How to Buy Eyeglasses

Choosing eyeglasses is a challenge for some people. Trying to figure out which styles match your appearance as well as your lifestyle can be stressful. The following steps will guide you in finding eyeglasses that fit your unique personality as well as your face.

Woman looking at eyeglass frames in an optical store

Ned Frisk / Getty Images

Go for an Eye Exam

Before you start looking at eyeglasses, you will need to determine your refractive error. An eye doctor will test your acuity and find your eyeglass prescription. A prescription reveals the precise amount of power needed to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. A high-quality eye examination will also include a complete eye health check. The doctor will check for vision problems as well as diseases such as dry eye syndrome, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinal problems.

Look at Eyeglass Frames

To get a sense of which styles appeal to you, you will need to look at a variety of frames. Eyeglass frames are available in several colors and shapes. Browse the Internet for current styles. Flip through magazines, noting styles that appeal to you. Some websites allow you to virtually "try on" frames on an uploaded photo.

Find an Optician

Licensed opticians are trained to help people choose eyeglasses. An optician will be able to recommend frames that flatter your facial structure as well as your skin tone. A well-trained optician will suggest several frame styles for you to try on and also make sure you achieve the perfect fit to allow for your best possible vision. Your optician may also offer eyeglass-making services. Eyeglass retail outlets, conversely, usually have opticians on staff, as well. A good optician will also make sure the type of lenses you need will fit into the frame you pick out. Some frames do a better job of hiding the edge thickness of the lens if you have a higher prescription. The over-all size of the frame also can impact how your lenses will appear.

Consider Lens Options

You have many options when it comes to lenses, including the material from which a lens is made. Some people prefer lightweight polycarbonate lenses, although they tend to be more expensive than regular glass or plastic lenses. Your optician may recommend a thin, lightweight lens if you have a high prescription. Also, there are several lens coatings that may appeal to you, including scratch-resistant coatings, UV tints and anti-reflective coatings. Be careful skimping on lens options to save money. Many people wear glasses every day. It is important for fashion, but it is also important for function to have glasses that suit you well. It also boosts self esteem when you feel confident in your eye wear.


  • Try on frames with a friend. Ask for honest opinions.
  • Take your time. You'll have these glasses for some time.
  • Consider a second pair. It's always smart to have back-up eyeglasses.
1 Source
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  1. American Optometric Association. Comprehensive Eye and Vision Examination.

By Troy Bedinghaus, OD
Troy L. Bedinghaus, OD, board-certified optometric physician, owns Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association.