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Choosing Spectacles

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 8 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
Spectacles Glasses Eye Test Photochromic

Retirement SpectaclesYou'll almost certainly have noticed that as you age, your vision isn't as acute as it once was. It could be difficult reading the print in a book or newspaper, in which case you might only need reading glasses, or it could be a problem making out objects in the distance. But spectacles can help you see almost as well as you used to. Eye TestThe first thing you'll need is an eye test, which is free if you're over 60 (if you can't get to the optician, many will come to your house). Eye tests are extensive, but absolutely painless. Not only will it determine if you need glasses, but also the strength of lens that's right for you, and come up with the proper prescription. Even if you think the problem's only minor, never settle for cheap reading glasses from the chemist - get them checked properly!You might also want a pressure test, to check for glaucoma, especially if there's a family history of it, if you're diabetic (also ask about dilating eye drops) or if you're of Afro-Caribbean origin.FramesThese days the choice of frames is huge, everything from Deidre Barlow-style oversize to small wire frames that are bendable and almost unbreakable (which can be a boon). You need to consult with the optician you choose as to style, and the price can vary, going to £100 or more for some expensive designer names and fancy materials.


When it comes to lenses, which are usually made of plastic these days, there are also many styles, although they obviously have to fit your prescription. Technological advances have hit glasses, too, so that many of the older styles have been replaced by ones that are not only thinner, but also a lot lighter. One of the most popular is bifocals.


All bifocals work the same way. There's a portion of the lens made to correct close vision at the bottom, with the rest either clear glass or set to correct distance vision. It makes sense, really, since we all tend to look down for close-up work, and straight ahead to the distance.


Whilst conventional lenses are spherical, the newer, ashperical type work somewhat differently, with a different kind of curve and a "complex front" to the lens; they represent some of the latest technology in lenses. However, the biggest advantage to you is that they work a lot better than the older style, giving you much clearer vision.

High Index

High-index lenses have replaced the old, heavy glasses everyone hates. Essentially, high index lenses bend light more, which means their edges can be thinner, and in turn that makes them lighter and more comfortable to wear.


Every eyeless material can get scratched, although most plastic lenses have a built-in protection. But it's still worth investing in a hard coating on both sides of the lens just to give more scratch resistance.

If you spend a lot of time outside, you might consider photochromic lenses, which change from light to dark, depending on the amount of ultraviolet light.

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