Screen Fatigue: Computer LensesScreen time can be a key factor in choosing eyewear today, with 70% of daily computer users reporting eye strain. Computer glasses may ease the blur. Manufacturers say they help your eyes adapt to electronic words and images, typically viewed farther away than a book. Look for anti-reflective coating and consider a tint to reduce glare from harsh overhead lighting.
Fine print seems to shrink as we age. What really happens is presbyopia -- the eye loses its ability to change focus. Reading glasses can help bring blurry print into sharp focus. You can buy "readers" at many stores. But if you need different strengths for each eye, require bifocals, or have an oddly-shaped eye -- called astigmatism -- see an eye care professional.
Nearsightedness: On the RiseIf it seems like more people wear glasses at younger ages, you're right. Myopia, blurry distance vision, has been on the rise since the '70s. Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is less common. Both require corrective lenses. It's a myth that getting glasses will make your eyes weak. People may need stronger vision correction as they age. But that happens whether or not you wear glasses.
Coke-Bottle Lenses: New TechnologyDo you avoid a new prescription for fear of thick glasses and a "bug-eye" look? Ask your eye care provider about high-index lenses, which are thinner and lighter than traditional lenses. You also may consider aspheric lenses, which are thinned out on the sides. Lenses can be both aspheric and high index. Both can help you avoid a thick, unflattering shape.
Bifocals and BeyondDo you need different glasses to watch TV and to read? You're a candidate for multifocal lenses. Bifocals have an area at the bottom for reading. The rest is for distance. Trifocals add a middle zone for vision 18 to 24 inches away, handy for computers. Progressive lenses, or "no-line bifocals," offer a gradual shift in strength -- invisible to your younger co-workers.
Risky Games: Polycarbonate LensesA racquetball travels between 100 and 150 mph. Imagine the force of that ball hitting you in the eye! Your best protection is sports frames with polycarbonate plastic lenses. They're 10 times stronger than other materials. Sports with the most eye injuries include all racket sports, baseball/softball, ice hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. Protective eyewear could prevent 90% of sports-related eye injuries.
Advantage: Yellow LensesIf you're wearing sunglasses for sports, consider colored lenses that may enhance vision for your particular sport. Yellow lenses may help in low light or haze to provide a sharper image. They're popular with skiers and snowboarders, cyclists, and indoor athletes like basketball players and racquetball players.
Advantage: Green LensesGreen lenses may heighten contrast while still keeping the balance of colors. They're popular for golf and baseball. Golfers say the green lenses make the ball stand out on the green (simulated in our picture). It's not yet clear that one lens color has the edge over another, so try before you buy. Many stores have samples to try with simulated light to see what color might work for you.
When Do You Need an Eye Test?Getting the newest lens technology starts with an eye test. You should have an exam at least every two years -- to be sure your glasses are the right prescription and to look for medical issues. An exam can find cataracts and glaucoma, as well as illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, aneurysms, HIV, and cancer. Signs of disease may be visible in, on, or around the eyes long before symptoms appear.
Warning Signs of Eye TroubleCall your eye doctor right away for any of the following symptoms:
- Sudden appearance of floaters in your vision
- Partial loss of vision
- Sudden eye pain or redness
- Scratchy, irritated feeling
- Blurriness or cloudiness
Match Eyewear to Your LifeStart with practical considerations when choosing eyewear. If you tend to crush things in your purse, remember that metal frames bend (and can be repaired), but plastics break. You should never leave glasses in a hot car, but could it happen to you? Plastic frames warp and can't be fixed. Metal frames just get really hot. If you don't like glasses or need peripheral vision for sports, contacts are a great alternative.
Framed: Flatter Your FaceWhen picking glasses, have your prescription in hand and consider these guidelines:
- Smaller frames hide a strong prescription.
- Contrast flatters the face shape. For example, squarish frames on a round face.
- Strong, dark frames draw attention away from features you don't like (a chubby chin).
- Cat's-eye frames that point up at the corners can give the appearance of a mini facelift.
- Color can blend with your hair and eyes, or contrast for a bigger statement.