Prescription Glasses

An eyeglass prescription is an order written by an eyewear prescriber, such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist, that specifies the value of all parameters the prescriber has deemed necessary to construct and/or dispense corrective lenses appropriate for a patient.

If an examination indicates that corrective lenses are appropriate, the prescriber generally provides the patient with an eyewear prescription at the conclusion of the exam. In the United States, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) requires eyewear prescribers to give each patient a copy of their prescription, immediately following the concluding exam, even if the patient doesn't ask for a copy.

The parameters specified on spectacle prescriptions vary, but typically include the power to which each lens should be made in order to correct blurred vision due to refractive errors, including myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. It is typically determined using a phoropter asking the patient which lens is best, computer automated refractor, and through the technique of retinoscopy. Opticians are not eye doctors and, therefore, are not licensed to write an eyeglass prescription. A dispensing optician will take a prescription written by an optometrist (also known as an ophthalmic optician) or ophthalmologist and order and/or assemble the frames and lenses to then be dispensed and sold to the patient. 

Prescription Sunwear

If you have a vision problem that requires corrective prescription eyewear, you have several choices when it comes to sunglasses. Prescription sunglasses are available for virtually any lens prescription, including bifocal and progressive lens options.

These types of sunglasses also can help you if you need reading glasses only or if you wear contact lenses to correct only your distance vision and still need that additional boost for reading.

Here's what's happening in this arena:

Shapes and styles for men and women for the past few seasons have run the gamut: sporty wraparounds, glamorous cat-eyes and "Jackie Os," sleek futuristic styles that hug the face, small retro-looking shapes, large and sometimes bulbous "bubble" wraps, rectangular and angular styles, plus embellished and bejeweled looks.

But the latest styles bring a new and different look to sunwear. Modern styles that have been popular recently, such as sleek wraps and Jackie O shapes, have gained fresh energy with details like rhinestones, cubic zirconia and tinted lenses (in a variety of colors including blue, yellow, rose, orange, purple and coral).

Rimless and semi-rimless sunglasses, which have lenses held in place by a wire or plastic thread, have some very unique lens shapes that are cut in angular, unusual ways.

And some plastic sunglass frames are featuring unusual cutouts and temple details to pump up their look.

Sunglass Materials

Options for sunglass frame materials include plastic (often called zyl), basic metal (usually a combination of a variety of metals) and specialty metals such as titanium, aluminum and stainless steel. Many sunwear styles today incorporate both metal and plastic into the design of the frame.

The specialty metals have become increasingly popular in plano sunglasses because everyone is looking for lightweight options. Titanium, aluminum, stainless steel and even beryllium frames are a somewhat more costly investment, but offer the benefits of thinness and lightness as well as corrosion-resistance and strength.

Shopping for Sunglasses

When shopping for sunglasses, keep in mind that the frame should fit comfortably on your face. However, if a frame is too large, or does not fit properly to your head, it can often be adjusted:

  • • Metal frames can be bent slightly to better conform to your face and head.
  • • Plastic frames can be heated and reshaped for a better fit.

The color and shape of the frame you choose depend on your personal style and preference.

However, many sunglass aficionados say they like bolder styles, colors and details since they will be wearing them occasionally and only outside, as opposed to eyeglasses that are worn all day long indoors. Eyeglasses are considered "normal" eyewear, whereas sunglasses may be viewed as specialized eyewear, particularly for those who love the outdoors.

"First, look for lightweight sunglasses that provide all-day comfort," says Chris Abbruzzese, Maui Jim sunglasses vice president of marketing. "Make sure the lenses are impact-resistant and scratch-resistant, and the frames have corrosion resistant hinges — these are key features for anglers, for example."