressive lens should not only facilitate sharply focused vision when you look straight ahead through it, but also when you look to either side or up and down. All these tiny surfaces must be optimally coordinated with each other and meticulously calculated. Thus, your optician can provide many different levels of quality and degrees of customization for you to choose from. Ask your optician to provide you with detailed advice, so that you can get used to your new spectacles very quickly and enjoy natural vision.

    As a rule, the frames for progressive lenses should not be too small, as this will not provide enough space for the various vision zones. Moreover, the optician should not wait to fit your progressive lenses until you pick them up. Precise centration of the lenses in the new frames is crucial. If the alignment is just a few millimetres off, this can suffice to cause neck pain and headaches or can prevent you from taking full advantage of the progressive lenses.

  • Young female architect with glasses working on blueprint

    As for reading spectacles, the distance between the lenses and the object being viewed plays a major role in spectacles used at the workplace. In this context, this is called the “working distance.” Thus, before you buy spectacles for your work, you need to find out the range of viewing distances that you need: how far away from the screen do I normally sit? At what distance do I hold objects in my hand that have to be processed?

    And that's not all.  Do you frequently have conferences with colleagues or customers and need to be able to switch your focus easily and comfortably to different viewing ranges? Are lenses made of plastic or glass better for my needs?

    Particularly at work, you need to be able to see properly and comfortably and focus quickly at the required viewing distances. Lenses can enable you to do this if you tell your optician exactly what you require. It may be advisable in some cases to use special workplace spectacles instead of your everyday spectacles.

  • Running woman

    Where exactly you will wear your new sports spectacles plays a central role in the selection of the optimum eye wear: for what type of sports and in what situations will you be wearing your spectacles? For example, biking spectacles should provide proper UV protection as well as effective protection from the wind, e.g. via the size and curvature of the frames. Spectacles with polarizing lenses provide optimal protection against glare and are an excellent solution for constant changes between light and shadow.

    To prevent unpleasant surprises, all sports enthusiasts who wear helmets should always bring their helmets with them to the optician. For skiers, on the other hand, having a second pair of spectacles to fit underneath the ski goggles may be a good alternative to contact lenses. In this case, an anti-static coating is recommended to prevent fogging, or you can have ski goggles made to your prescription or have a clip made to fit over them.

After your purchase - do your spectacles really fit perfectly?

At last - you can pick up your new spectacles! Now the optician should check the following again:

  • How good is your vision with your new spectacles?
  • Were the lenses and the frames optimally fitted?
  • Are the special features functional and appropriate (lens coatings, tinting, etc.)?
  • In the case of progressive lenses: is the centraion perfect? Do the individual vision zones work for you? Take your time and walk around the room for several minutes with your new progressive lenses.

You should also check to ensure that the lenses are firmly mounted in the frames. Does the optician need to make any adjustments? The same applies when the edges of the lenses are too clearly visible from the front or the spectacles are exerting too much pressure on your nose or behind your ears.

The general rule is:  talk to your optician - he or she will be more than happy to help you. And should you later have any difficulties with your spectacles, go back to your optician. Remember: even though it may take a bit of time to get used to your new spectacles, they should feel good in any case, and your vision must always be as clear as possible!

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