Why Finding the Right Eyeglass Frames Matters

Of course you want glasses that look great on you. But did you know that the style you choose also makes a difference in how well you see? Here’s how to get both.

African American woman smiling and trying on new glasses

It’s obvious why you need the right lenses in your glasses, but what’s less known is that you also need the right frames. The wrong choice can have a significant impact on your vision.

That’s because the size and fit of your frames affect which part of the lenses you see through.

“Your pupils should be centered in the lens,” says Michael Vaughan, an optician and retail operations manager affiliated with America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses.

If they’re not, the lenses can distort your vision, causing blurriness, eyestrain, and headaches.

“Your lens prescription is the most important factor in finding the right frames for you,” says Vaughan. And the stronger your prescription, the easier it is for your vision to be thrown off by ill-fitting frames.

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How to Choose Frames That Look Great and Help You See Clearly Too

Of course, frames with the right size and fit also make your glasses look great on you. If you have a strong nearsighted prescription and select large frames, the lenses will have to be thick to accommodate your prescription.

“Aesthetically, they look like Coke bottles,” Vaughan says. “To minimize the effects of a high nearsighted prescription, you really want a smaller frame, where your pupils fit right in the middle.”

Your optician can be a big help, offering advice that balances what looks good with what works well with your prescription. They can help you make sure the frames you choose check the following boxes:

  • The widest part of the frame meets the widest part of your head
  • Your pupils are centered in the lenses
  • The bridge of the frame sits flush against the bridge of your nose
  • The curve of the frame arms follows the natural curve of your ears

Many frames can be adjusted to fit your face just right. “I wouldn’t say there are certain frames that are more form-fitting than others — it’s just about finding what size frame fits you,” Vaughan says.

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When to Get Your Frames Adjusted

Even if your frames fit perfectly when you walk out of the doctor’s office, they can loosen or become skewed from daily activities.

“If your fit is off, it can affect the prescription in the lens,” Vaughan says. That could lead to blurry vision or headaches.

To prevent that, bring your frames to your optician for a quick fit adjustment every few months — or right away if you fall asleep while wearing your glasses, drop them on the floor, or sit on them. Your optician will tighten the screws and check that the frames still fit the way they should.

How to Care for Your Frames and Lenses

To keep your glasses in good condition, follow these basic care habits:

1. Clean them once a day

Polishing your glasses too often can wear away the protective coatings on the lenses. Instead, clean them once in the morning, put them on, and avoid touching them for the rest of the day.

“If you don’t take your glasses off, there’s no chance you can put fingerprints on them,” Vaughan points out. Plus, he says, there’s “less likelihood that you’ll set them down, sit on them, or whatever the case is.”

2. Clean them the right way

Avoid using your shirt or a paper towel — they can scratch the lenses. Use a microfiber cloth and apply a nonalcohol-based cleaner or spray to both sides of the lenses. (Alcohol will strip away any treatments or coatings on the lenses.) With the cloth, wipe in a fluid, sweeping motion from the outside of the lens to the inside, back to the outside. Repeat on the other side of that lens, then move on to the other.

3. Replace them when needed

Assuming you’re caring for your glasses properly and bringing them in for regular adjustments, your frames should last two years — more if you’re not putting them through serious wear and tear.

“If you work five days a week at a desk and are not super active, the frames aren’t getting bleached from the sun, and if you take care of the frames, they could last up to five years,” Vaughan says.

That said, many people like to change up their frames frequently — glasses can be just as big a fashion statement as clothes!

“When I was a kid, I would buy a new pair of shoes per school season — it’s kind of similar with frames for people,” Vaughan notes. “Frames are an obvious accessory, and people want to change their style up, try a different color or shape.”

So go ahead and mix it up with a new pair or two. Just be sure they work for your vision and your style.

For more tips, read “How to Build an Eyeglasses Wardrobe on a Budget” here.