Consumer Guide to
Browse the Table of Contents below, or start by reading our Eyeglass Basics article.
Table of Contents
Thinking About Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses? - Sponsored Section
Take this brief assessment to find out which options are right for you.
Children's Eyeglasses: Like Yours, But More Fun
How to choose prescription eyeglasses your kids will actually want to wear. Also read our 10 Tips for Buying Kids' Eyewear. And see the latest New Frames for Kids & Teens.
Eyeglass Frame Materials
Choose the right frame material for your prescription eyeglasses, whether you need it to be lightweight, flexible, strong, or hypoallergenic. Also read our FAQ about eyeglasses and our Eye Doctor Q&A on eyeglass frames.
How To Choose Eyeglasses That Suit Your Personality and Lifestyle
Does your wardrobe make a strong statement? Eyeglasses with unusual shapes and colors might be for you. But if you mainly wear your eyeglasses at work, you might want to discover which styles say: "competent professional." Whatever your personality or lifestyle, this article will help you find the eyeglasses you want.
Size of Prescription Eyeglasses: How Frame Sizes Work
It's not as simple as small, medium, and large, so here's an explanation of sizes of prescription eyeglasses.
Specialty Eyeglasses: For All Seasons, for All Reasons
Specialty eyewear includes eyeglasses and sunglasses that are designed for a specific purpose, such as computer use, driving, work, hobbies, protecting your eyes and more. Can you benefit from special eyeglasses? Read this article to help you decide. Also read our Eye Doctor Q&A on eye safety, plus how to choose safety glasses and safety goggles.
Learn about fashionable eyeglass styles that are designed for both men and women.
UV Radiation and Eye Health Dangers - Sponsored Section
Learn about the variety of eye problems caused by overexposure to UV radiation and how you can protect your eyes.
What's New in Prescription Eyeglass Frames
See the newest trends in adult eyeglasses from frame manufacturers around the world.
Which Eyeglasses Would Look Best on You?
This frame shape and color analysis will help you match your face shape to complementary eyeglasses and choose the colors that are most flattering for you.
- Trouble using eye drops? Try the Tears Again Liposome Eyelid Spray
- Do you know your UV Risk? Learn about daily activities that threaten your eye health.
- Wear glasses? Solar Shield sunglasses are made to fit over your prescription glasses or readers for convenient sun protection.
- This useful, one-stop guide takes you through the LASIK experience before, during and after surgery
Learn how anti-reflective (AR) coating makes your eyeglass lenses nearly invisible and eliminates lens reflections that cause glare.
Aspherics are ideal for strong prescriptions because they are flatter and thinner. They also provide better vision than ordinary lenses and look better because they lessen farsighted eye magnification and nearsighted eye minification.
Bifocals and Multifocal Lenses
Bifocals and trifocals come in many sizes and configurations. Here's what you need to know to choose the right bifocal or trifocal lenses for your needs, depending on whether you sit at a computer all day, work on automobiles, play golf, etc. Also read our Eye Doctor Q&A on bifocal lenses.
Eyeglass Lens Coatings
Anti-reflective coating, scratch resistant coating, anti-fog and UV lens treatments are options that enhance your vision and appearance, increase the durability of your eyeglasses and protect your eyes from the sun's harmful rays.
Learn how new high-definition eyeglass lenses (free-form and wavefront lenses) produce sharper vision than regular eyeglass lenses.
The lens at left has anti-reflective coating. See the glare spots on the other lens? Learn about anti-reflective coatings. (Image: Joseph Bruneni)
How To Read Eyeglass Prescriptions
Find out what all the numbers mean and why you can't buy contact lenses with an eyeglass prescription.
The iLASIK Procedure - Sponsored Section
Learn about this advanced laser vision correction procedure for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
My LASIK Journey Guide - Sponsored Section
This useful guide provides the answers to all of your questions about LASIK, whether you’re just starting your research or want information about the procedure and follow-up care.
Occupational Bifocals and Trifocals
Special-purpose multifocal lenses can help people over age 40 perform certain tasks at home or at work more comfortably. Read about occupational bifocals and trifocals and how they work better than general purpose bifocals and progressive lenses for specific tasks.
Photochromic lenses are clear indoors and darken automatically in sunlight for greater comfort in different lighting conditions. Transitions Optical makes the most popular brand, which has led some people to call all photochromic lenses "transition lenses" or Transitions lenses. But there are other brands, too.
Polycarbonate and Trivex Lenses
Polycarbonate lenses and Trivex lenses are lighter and more impact-resistant than regular plastic lenses. They're great for safety glasses, sports eyeglasses and children's eyewear.
Progressive Addition Lenses
Progressive lenses can do everything a bifocal or trifocal can do, but without the lines. Here's how they work and why you should consider them if you have presbyopia.
By the time you reach age 40 and your eyesight is otherwise good, it's very likely you will need special reading glasses to help you see that fine print on the menu.
Variable Focus Lenses
New variable focus and adjustable focus eyeglasses offer a wider field of vision than conventional bifocals and progressive lenses. Also, read about self-adjustable eyewear for the developing world.
What's New in Eyeglass Lenses
See the latest technology in new prescription lens products.
Choosing the right eyeglasses often depends on individual traits such as hair color, face size and even the type of vision correction you need.
If you have an unusually wide face, for example, you may need to shop around for extra-large eyeglass frames. On the other hand, smaller faces may require a petite frame size.
Unusually strong corrections also can make lenses look thick or distorted when eyeglass frames are oversized.
Choosing Eyeglasses That Fit Your Lifestyle
Besides complementing your looks, eyeglasses also need to suit your lifestyle.
For example, a rough-and-tumble teenager who engages in all manner of outdoor activities will have far different needs for eyeglasses than an office worker who spends hours at a desk.
Active people also may need to consider extra eye protection such as sports or safety goggles. For those who love fashion, designer eyeglasses with embellishments such as crystals and logos are a fun option.
If you have reached your 40s, you will need to consider different eyeglass options for correcting near vision problems caused by presbyopia such as:
- Progressive lenses
- Bifocals or trifocals
- Occupational lenses
- Reading glasses
- Computer glasses
In some cases, you may need different pairs of eyeglasses depending on whether you are driving down the highway or sitting indoors in front of a computer screen.
Your eye doctor or optician can advise you about the right fit for you, as well as discuss coatings and tints that can help you see your best in different circumstances such as low lighting at dusk.
[Page updated June 6, 2013]