If you wear glasses, you already know there are a lot of considerations when it comes to buying new frames. You want something fashionable, which shows off your personality and style. If you have a strong prescription, you’ll also want to find the best frames for high prescription lenses.
Some frames don’t pair well with certain prescriptions. Do you have a strong prescription? You may find that some trendy frame styles won’t work well with thick lenses.
Understanding Your Prescription and How It Impacts Your Frame Choices
Frames hold your lenses in place, so you should be able to pick any frame, right? Actually, your prescription changes your lens shape and lens thickness. This impacts how well your lens will fit with some frames.
- In a normal eye, light directly hits the retina in the back of the eye. Nearsightedness or farsightedness occurs when light fails to focus on the retina correctly.1
- Glasses and contacts work by bending light to redirect it toward the retina. Your prescription dictates how sharply the light bends and in which direction.
- The shape of your lens dictates your lenses’ light refraction capabilities. Lens manufacturers try to make the thinnest lenses possible. Still, if you need a strong prescription, a thick lens may be unavoidable.2
- Plastic lenses are thinner and lighter than traditional glass lenses. High index plastic or polycarbonate lenses can accommodate strong prescriptions. This makes for a lightweight, thin alternative to large, thick glass lenses. Speak to your doctor to see if you can use plastic lenses.3
By learning upfront which frames work best with your prescription, you can pick the right look for you.
The Shape of Your Lenses
Certain frame shapes will work better with your eyeglass lenses. When you know the thickness of your lens, you can choose the best frames for a high prescription.
- If you are nearsighted, or have weak distance vision, your lenses will be concave. That means they’ll be thinner at the center and thicker at the edges. Look for frames that don’t draw attention to your rims. Otherwise, your glasses may look thick or clunky.
- If you are farsighted, your lenses are thick in the center and thinner at the edges. Because the outside of your lens is thin, you’ll want a sturdy frame to hold them in place. Look for eyewear made of durable, lightweight material to offset the heaviness of your glasses.
- Your frame needs can vary depending on the lens materials and how it’s designed. Thin, lightweight lenses can still accommodate even strong prescriptions. You may find that you have more freedom than you’d expected even with a strong prescription.4
Knowing your lens shape and thickness can help you make informed frame choices. The shape of your lens and the material it’s made of play a large role in which frames are right for you.
Full-Frame Glasses vs. Semi-Rimless Frames?
Sleek rimless and semi-rimless frames are a hot trend in glasses fashion. But if your glasses are for a high prescription, these flashy frames may not work well.
- Rims on your frames help hold your lenses in place. If you have thick prescription lenses, rimless or semi-rimless frames may not be strong or sturdy enough to hold thick lenses.5
- Rimless frames also tend to be lightweight and may not be a good fit for a thick lens or a lens made of heavy material. Metal full frames are a great choice. They’re the sturdiest and will hold up well to wear and tear associated with high lens thickness.6
Note: Thin or rimless frames may appear unattractive with thick lenses. This is because the lenses are more visible.7
Luckily, there are many fashionable, flattering eyewear options to flatter your face shape and meet your prescription needs.
Other Considerations for Best Frames for High Prescriptions
Beyond the world of full-rim vs. rimless glasses, you also need to consider the shape and size of your frames. Here, too, your prescription and the thickness of your lens plays a role in which frames are best for you.
- Do you need bifocals, no-line bifocals, trifocals, or progressive lenses? These all need vertical space to accommodate the prescriptive strengths of your lenses. Look for frames that are at least 1.25 inches tall.8
- Some strong prescriptions can make your eyes look magnified, especially when viewed head-on. Talk to your optometrist. Find out whether the frames can be curved.9
- Look for lenses that are about as wide as your face. This will help you avoid something called facial displacement, where the edges of your face visible behind your lenses appear wider or narrower than the rest of your face.10
- Glasses with spring hinges increase durability. Nose pads can help your glasses stay in place.1
Knowing which frames best meet your needs saves you time when glasses shopping. You can focus only on the frames that work best for your prescription. If you’re committed to a particular frame style, you can ask your doctor for a new lens design.
What Questions Must I Ask an Eye Care Professional about Eyewear?
If you’re shopping for a new pair of glasses, your eye doctor or optometrist can be a valuable resource. You may also need to speak with an ophthalmologist, who specializes in eye disorders. Any of these professionals can answer your questions.
- Your eye care professional can help you interpret your prescription. This will tell you how thick your lenses will be and which frames will work better for your vision. You can also tell your doctor your personal style preferences, and they can recommend a frame for you.12
- When you get a new (or updated) eyewear prescription, talk to your optometrist about your lifestyle. You have different needs for reading glasses than safety glasses you may wear at work. Your eye doctor can also address topics like durability.13
- Your prescription may be suitable for aspheric lenses, or lenses that aren’t spherical. These kinds of lens designs are a good choice for strong prescriptions. They can be made thinner and more lightweight than traditional lenses.14
With your eye care professional’s guidance, you’ll know exactly which pair of frames will be right for you. By pairing the right kind of lens with the perfect frames, you’ll get high-quality glasses for your vision needs.
Are UV Lenses Essential for Protecting Vision?
When it’s time to buy new glasses, you won’t only need to select the right frames. You’ll also need to decide what extra features your lenses can have. From blue light filters to UV lenses, you have a lot of choices for sunglass frames or regular use.
- UV or ultra-violet, tints or lenses can help to protect your eyes from damage from the sun’s UV rays. UV lenses can provide some protection for your eyelids and the skin around your eyes. But they don’t block all damaging sunlight. So, always wear sunscreen along with your glasses.15
- If you have a high-index glass or polycarbonate lenses, you already have built-in UV light protection. You don’t need to pursue additional coatings.16
Learn about lens coatings. Blue light filter coating can protect from blue light and reduce eye strain from looking at screens.
- Anti-reflective coating can reduce glare, and scratch-resistant coating keeps scratches at bay.Determining the best coating for you will depend on your lifestyle.17
The decision to use UV lenses on eyeglasses and sunglasses comes down to your own lifestyle and how often you’re outside. Your vision needs will vary depending on what kinds of light you’re exposed to, as well as how active you are.
How to Choose High Prescription Contact Lenses
Maybe you’ve decided that glasses aren’t for you after all. You may wonder if contacts are powerful enough for your high prescription needs. Well, you can find a great fit, as long as you know where to look.
- Do you have severe nearsightedness or need different prescriptions in each eye? Contact lenses may better meet your vision needs than prescription eyeglasses.18
- When ordering contacts online, make sure your prescription is up to date (issued in the past two years). The US Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission regulate the eyewear industry. They require the optical store fulfilling your order to use a prescription from the past two years.19
- Your contacts prescription will specify the lens’s curve and diameter, and even the brand and manufacturer.20
- Different kinds of contacts can help with different vision problems. Generally, rigid gas-permeable (RGP) contacts are the most versatile. Your optometrist can tell you which kind of contact will work best with your prescription.21
Is wearing contacts instead of glasses better for you? Or should you switch between the two? What type of lens is best? Your optician can tell you. They can also recommend the best kind of contact for your prescription.
You Don’t Need to Choose Between Looking Good and Seeing Well
If you have a strong prescription, your glasses frame options are more limited. But, there are still plenty of fashionable, flattering glasses and frames you can wear.
With full-frame or high-index lenses, you can still find a shape and style that works for your face. With so many lens options, there’s no need to sacrifice. You can still feel attractive and maintain clear sight!
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