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Tips for buying spectacles: how to find the correct ones for you

Two things are important when buying new spectacles: optimum and relaxed vision as well as a great appearance.

Putting a lot of thought into the selection of new spectacles means that they will not only be eye-catching, but they will also reflect and become a part of your personality. Nowadays, it goes without saying that the spectacle lenses themselves should afford the wearer with optimal vision. The optometrist can help you to not only select the right spectacles frames to provide the optimum fit, but he can also customise your spectacle lenses to perfectly match your requirements.

Sometimes, there is no other alternative but to purchase a new pair of spectacles. And not just because your eyesight condition has changed, but also because fashions continue to develop at a regular pace or because you need a second pair of spectacles for particular activities. Or maybe your old spectacles are simply worn out. However, as a result of the wide choice available nowadays, buying new eyeglass frames and lenses is no longer an easy task. In the present day and age, good optometrists offer their customers an endless variety of different models and features. But anyone who knows what to look out for will easily find the perfect pair of spectacles.

The range of application of your new spectacles

When purchasing new spectacles, a very important criterion to keep in mind is the spectacles' range of application. This criterion can differ widely from wearer to wearer. One of the first questions to ask yourself is: what do I actually need the spectacles for, or what do I need them for predominantly? Someone who works at a computer all day will need different spectacles compared to someone who mainly works out of doors or someone who requires spectacles for sporting activities. The more information the optometrist is provided with – and a good optometrist will always ask plenty of questions – the easier the selection process will be. Perhaps compare your spectacles purchase experience to that of buying a new car, and let the optometrist show you and inform you about all of the "features" that may be beneficial to you.

State-of-the-art technologies

And this is another truth that applies when buying spectacles: the more customised the spectacles are to the respective wearer, the better the results that can be achieved in terms of quality of vision, wearing properties and wearer tolerance, for example in the case of varifocals. The concept is similar to that of a tailor-made suit which you have custom made to your exact measurements, as opposed to buying an off-the-peg suit. It can be that the latter fits perfectly, but there is no guarantee. Innovative modern technologies such as i.Scription from ZEISS, ZEISS Individual 2 progressive lenses or the ZEISS vision analysis all contribute towards the customised creation of your new spectacles.

Choosing your spectacle lenses

Once you have found an optometrist, it is quite normal for you to want to browse the store in search of nice-looking spectacles frames. However, not all spectacle lenses are suitable for every type of spectacles frame, so it is usually better to choose your spectacle lenses first of all. If you are looking for relaxed and better vision, it goes without saying that the spectacle lenses represent the most important component of your new spectacles. You will only be able to rely fully on visual support from your spectacles if you select the correct spectacle lens.

In the past, mineral glass was used predominantly in the manufacture of spectacle lenses, whereas today, plastic lenses are becoming more and more widespread. This development brings with it some key advantages: the increased breaking resistance of these lenses ensures a lower risk of injury. High-quality special plastics and a good coating offer protection against painful pressure marks and scratches. But there are other aspects which play an important role when choosing the perfect spectacle lenses: apart from the now commonplace aspect of dioptre strength, other important factors include the refractive index of the material (which is important for the lens thickness), the so-called aspherical geometries (which reduce distortion at the edges of the lens), antireflective and curing qualities and breaking resistance. Additional lens coatings or finishes can help to make life with your spectacles even simpler. Why not try a hydrophobic or antistatic coating, for example?

Our tip: If nothing else, the spectacle lenses should have a good and efficient anti-reflective coating. This is because reflections caused by spectacles are very distracting when out in the sunshine, driving at night or working at the computer. Furthermore, antireflective spectacle lenses make the wearer almost oblivious to the fact that he or she is wearing spectacles.

Perhaps you are thinking about buying tinted or self-tinting spectacle lenses. But be careful: there is a huge difference in quality as far as self-tinting spectacle lenses are concerned. The decisive factor to consider when making a purchase is that the so-called photochromic spectacle lenses should react as quickly as possible to changing light conditions, fading back to the clear state indoors and darkening to a tone similar to that of sunglasses in the sun or other bright light. Also of vital importance is that the lenses provide 100% protection against UVA and UVB radiation.

The spectacles frames

As far as the spectacles frames are concerned, the optometrist can usually preselect a few suitable models in advance, because he knows best when it comes to his product range and ultimately, he is the one that will help you find your way through the maze of products and offers. However, do make sure to voice your preferences with regard to colour, material and price range from the very beginning. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the new spectacles must suit the shape of your face and also be compatible with your chosen spectacle lenses.

The following applies as a rule of thumb: People with a round face should opt for angular spectacles frames, whereas people with an angular face are better suited to round frames. People with an oval face are lucky, as they can choose from either shape of frame. People with a triangular or heart shaped face will most certainly be advised by their optometrist to opt for a fine, oval shaped spectacles frame.

Our tip: When choosing your spectacles frames, take someone with you who knows you well. A second or third opinion can be really helpful. There are three options available to people that can hardly see without wearing their spectacles: you can either ask your optometrist for half eye spectacles or cosmetic spectacles, put in single-use contact lenses or have a digital photo taken with the potential new spectacles frames, which you can then view on the computer screen to aid your decision.

Another aspect to consider when choosing the spectacles frames is the material used. It goes without saying that the weight of the spectacles plays a decisive role in your decision. A new spectacles frame should feel comfortable from the moment you try it on. If you suffer from allergies, it is also very important that you inquire about the component make-up of the spectacles frames.

Further assistance following your purchase

In most cases, it takes about three days before you can pick up your new spectacles. When you do pick them up, the optometrist tests them to ensure that they sit comfortably on your face, but he is dependent on your feedback too.

Our tip: Check for yourself that the new spectacles sit comfortably. They should not cause any discomfort to your nose, temples or the areas around your ears.

The principle of "out of sight, out of mind" does not apply to the optometrist in the slightest. It can sometimes be very helpful when customers go back to their optometrist one or two weeks after receiving their new spectacles in order to make any necessary fine adjustments. But a good optometrist will always be happy to provide you with assistance and advice whenever you require it.

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