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Choosing the right frames

There is a huge range of optical frames on the market, with styles to suit just about everybody. While fashion considerations factor highly when most people choose their frame, there are a number of practical matters that should be considered too.

1. Your frames must be suitable for your prescription

The frame you choose must be appropriate for your prescription and for the type of lenses they are going to hold. If you are getting bifocals or progressive lenses, the vertical dimension of the lenses must be large enough to fit both the distance and near portions of the lens. If you have a strong prescription, you should choose a frame with smaller lenses, as larger lenses will be considerably thicker and heavier. A fine, delicate frame is not appropriate for high prescriptions, as it will have difficulty supporting thicker lenses.

2. Choose frames that fit you

The most important factor to consider is the fit of the frame. It doesn’t matter how good a frame looks if you always have to push it back up your nose. Make sure that the frame fits the bridge of your nose without slipping down, remembering that the finished spectacles will be heavier than the frame when you try it on. Different types of frames fit different shaped noses, and it is always a good idea to get professional advice if you have difficulty finding a frame that fits. Metal frames with adjustable nosepads are often the best solution for a difficult-to-fit face.

The frame should not rest on your cheeks. Try smiling while you are trying on the frame – if the frame rides up, then it is sitting on your cheeks, not your nose.

3. Choose frames that suit your lifestyle

A frame should also suit your lifestyle. If you are very active, or wear your spectacles while exercising, then a smaller frame may be better, since your spectacles will be less likely to fog up than if they have a large, close-fitting frame.

4. Consider frame quality and not just frame price

The cost of frames can vary from tens to hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The cost is partially based on fashion, with ‘designer-label’ frames often costing more, but generally the price is related to the quality of the frame. A good quality frame will last for years, while a poor quality frame will simply be a cause for annoyance. When choosing a frame, look for sturdy construction and a good quality finish. Nosepads should be well mounted, and not rattle. Spring-loaded hinges are a good feature, as they allow the frame to flex a little when it is being put on and off, and help prevent it going out of adjustment. Metal frames, which often require more skilled operations in their production, are generally more expensive. The price also depends on the material and finish of the frame: for example, titanium frames are almost indestructible, but cost considerably more than regular metal frames, while frames with high quality gold finishes will also cost more.

5. Choose frames to suit your face

Fashion is often an individual decision, but there are some general rules which make it easier to choose a frame that suits your face. Frames should not project above your eyebrows. A large frame that sits high on your face will give you a permanently surprised expression. A round face is best suited to an angular frame that is wider than it is deep. This will give the face a narrower look. People with a square face should avoid angular frames which accentuate angular features, and are better suited to an oval frame. A heart-shaped face which tapers towards the chin is best suited to frames which emphasise the lower outer corners, or rimless frames. Avoid wide frames or ‘cats-eye’ styles. A triangular face that is broader at the jaw than at the eyeline needs a strong, dominant frame that is the same width as the jaw to provide balance.