Picking the Right Eyeglass Frame

Don’t like wearing glasses? Maybe you just haven’t found the right frames. In addition to helping you see the world more clearly, eyeglasses should enhance (not detract from) your appearance, and should be comfortable, stylish and stay properly positioned on your face.

Here are a few essential tips when shopping for eyeglass frames:

Consider Your Face Shape

One of the most important factors to consider when selecting eyewear is to assess the shape of your face before trying on frames. Why? Because the most attractive eyeglass frames are those that complement and balance your facial features, not mimic them. In other words, if you have a very round face, rectangular frames or other frames with well-defined angles will look better than round frames (which will tend to exaggerate the roundness of your face).

There are seven basic face shapes. Though everyone’s face is a unique blend of shapes, here are some helpful tips to determine your predominant facial shape and which frame styles will look best on you:

Round

  • A round face has nearly symmetrical curves, and the height and width is nearly the same.
  • Frames with angular shapes tend to look best on a round face, and rectangular frames that are wider than they are deep will help a round face look slightly taller, giving it a more pleasing oval appearance.
Oval

  • An oval face is taller than its width and has gentle curves. An oval face generally is considered the ideal shape because of its balanced proportions.
  • A person with an oval face can wear many frame styles successfully. To maintain the attractive balance of an oval face, look for frames that are as wide as (or wider than) the broadest part of the face and avoid frames that have an excessive width or depth.

 

Oblong

  • An oblong face is longer than it is wide and has a long straight cheek line and sometimes a longish nose.
  • To make an oblong face appear shorter and more balanced, try frames that have more depth than width. Decorative or contrasting temples also can add width to the face for a more balanced appearance.
Base-Down Triangle

  • A base-down triangular face has a narrow forehead and widens at the cheeks and lower portion of the face.
  • To add width to the narrow upper third of the face, try frames that have a “cat-eye” shape and/or decorative detailing on the top half of the frame.
Base-Up Triangle

  • A broad forehead and a slender jaw line characterize this face shape.
  • To minimize the width of the top half of the face, try frames that are wider at the bottom, such as an aviator shape. Also, light frame colors and rimless frame designs tend to look good on this face shape.
Diamond

  • Diamond-shaped faces have a relatively narrow forehead and jaw line, and broad (sometimes high) cheekbones. This face shape is relatively rare.
  • To highlight the eyes and soften the cheekbones of a diamond-shaped face, try frames that are prominent or distinctive at the top of the frame (at the brow line). Oval rimless frames also look good.
Square

  • A square face has a broad forehead and a prominent, angular jaw line, and the length and width of the face are of similar proportion.
  • To make a square face look softer, try oval frames or other curved frame shapes that have more width than depth.

 

Choose a Frame That Complements Your Skin Tone and Eye Color

According to eyewear experts at The Vision Council, the best frame colors complement your natural skin tone and enhance the color of your eyes.

When considering your skin tone, understand that all complexions are categorized as having either a “cool” or “warm” color base. A cool complexion has blue or pink undertones; a warm complexion has a “peaches and cream” or yellow undertones.

There’s one exception: olive-colored skin is considered cool despite being a mixture of blue and yellow tones. Hair color also is categorized as cool or warm. Cool hair colors include blue-black, salt-and-pepper, auburn, strawberry blond, platinum blond, and silver-white. Examples of warm hair colors include yellow-blond, golden brown, black with brown undertones, and brown-gray.

Eye color is another secondary element in determining your coloring, but there are many subtle variations of eye color. For example, blue eyes can range from nearly violet (cool) to a pale blue-gray (warm). Brown eyes can vary from a light cider shade (warm) to nearly black (cool).

Once you consider your skin tone, hair color and eye color, it’s time to start picking frames that complement your coloring:

  • Frame colors that usually look best on cool complexions include black, gray, silver, blue, blue-gray, pink, and dark tortoise.
  • Frame colors that complement warm complexions include: gold, copper, brown, khaki, peach, fire-engine red, and blond tortoise.

You may be tempted to choose a frame color that “goes with everything.” But consider instead a color that truly flatters you and helps you make your personal style statement.

Make Sure It Fits

For both comfort and appearance, the size of your eyeglass frames should be in scale with your face size. Here are a few tips to make sure your eyeglasses will be comfortable and fit well:

  • For adequate width, the edge of the frames should protrude slightly beyond the width of your face so that the frame temples don’t press against the side of your head.
  • Make sure the temples are long enough so they can be adjusted properly behind your ears to keep the frame securely on your face when bending over or making quick movements. (Your optician will help with this fit.)
  • The bridge of the frame should rest comfortably and securely on the bridge of your nose, without pinching. (Frames with adjustable nosepieces enable a more customized fit.)

Remember: even if you love the “look” of a frame, if it doesn’t fit properly, you’ll be unhappy in the long run.

 

Progressive Lenses

Progressive lens “Zones”

Progressive lenses, sometimes referred to as “no-line” bifocals, provide vision correction for the three basic vision zones – distance vision, intermediate vision, and near vision. Because they provide vision in these three zones, they are often thought of as a type of trifocal.

In reality, progressive lenses are neither a type of bifocal or trifocal – they are “aspheric” in design, which means the curvature (and focusing power) gradually changes from the top of the lens to the bottom. It is this gradual change or “progression” in power from top to bottom that gives rise to the name “progressive.”

Progressive lenses provide a great solution for many people who find their present lens design limits their vision for a particular distance or activity. Progressives offer a range of vision as close to natural as can be obtained from prescription eyeglasses. They provide clearer vision not just for distance, intermediate and near but also for all distances in between. Because there is no abrupt change of power in the lens, there are no visible dividing lines.

The distance zone of the lens allows you to see objects from a few feet away to as far as your eye can see. The mid-range portion of the lens (“progression corridor”) allows you to clearly see anything at an arm’s length, such as your computer screen, objects on your desk, or items on a shelf at the supermarket. The lowest part of the lens, the near zone, allows you to see up close. The design of progressive lenses also allows a more natural and relaxed head posture when viewing objects at slightly longer reading distances, such as a newspaper or computer screen.

More Options – A variety of progressive lens designs are available today. Some progressives are designed with a wider intermediate zone to work especially well for computer use. Others have a larger reading zone. In the past, a larger frame was often required when selecting progressive lenses. If a frame was too small, a large portion of the near zone was removed when cutting the lens to fit the frame. Many lens manufacturers now offer “compact” progressive designs that work very well with smaller frames. Progressives are available in glass, plastic, polycarbonate, and photochromic (light-sensitive) lenses.

Modern progressive lenses offer outstanding clarity and comfort for seeing at all distances. Modern designs also make the adaptation process much easier than in the past. if you’ve tried progressives before, realize that much has changed in both lens design and materials. The next time you update your glasses, be sure to ask if progressive lenses might be right for you.

Computer Vision Correction

Working for long periods on a computer is a demanding visual task. Daily, millions of Americans use a computer for hours at a time, both at work and at play. Many of them routinely experience symptoms of headache, fatigue, blurry vision, scratchy eyes, or pain in the shoulders, neck or back.

Our eyes and brain react differently to characters displayed on a computer screen than they do to characters printed on paper. Computer images are less distinct than printed characters, may have perceptible flicker, and usually have less contrast between characters and the background. Computer users must rapidly switch focus from keyboard to monitor and vice versa; this constant refocusing can also contribute to symptoms.

What are computer glasses?

Computer glasses are prescription glasses that are specifically designed to wear when doing computer work. They allow you to focus your eyes comfortably on a computer screen, which is usually farther away than reading material is held.

General purpose bifocals and trifocals are not designed for computer work. Bifocals force the wearer to tilt the head back in order to focus on the screen, while looking through the lower portion of the bifocal lenses. While conventional trifocals allow a more normal head posture, they generally have too small an area for viewing the computer screen and the visible dividing lines can be a significant distraction.

Which kind of computer glasses are the best?

There is no one type of computer glasses that fits all or is the best for everyone. Visual ability, personal preferences of the computer operator, the type of work, the distance between the computer user’s eyes and the monitor, and lighting design in the workplace should all be taken into consideration when selecting computer glasses.

Lens design and lens options vary significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer. It’s always best to make your final selection of computer glasses based upon the advice and recommendations of your eye doctor; however, all of the options listed below have proven to be beneficial for computer users.

Progressive Addition Lenses

Surveys conducted among persons working long hours with computers revealed that Progressive Addition Lenses (PALs) were the lenses of choice. These modern lenses have more than just the cosmetic advantage of “no lines.” They provide all the benefits of bifocals but add the feature of continuous clear vision at all distances, including mid-range distance (arm’s length). Several lens manufactures have introduced PALs designed specifically for computer use. These specialized PALs allow an even wider field of view for near and intermediate working distances than standard PALs.

Anti-Reflective coating

Today’s advanced Anti-Reflective (AR) coatings eliminate bothersome reflections from overhead lights and computer monitors. AR coatings not only reduce reflections but increase the amount of light transmitted through the lenses to the wearer’s eyes. It may seem strange but AR coated lenses actually appear clearer than uncoated clear lenses…sometimes appearing to be nearly “invisible.”

Natural light sources (windows) can be especially bothersome in the workplace. When a window is located over the wearer’s shoulder, natural light striking the back surfaces of the lenses bounces directly into the wearer’s eyes. Since outside light levels are quite high, the intensity of these reflections can be even greater than reflections from light sources within the workplace. An AR coating placed on the back surfaces of the lenses eliminates these “outside” reflections as well.

High Index Lenses

Modern technology has created lenses that bend light differently so that stronger corrections are thinner than when made in conventional materials. Such lenses are called “high index”. High index materials can drastically reduce the thickness and weight of prescription lenses. Lens thickness can sometimes be cut by as much as 50% by simply using a higher index material and choosing an appropriate frame. High index materials are more shatter resistant than traditional plastic and will improve the appearance of any prescription.

Note: High index lenses bend light to a greater degree so an anti-reflective coating is especially recommended to maximize their performance and cosmetic advantages.

In Conclusion

  • Computer glasses provide a wide field of view so that the user can clearly read both their computer screen and closer printed material.
  • Anti-glare coatings can be used to eliminate bothersome reflections from windows, overhead lights and other nearby computer monitors.
  • Use of high-index lens materials keeps lenses thinner and lighter in weight.
  • Computer glasses give the most natural, comfortable vision possible.
  • Computer PALs provide clearer vision for reading and viewing screens at intermediate distances better than any previously designed lens.

If you’re one of the millions of people who use a computer on a regular basis, be sure to ask your eye doctor about “computer glasses” the next time you have your eyes examined or replace your current prescription.

Eyeglasses That Suit Your Style

Eyeglasses play two important (and very different) roles — they correct your vision to influence how you see the world; and they contribute to your appearance and style, influencing how the world sees you.

So it’s wise to keep these two functions in mind when shopping for glasses: you want glasses that give you the best vision possible — and that complement your style, too!

When it comes to style, it’s all about the frames.

Would You Wear Flip-Flops with a Business Suit?

First things first: Unless your budget simply won’t allow it, you should be thinking about purchasing more than one pair of glasses to complement your wardrobe and lifestyle.

Even if your style is just-off-the-beach casual, you wouldn’t wear flip-flops to an important business meeting, would you? (Okay, maybe if you’re in the surfboard business you might, but you get the picture, right?) Or wear running shoes with an evening dress. So dispel yourself of the notion that one pair of glasses will give you the look you want or need for every situation.

That said, here are some general tips for a few common styles:

Eyeglasses for Serious Business

To put your best face forward and exude confidence with a wide variety of business clients and colleagues, it’s usually best to stay with conservative frame shapes and colors. Also:

  • Minimalist metal or rimless frames are always good.
  • Classic oval and rectangular shapes usually look best with business attire.
  • Silver, gunmetal, brown and black are good choices for men.
  • Silver, gold, espresso brown, burgundy and black are good choices for women.
  • Classic tortoise patterns also work well for women and men.
  • Avoid bright colors or unusual shapes.
  • Avoid very large and very small lens sizes; stay in the middle.

Glasses That Show Your Creativity

For a more creative or fashion-forward appearance and for fun times outside the office, consider frames that are more attention-grabbing in shape and color:

  • Consider geometric shapes in thicker and larger plastic frames.
  • For metal frames look for styles with more temple detailing.
  • Consider frames with more dramatic colors or patterns.
  • Multi-colored laminates are often a good choice.
  • Retro or vintage styles with modern detailing and/or colors also are good.

Glasses for the Modern Baby Boomer or Senior

Just because you’re eligible for an AARP card doesn’t mean you have to wear stodgy, old-fashioned glasses.

For a more youthful appearance, consider frame styles that are uplifting for the face, such as upswept rectangles for men and soft cat-eye shapes for women.

Pay attention to scale. Avoid those huge metal frames that older men often wear. Also, make sure your eyes are well-centered within the lens opening and purchase anti-reflective lenses to draw more attention to your eyes.

Also, frames with lighter colors and a high-gloss finish often look more youthful on women.

The Young Intellectual

Whether you’re studying art, French literature, finance or engineering, college is a time to develop your own identity — and show off your style.

Seize the day and don’t be afraid to express yourself. Experiment with eyewear styling, including eye-catching colors, shapes and sizes.

Want to go in a different direction? Try a retro frame in basic black.

Glasses for the Weekend Warrior

Most working adults live dual lives — their normal 9-to-5 weekday life and their (usually) more active life on the weekends.

Just as dress shoes are the wrong attire for the gym, the glasses you wear in the office are nearly always the wrong choice for sports and active wear.

For the best comfort, performance and safety during “weekend warrior” hours, choose at least one pair of sports-appropriate eyeglasses or sunglasses.

Styling can range from wraparounds to more conventionally shaped eyeglasses and sunglasses. Sporty looks can include bright colors and modern combinations of metal and plastic materials.

Some important words about lenses here: Make sure you choose lightweight polycarbonate or Trivex lenses for your sports glasses and sunglasses. Lenses made of these materials are far more impact-resistant than other eyeglass lenses, and they are significantly lighter, too, to stay comfortably in place on your face. Also, consider getting sun-sensitive (photochromic) treatment applied to these lenses for optimal sight in changing light conditions.

For sunglasses for sports and active wear, consider polarized lenses to more effectively reduce glare caused by light bouncing back from water, concrete and other reflective surfaces.

The Complete Package

A common misstep people make when putting together a wardrobe is forgetting about their glasses and sunglasses.

At a minimum, the well-dressed woman or man should have an eyewear wardrobe that includes:

  1. A pair of glasses for the office, computer and/or formal wear
  2. A pair of glasses for a casual wear
  3. A pair of glasses with photochromic polycarbonate (or Trivex) lenses for sports and active/safety wear
  4. A pair of “dress” sunglasses for fashion use

(If you spend significant amounts of time fishing, on the beach or boating, consider a pair of sports glasses with polarized polycarbonate lenses for superior protection from glare.)