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Does Prescription Affect Frame Choice?

young man trying on new pair of eyewear

YES. I speak from experience – I have a really high prescription. With good frame choice, I can get something trendy and comfortable. With poor frame choice… I’d have comically thick, heavy lenses and probably wouldn’t have my job out of pure shame. Let’s not even get started on how much they would hurt to wear!

One of the first things we do when helping one of our patients choose a frame, is look at their prescription. If you’re going to be browsing alone, you should do the same thing. Knowing your prescription means you can make an educated decision on your frame and get a great-looking finished product. If you disregard your prescription, no matter how great that one frame might look when you try it on without your prescription inside it, you could spend hundreds of dollars on it only to find out it’s going to be uncomfortable and looks horrendous with your lenses in.

Here are the main things to remember:

  • High prescriptions mean your lenses are thicker. The bigger the frame you choose, the thicker and heavier your lenses will be – so go smaller if you can. Plastic frames can hide your lens thickness so it’s less noticeable cosmetically. There’s also optional high index lenses which are considerably thinner, albeit more expensive. Just, please, do me a favour – do not pick a wire-thin metal frame if you have a high prescription! When you’re above a -4.00/+4.00, you really need to start being careful with the size of frame you’re picking.
  • Have a low prescription? Well, aren’t you a lucky so-and-so. You can basically pick from anything you’d like! Your lenses will be nice and thin. I’m jealous.
  • Have a progressive prescription? You need to make sure your frame has a good amount of depth to the lenses, so try not to pick anything too tiny. The deeper your lenses are, the more room you have to fit in all three prescriptions for distance, intermediate and near vision with minimal compromising. If you pick a shallow frame, you may find the jump from the distance portion of your lens to the reading portion a bit of a shock to get used to – particularly if you’ve had deeper lenses before!

If you want the thinnest lenses you can possibly have in whichever frame you choose, you need to ask about high-index lenses. These lenses are thinner than normal lenses and give you a much more cosmetically appealing result. There’s three main high index lenses – a 1.6 index, a 1.67 index, and a 1.74 index. As this number gets higher, your lens will get thinner. Simple!

We can look at your prescription and give you a recommendation of what index is right for you. For example, you may have picked a great frame and have a mild prescription meaning a standard index will work fine – why spend money you don’t need to? Or you may have a higher prescription, in which case we might advise you to go to at least a 1.6 index or higher.

When we help you choose glasses, we aren’t just fashion consultants – we’re taking into account everything from your frame choice, your prescription, your budget and your personality to make sure you find the right pair of glasses for you.