rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
I am almost certainly getting glasses at the end of the month[1], and I have NO IDEA how to choose glasses.  Please advise!  
  • I will be wearing them for reading and screen work, so the vast majority of my waking time, ahahaha.  
  • I will have a very low strength prescription, which I think means the available choice will be huge.  
Would it be terrible to buy a couple of cheap frames of very different design, and then go back in a few months when I have developed Opinions through usage?  What even is the decision space?  Shapes? Colours? Materials? Construction?  What are the common buyer mistakes / obnoxious selling behaviours in the market?


[1] I've had very mild astigmatism in my right eye for years, and it has very slowly been worsening, and it has recently passed the threshold of "I am noticing this and it is annoying me on a daily basis".  I am off to the optometrist for an up-to-date eye test and then some glasses.  Ah the joys of approaching 40. 


Date: 2016-11-02 14:25 (UTC)
jackandahat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jackandahat
The only thing to be aware of with buying a couple of different frames is how different view areas might affect you. I've just switched from quite small to quite large (in terms of how big the lense itself is) and it kept throwing me - I was used to looking down/to the side and everything going out of focus, now that's still in view. It's not a problem, just something to keep in mind.

(Bear in mind I'm *badly* short sighted though and have been forever, so if you're only a bit - I'm assuming you're long sighted? - that might be less of an issue.)

Also, unless you actually care about brand name - the shop will often have very similar style in own brand for quite a bit less, and there's very little difference.

Date: 2016-11-02 22:34 (UTC)
crazyscot: Me at an outside broadcast (Default)
From: [personal profile] crazyscot
If you're short sighted and planning to wear glasses indoors, you might be surprised at the difference they make getting around outdoors. While I can legally drive or cycle without my glasses on (I'm short sighted in both eyes, approx 1 dioptre), I find I'm much happier with them on because of the improvement in my distance vision.

If you do decide to wear glasses outdoors, you might later decide you want prescription sunglasses - if so I recommend polarising coatings.

Date: 2016-11-02 14:29 (UTC)
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
From: [personal profile] liv
You probably won't have this problem if you have a low prescription, but many opticians have something set up so you can take a photo of yourself wearing the frames if you can't see your face in the mirror without glasses. And if they don't you can approximate this by taking a selfie.

A lot of places do two frames for the price of one; Boots and Specsavers I'm fairly sure have an ongoing "special offer" of that nature and it's worth asking about, especially with your plan to get two contrasting frames. If you only need very basic lenses these are often included in the price, but a lot of the time the two for one offer is slightly misleading as any modifications to the lenses may cost extra and then buying two pairs is no longer the same price as a single pair. (I need lightweight lenses not because I'm vain but because lenses made of standard glass just don't come thick enough to correct my vision, but again, with a weak prescription that's likely not an issue for you.)

For me, the most important feature in choosing glasses is that they don't have a weak point at the hinge, where the arm joins the frames. Otherwise I inevitably break them within weeks. There are various ways to avoid this, having sprung hinges, or putting the hinge a little way along the arm, not right on the corner.

The other advice is that glasses are gendered approximately arbitrarily; if you can't find what you want in the women's section, try the men's.

Date: 2016-11-02 14:40 (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
[ background; worn glasses since 1978 ]

Changing frames MAY require changing lens shape, in complicated ways. This may mean "pay for a complete set of frames and lenses" (costly, time-consuming, this is essentially "make a new pair of glasses) or it may mean "pop lenses out, put in new frame" (this is quick and cheap, should be doable while you wait).

For me, the main consideration is comfort, a surprisingly multi-dimensional space. There's the pressure of the arms, how the back of the arms ride on top of your ears, the nose bridge design, weight, materials, ... I'm also very keen on glasses that have a "sprung" hinge. Basically, the arms are hinged in such a way that over-opening them just tensions springs, rather than breaking or deforming the frame (see "metal" rationale below).

Material-wise, I tend towards "metal" (not overly fussed, as long as it's a strong metal, but I use my glasses while doing high-impact sports, so...). I used to prefer arms that wrapped around my ears, but I'm now more than likely to wear protective headgear keeping them in place no matter what, so that's less of a concern. If you decide for that design, bear in mind that you will have an initial period of very painful ears, as you get accustomed to wearing them.

Colour-wise, "whatever makes you happy". Darker colours may be less likely to cause visible reflections, but I can't say I've actively noticed a difference.

Date: 2016-11-02 14:59 (UTC)
el_staplador: (Default)
From: [personal profile] el_staplador
I've found ineedspex.co.uk to be pretty good for cheap glasses, if you do want to play around with different shapes.

Date: 2016-11-02 15:18 (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
My main preference is "purple", and generally that gets me down to a few pairs :p I don't like frames that break, but I've no idea how to tell before they do that the will (sorry). If you make sure to take a copy of your prescription you can get cheaper glasses online, but then you don't get to try them on.

You probably don't care about expensive lenses-thinning things (worth it only for strong prescriptions); anti-reflection coating is very useful when doing screen work.

Date: 2016-11-02 15:27 (UTC)
watersword: Keira Knightley, in Pride and Prejudice (2007), turning her head away from the viewer, the word "elizabeth" written near (Default)
From: [personal profile] watersword
Totally get a couple extra if you are going to be taking them on/off semi-frequently; it is annoyingly easy to put down your glasses and lose track of them. I've bought my last several pairs online, which is a lot cheaper, at least in the US, and had no trouble.

I strongly prefer plastic frames, because I am a delicate flower and find the nose-pads on metal frames painfully noticeable and prone to getting misaligned.

Getting the anti-glare and anti-shatter coating is totally worth it, especially if you're spending time at a computer and/or clumsy or around kids a lot.

Date: 2016-11-02 16:16 (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
There are cords that basically tighten around either "the far end" or "right by the hinge" of the arms, that you can then have around the back of your neck, allowing for easy "take glasses off, they dangle somewhat, but easily at hand".

I keep my prescription sunglasses in a case, that lives in a dedicated pocket, so they're at hand as and when I need them.

Date: 2016-11-02 15:40 (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
Having had metal frames for about 25 years, and plastic only for a couple of years before that, I got one pair of plastic in my last two-for-one set of specs, and they're so much thicker that they hurt my ears - so metal vs plastic is an important factor.

My absolute bottom line in choice of frames is that they have to have the spriongy bits that [personal profile] vatine mentions, so that if you bend the arms a bit the wrong way they spring back. When I've had frames without these, I quickly find myself spending lots of time re-tightening tiny screws. This requirement usually means I have to have the second-cheapest range of frames in Specsavers, rather than the cheapest.

Anti-scratch coating doesn't seem to make enough difference to be worth it any more.

In my experience, at any given time there isn't actually a huge amount of choice in shape - just very minor variations within what's currently fashionable.

In shops without a 'unisex' section, they will usually let you cross the gender binary to choose frames if you ask.

There's a choice between 'curls round your ears' and 'grips your head'. I have concluded that I prefer the former, having tried the latter with my current frames.

Date: 2016-11-02 16:18 (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
And for the ear-curling, there's "gentle bend" and "actual spring, that does roughly a 180 to 270 around your ear", those are the ones where you can expect several weeks of high discomfort, as they break your ears in. On the flip side, they tend to not want to fall off you, even if you end up doing acrobatics.

Date: 2016-11-02 17:37 (UTC)
jmathieson_fic: bird in a tree watercolour by sid (Default)
From: [personal profile] jmathieson_fic
For lenses you have the choice of plastic or glass. Plastic is less brakable if you're likely to drop them from a height onto a hard surface (and the safer choice for anyone playing sports), but it needs a special UV coating applied. This may incur an extra charge that's not included in the advertized price. The UV coating gradually breaks down over time, making the lenses look foggy or scratched. It's not a consideration if your eyesight changes quickly enough to need replacement lenses regularly, or if you can afford to get new glasses every couple of years.

Glass doesn't need to be UV coated, and glass lenses of the same prescription are thinner than plastic. IME, sales people will try to get you to buy plastic lenses, citing that glass is "too heavy," but I suspect because they make more money off it. I prefer glass in general, partly because I have a very strong prescription and the thinner glass lenses look better (and distort my eyes from the viewer's perspective) less.

Date: 2016-11-02 18:24 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] newandrewhickey.livejournal.com
The springy side-things point is a very good one. I hadn't consciously *realised* that that was why some pairs of glasses are much less likely to break for me than others, but now it's been pointed out it's one of those things that are very obviously true.
Weight is another very important factor. I got *much* fewer sinus headaches and migraines when, from the age of sixteen, I switched to wire-frame glasses that don't put anything like as much pressure on the bridge of my nose and my forehead. I tend now to go for the smallest possible glasses that will fit my head, with the thinnest possible frames, for that reason.
If you do go for wire frames, a minor but useful thing -- check which way up the screw goes in the nosepads. Nosepads break relatively often, and are *much* easier to replace if the screw head is accessible without lots of bending and unbending.

Date: 2016-11-02 23:26 (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
The nosebuds thing is possibly individual, I've never had an issue with it in,um, 45 years of glasses wear.

Date: 2016-11-03 08:29 (UTC)
sparrowsion: tree sparrow (tree sparrow)
From: [personal profile] sparrowsion
It's happened to me once in 25ish years of wearing metal frames, and that was when the cat sat on them.

Date: 2016-11-03 21:08 (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
I've been having a run of bad luck in recent years: sat on one pair (still just about usable, yay for titanium), snapped the leg off another (think I sat on them, but not entirely sure, and had one spontaneously snap at the nose weld. And I've had a bunch of close calls where my weight hasn't quite gotten all the way settled before I realised what was happening.

But I'm a dyspraxic klutz, so this isn't entirely unexpected.

Date: 2016-11-02 19:16 (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
Weight and whether the glasses lean on/rub against your cheek can be an issue. I tend to run into this because I like a larger field of view (I have progressives with a complicated prescription), and that in turn is partly because I want to maximize peripheral vision when I'm walking around. If these are reading/computer glasses that you won't be wearing when you go for a walk, you can probably get way with smaller glasses.

In theory, your glasses should be resting on the bridge of your nose, not on your cheek, and that's easier to maintain in practice with a smaller lens.

Also, eyeglass frames are yet another thing that are gendered for no good reason. If you don't like what they're showing you as "women's" glasses, it's worth looking at the "men's" section as well. Or just wander around the entire shop (or website) on your own, and ignore those labels.

Date: 2016-11-02 19:28 (UTC)
angrboda: Close-up of hedgehog bristles, with my username written above (Default)
From: [personal profile] angrboda
Take your husband with you when you choose frames. He'll be able to help you 'see' if they suit you or not. It probably won't be much of a problem for you seeing as how, unlike me, you're not blind as a bat. For me, though, trying on frames means I can't actually see anything as the display ones just have normal glass in. They will have mirrors, but needing fairly strong glasses, I need to put my nose really close to the mirror and then I'm too close to be able to make a judgment anyway. The shop assistant will obviously be helpful in saying wether something looks good on you or not, but they are there to sell and doesn't really know your personal taste as well as your husband does.

In this country, a lot of places will let you borrow a couple of different frames for a few days to give you time to make a decision and ask family and friends, so you might want to ask about that.

You can probably get cheap glasses with cheap lenses correcting only short/long sightedness, but since you mentioned you do have some astigmatism, it'll be better to avoid those, I think, and go for proper lenses for your glasses made specifically for you. Otherwise you'll likely just continue to be bothered by the astigmatism.

Your range of choice in frames shouldn't be affected by wether or not you have a strong or mild prescription. They make the lenses to fit the frames you've chosen. :)

Date: 2016-11-02 23:57 (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
I normally take my sister along to do the fashion consultant role, depending on the individual male of the species a female friend may be more help than a husband WRT style choices.

Date: 2016-11-04 17:06 (UTC)
angrboda: Close-up of hedgehog bristles, with my username written above (Default)
From: [personal profile] angrboda
Women don't necessarily know anything about style either, actually, just because they're women...

Date: 2016-11-05 07:58 (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
True, but on average I suspect you're more likely to get good results from the female of the species than the male.

Date: 2016-11-02 22:35 (UTC)
megpie71: Impossibility established early takes the sting out of the rest of the obstacles (Impossibility)
From: [personal profile] megpie71
Context: been wearing glasses for a large chunk of my life - first from about age 2 and a half to about eighteen (for a squint), and in the last few years started wearing them pretty much full time again (currently on two different strengths, one for computer work and one for reading) as a result of getting older.

Spec frames come in two main materials - plastic and metal. Plastic frames can be a variety of colours, metal ones tend to default to silver, gold, or bronze/copper (mostly silver). Pick a colour which suits the majority of your wardrobe, a colour which suits your skin tone/personality, or just your favourite colour. I tend to choose metal frames because I have very acidic skin - to the point where I've actually bleached the colour out of plastic frames by wearing them for a lengthy period of time - metal frames tend to last better for me. Lenses tend to be optical plastic these days rather than glass (for weight concerns). Shapes of frames and lenses tend to vary according to fashion - the fashion a few years ago was for the smallest possible lenses which were still useful (very "pince-nez" in style) but it now seems to have swung back toward a larger lens which covers more of the face. Frames can be very expensive - particularly if you go for "designer" frames. However, the "cheap" or "budget" frames these days tend to be a very reasonable range, with shapes and colours which suit most faces. Treated well, a pair of frames can last decades.

If you're having trouble choosing frames which suit your face, ask the staff to help you - most optometrists have staff who are trained in picking the correct frame shape to suit various face types. Be aware they'll point you to the most expensive frames in the range, because that's where their commission comes from (get their advice on shapes and such, and then go wander down to the "budget" range and see what's available in a similar shape).

Things to watch out for: there's a potential problem of losing the little screws which hold the arms (the bits which go over your ears) to the frame - the easiest preventative for this is a drop of clear nail varnish on top of the screw (as discovered by my mother when I was a child). When getting used to new glasses, you'll find the following areas potential points of discomfort: the tops of your ears, the bridge of your nose, and the edge of your skull just behind your ears. If your glasses are causing you actual pain, or discomfort, and it lasts more than a week, take them back to the optometrists to get the fit adjusted. You may also get some slight headaches as a result of adjusting to the glasses - these should go away within a week or so; if they don't, go back to the optometrist and get things re-checked.

Cords or chains for not losing glasses: these are okay-ish - they work, but they're not perfect. I have two of these (both of which appear to have vanished in the process of moving) - one of them is a chain of beads, handed to me by my mother-in-law, which has a loose loop where the earpiece is supposed to go in on one side (so not so useful most of the time), while the other is a metal chain which leaves a big black smear on my neck when I wear it (acidic skin for the win, yay). I may try a simple cord next time. Be aware if you're a busty type, the main thing these cords and things do is keep your glasses safely where they can bash into things at chest height - which may be more of a problem than it's worth. As always these are solutions which were designed by men for men, and they work best on relatively flat-chested women.

Date: 2016-11-02 22:49 (UTC)
crazyscot: Me at an outside broadcast (Default)
From: [personal profile] crazyscot
To a first approximation, the decision space is whatever your optician has got. If you don't like anything there, they can't deny you a copy of your prescription to take elsewhere. As others have said it has quite a few variables, maybe too many to try and optimise as an engineering problem.

1. Practicality. Do you foresee yourself sitting reading books/devices at odd angles? Small lenses might not work for your usage pattern, depending on where they sit on your nose - although you might find you get used to them. Thin or thick rims, and thin or thick legs, also fall under this consideration.

2. Aesthetics. Your glasses will become a part of your identity. Your gut instincts on styles you don't like are probably good ones, even if you can't articulate why. It's all about finding a frame that complements your face, whatever that means.

3. Comfort. The assistant in the shop can adjust frames, so don't write a set off just because they aren't immediately comfy in some way. In most cases if you like the look, discomfort can be fixed.

Date: 2016-11-02 23:50 (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
I find fit greatly limits my choice. I seem to have quite a wide face in comparison to the rest of the market, and a big chunk of the available range is cut out by not being able to get them on, or finding them pressing in to the sides of my head.

I generally go with metal frames, with a strong prescription glasses can be heavy enough to press uncomfortably on my nose and every little helps. Plus they suit me better. Titanium frames are very light, but there's a price premium. Maybe consider that for a later pair after figuring out what you want. Someone mentioned limited colour with metal frames, I've not found that an issue, but mostly I go for a fairly conservative blue.

Don't be surprised if it takes several visits to get the fit of the earpieces right. You'll need to wear them for several hours/days to work out if they're comfortable and adjusting them takes seconds.

I've gone from wearing glasses full time to wearing them intermittently as I age and long and short sighted components cancel each other out at close range. Do get two pairs, both because you will regularly mislay a pair (and in my case I need the second pair to be able to see the first), and because inevitably there comes the point at which you sit on a pair, and it's nice to have something to wear while waiting for a replacement pair to be made up.

Date: 2016-11-02 23:53 (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
Oh, and definitely hard cases, see sitting on things.

Date: 2016-11-03 00:53 (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
As a long-term glasses wearer: ask for help from the salespersons to choose a good shape for your face, and do try them on; choose frames with a lens space that is large enough for your eyes to see through clearly, but not so large it overwhelms your face; choose a neutral color approximating your skin tone or a metallic shade if you want them to blend in; look at unisex styles if you want them to blend in; do NOT get very dark colored, thick frames unless you want to look like a raccoon; if you can, spring for the lens coatings, protection plan, etc, because they WILL get scratched; and get a good solid glasses case. Good luck!

Date: 2016-11-03 09:29 (UTC)
sparrowsion: photo of male house sparrow (sparrowsion)
From: [personal profile] sparrowsion
The starting point is you let the optician, or the person at the optician whose job this is, to work out what the best frame shape is for your face. That is, how well does it suit your eyebrows, cheekbones and general face shape. After that, select your material from the advice above (but ignore the stuff about metal having a limited colour palette—that's very last millennium) and add in additional factors which might matter (eg choice of hinge, price bracket) and at that point you should be down to a limitted enough range to look at them all, reject the obviously wrong, and try on rest.

One option (well, I suppose a pair of options) not yet mentioned is what I have and expect to continue to have (with replacements) until I start needing reading glasses: rimless with hingeless titanium arms. Pros: very lightweight, make sprung hinges look as fragile as unsprung hinges. Cons: expensive, difficult to put on one-handed. In your situation, I think the cons are far more significant, but it's there for the sake of completeness.

Date: 2016-11-03 10:14 (UTC)
ruthct21: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ruthct21
If your glasses will be for reading and screen work then, presumably, you won't need to look through them when you are looking round the room or into the distance: you could ask the optometrist about this. If that's the case, then I would suggest you consider smaller frames or half-size frames so that you could look over the top of them (or slide them down your nose a bit) when you need to switch from close work to talking to someone across the room.
Cords or chains to hang them round your neck are very useful. These can be made like necklaces to go with different outfits - an item for your Christmas list, perhaps? People who make jewellery to order often make these as well.
As to colour/material/design, I think the best idea is to get 2 or 3 pairs of different low-cost specs and keep track of which you wear the most/feel good in/ get complimented on etc. etc. If you decide there are some you will never wear again you can always donate them to charity.
Best of luck!

Date: 2016-11-03 12:55 (UTC)
ext_267968: bjh (Default)
From: [identity profile] bjh21.me.uk
A few years ago, I got glasses for the first time since secondary school. [personal profile] ceb was also getting her first glasses, so we hunted frames together. We visited most of the opticians in Cambridge town centre and tried on an awful lot of frames. It was very helpful having someone else there to tell me what looked good, and it was also helpful to explore all the shops because their ranges were significantly different. About half-way around, we developed a pretty good idea what sort of frame might work on me, and it got a bit quicker thereafter. We took photos of promising things as we went along so that we could remember what we'd seen. I think the whole process took a couple of hours.

One odd practical thing: [personal profile] ceb can put her glasses on top of her head to get them out of the way. If I try that, my nose-pads get tangled in my hair. If this might be relevant to you, hair/nosepiece compatibility might be something to experiment with.

Date: 2016-11-05 08:05 (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
Just be careful if you do it and then lean backwards, I'm perpertually picking my glasses off the floor when I do that. (Of course in my case there's not much in the way of hair to get tangled in).

Date: 2016-11-04 21:27 (UTC)
ceb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ceb
Thanks, you've saved me saying all this :-)

Date: 2016-11-04 21:29 (UTC)
ceb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ceb
(Oh, except that: glasses shops are very patient with people trying on ALL THE FRAMES for ages, so don't worry about that. Bjh and I must have tried on basically every frame at Boots between us.)

Date: 2016-11-02 14:27 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com
Astigmatism won't be corrected by prescription swimming goggles, and cheap internet sites struggle with it too. So my best suggestion is to try lots on, see what you like and try not to wince too much at the price.

Photocromic lenses are amazing, and really helpful against retina damage. If you're going to wear them outside at all, I'd recommend that.

Date: 2016-11-02 14:31 (UTC)
aldabra: (ghost)
From: [personal profile] aldabra
Take someone with you. Test frames in opticians are opaque with fingerprints and get price labels stuck on the lenses, so even if you can see without glasses you may have problems seeing through the glasses.

Date: 2016-11-02 22:26 (UTC)
aldabra: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aldabra
Possibly isn't worth using up leave on, if you can otherwise see adequately.

Date: 2016-11-02 22:25 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lauras-world.livejournal.com
You can buy very cheaply from Glasses Direct and other sites. As in, £25 or so if your prescription is not complex (no bifocals/varifocals). I have a pair just for costume use :-). But this does mean you can try out other frame designs, keep a spare pair for breakages, etc..

Date: 2016-11-02 23:29 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angoel.livejournal.com
I tend to get minimal frames to minimise their weight, because heavy glasses pressing against my nose annoy me, and my eyesight allows minimal non-glasses time. This is an expensive preference, but given their near constant use, I feel that even small amount of non-annoyance accumulate sufficiently to justify the cost.

Date: 2016-11-03 13:30 (UTC)
emperor: (Phoenix)
From: [personal profile] emperor
I went into the shop and tried a lot on and peered into a mirror - if your prescription is mild (like me), you can get a pretty good idea thus.

Date: 2016-11-03 18:04 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] piqueen.livejournal.com
Use your phone camera to take a selfie wearing a variety of frames then compare the pics.

Most obnoxious selling practices: upselling tints, lens coatings, transition lenses when you are tired right at the end. Don't buy transition lenses.

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