We live in a fashion-conscious culture, making a person’s choice of glasses (or frames) often a statement of personal style or expression. Sometimes, that expression is more bold. For others, it may be more classic and conservative. And others choose frames that are somewhere in between. However, beyond the stylistic elements of choosing a frame there are functional considerations as well. Does a person need a lighter frame or a more sturdy frame or, perhaps, one of each? Does a person need a certain size frame to match their facial features or accommodate certain prescription or visual needs? Does a person need glasses for work or glasses for recreation or both?
It’s no wonder then that so much thought is put into the selection of the frames by both the patient and the eyewear specialist (optician).
However, solely focusing on the frames and not putting considerable thought into the types of prescription lenses going into those frames is potentially detrimental to overall visual experience. While frame styles, shapes and sizes certain influence a patient’s experience with his or her new glasses, it’s the prescription lenses that have the greatest impact on clarity, visual comfort, and satisfaction with the eyewear investment.
At Coastal Vision, we refer to the selection of frames and lenses as an investment in better vision and quality of life, not just a purchase or transaction. And, the greatest return on that investment–for a person’s visual experience–is in the prescription lenses. When patients follow the recommendations from the doctors and opticians concerning prescription lenses, overall visual comfort and satisfaction and experience will be at its best.
There’s a common misconception that, as long as the glasses prescription is correct, it makes no difference on the type of prescription lenses put into the frames. Unfortunately, this is grossly inaccurate. Not all prescription lenses are created equal. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to selecting the type of prescription lens for each patient.
For example, there are several different types of lenses: basic plastic, polycarbonate, trivex, high-index (thin and light), and ultra high index (ultra thin and light). Each lenses has its own unique combination of benefits and opportunities due to considerable advancements in technology.
The job of the doctor and the optician is to prescribe and dispense prescription lenses that best match the visual needs of the patient. When types of lenses are considered, the following are assessed: the strength of the glasses prescription, the function of the glasses, the size and shape of the frame, the occupational needs of the patient, the recreational activities of the patient, experience with previous prescription glasses, unique visual or functional needs of the patient, the presence of ocular conditions or disease, and other factors.
At Coastal Vision, we see very little benefit in patients getting standard plastic lenses when the benefits of the other lens types are overwhelmingly better for a person’s overall satisfaction and visual comfort in their new glasses. While standard plastic lenses were advanced 30+ years ago, technology advances have made the other types of prescription lenses significantly better options–giving the doctor and optician and chance to provide a customized, tailored approach to providing exceptional vision.