Choosing the right eyewear is more than just a fashion statement.
There’s no doubt finding the right eyewear can be fun: trying on frames, seeing what looks best on you, and choosing a style and color that reflect your taste and personality. For many, selecting eyewear is as enjoyable as shopping for shoes. But there’s a serious side to choosing eyewear, too. The eyewear you select can have an important impact on your vision health and wellness—from proper fit and safety to protecting your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun.
As you look to see what’s the right eyewear for you, keep the following considerations in view:
The eyewear you select can have an important impact on your vision health and wellness.
Frames: What frames are the best fit for you? That depends on a multitude of factors, such as what you do and the shape of your face. Today’s frames come in a variety of styles, and your eye doctor and staff can work with you to find a pair that reflects your preferences and lifestyle needs. When you choose frames that fit in with your life, you’re more likely to wear them, and they’re less likely to be a distraction—a good thing for your vision and your safety.
Lenses: Eyeglass lenses are, of course, what makes your corrective eyewear work. By bending light, lenses correct refractive errors, enabling you to see better. Whether you’re nearsighted, farsighted, presbyopic or astigmatic, it is important to select the lenses and treatments to optimize your corrective eyewear. A few lens types to consider are explained below:
Polycarbonate lenses: Made from a thinner, lighter-weight material than traditional lenses, polycarbonate lenses are more impact resistant (although no lens is completely unbreakable or shatterproof). Children, athletes and those needing safety glasses frequently use this material. In addition, polycarbonate lenses naturally block almost all UV rays.1
Photochromic lenses: These lenses darken when they are exposed to sunlight and lighten when the wearer returns indoors. Photochromic lenses are a good choice for people who want the protection and comfort of sunglasses without having to switch eyewear, and they protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet radiation.
Progressive lenses: Often referred to as “no-line” bifocals, progressive lenses allow the wearer to have the benefits of multifocal lenses with a blended lens, enabling more natural vision correction.
Contacts: Whether you have an active lifestyle, need peripheral vision correction or simply want freedom from wearing eyeglasses, contact lenses could be the right choice for you. In fact, about one in five people who use vision correction turn to contact lenses.2 However, deciding to wear contact lenses is a big decision. To wear them properly, and to avoid potential complications, requires dexterity and commitment. Your eye doctor can help you determine if you’re a good candidate for contacts.
Sunwear: Celebrities may sport sunglasses for the fashion, but everyone can benefit from protecting their own eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays harm both the internal and external structures of the eye and carry short- and long-term effects. Protecting your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays can help preserve your eyesight. When looking for eye protection, make sure the lenses block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.3 Wraparound sunglass frames can offer even greater protection.
Make a statement—to your health: The next time you’re choosing eyewear, go ahead and express yourself. Because when you find the eyewear that fits your needs and lifestyle—from frames that feel just right to prescription sunglasses that look cool and protect your eyes—you’re making a statement that helps keep your vision in top form.
- American Optometric Association, “Sunglass Shopping Guide,” 2008.
- All About Vision, “Contact Lens Basics,” October 2010.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency.