Not so long ago, getting prescription eyeglasses meant you were a nerd who had strained your eyes with too much study -- or you were getting really, really old! Today, however, prescription eyeglasses are proving more popular than ever as a fashion accessory as much as a function necessity.
We're tempted to think: Who'd want prescription eyeglasses when they could get contact lenses or vision correction surgery? The truth is, these innovations in eye care don't work for everyone. And now that eyeglasses are as trendy as other fashions, there's no need to fret about wearing them!
In addition to fashion designers coming up with fabulous lenses, one of the biggest improvements in prescription eyeglasses has been new types of lenses. Those old soda-bottle-bottom lenses are nearly extinct, thanks to new developments such as these:
Aspheric lenses are used to fix minor vision distortions sometimes found in traditional lenses. This type of lens isn't perfectly rounded on the surface, which helps correct distortions and makes the lens lighter and thinner.
* Trifocals. This kind of lens attempts to include all three seeing distances: near, middle and far. Trifocals are a bit more adaptable than bifocals and are usually custom made for the wearer's occupation or lifestyle.
However, plastic and metal frames haven't been dumped on the trash heap. New plastics and metals alike form the standard components of prescription eyeglasses. Hypoallergenic metals such as titanium and stainless steel are especially important for those who suffer from skin allergies to avoid a reaction known as contact dermatitis.
* Reading glasses. Essentially, reading glasses are single-vision magnifiers. Their lenses will enlarge type so that it can be seen without blurring. Reading glasses can be purchased in pharmacies or discount stores without a prescription, or an optician can prescribe reading glasses.
In addition to needing vision correction for reading, people with presbyopia who are fond of sports and recreational activities may find that they need specialized prescription eyeglasses. After all, a devoted softball player wouldn't want that horsehide to get indistinct when it comes across the plate. And every golfer needs to be able to see well in order to tee up.
Plus, after age 40 most people develop a condition known as presbyopia. This means that the focusing muscles and lens of the age have become less flexible with age. The way to tell presbyopia is when print that once was clear now appears blurry.
Types of lenses that aid people with presbyopia include bifocals, which sharpen near and far vision; trifocals, which sharpen near, middle and far vision; and progressive lenses, which allow the wearer to focus at any range of distance.
It's important to decide on your lenses before you choose frames, because some kinds of lenses (such as the progressives mention earlier) don't work with certain sizes of frames. Once you've selected your lenses, consider the shape of your face and your skin and hair color to choose the frames that are right for you. Don't be afraid to consider getting a wardrobe of prescription eyeglasses as well. Often optical stores or boutiques will have "two-for-one" deals so you can get a stylish but conservative frame for work and indulge your wild side in a pair of prescription eyeglasses for casual times.
Combine these eye care innovations with the wide range of fashion frame options available, and you have prescription eyeglasses that aren't merely functional, they're fun!
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