A Guide to Glasses and on Sunglasses addendum

This is a reply addressing the article:

Guide to glasses and sunglasses

As an optician, I agree with about 95% of what you have listed there. It’s good to see people doing their research ahead of time instead of relying on opticians to give you most of what you need to know. Most opticians are commission based, and while I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they will lie to you, but some can be very…misleading.

That being said, here is my contribution:

Shape: Nailed it. But don’t always feel like you must follow it exactly. Use it as a guide and starting point.

Fit: This category is what I would consider the most important, especially if you choose a plastic frame that doesn’t have adjustable nosepieces. The size on the temple (or bridge or nosepiece for some frames) is not the diagonal, but the width of the lens from the farthest point from left to right. Your diagram is a little off as well. The temple is measured from the hinge to the tip, not the front of the frame to the tip.

Color: You can never go wrong with a Black or Tortoise frame. It’s all about your personal taste and what kind of clothes you wear. I personally like it when people try to be a little more risky and get something in blue or burgundy.

Lenses: Please always get an anti-reflective coating for you lenses! I cannot stress this enough. The make a huge difference when driving at night with all the glare you get from headlights and street lights. In general the rule for materials is as follows:

CR-39 (standard plastic): 0.00 to -2.00 Polycarbonate: -2.00 to -4.00 Trivex: -2.00 to -4.00 (to be used with rimless glasses) Hi Index 1.60: -4.00 to -5.00 Hi Index 1.67: -6.00 to -8.00 Hi Index 1.74: -8.00+

Sunglasses: In my experience, every man needs a pair of aviators, wayfarers, and something sporty to wear. Brand isn’t as important as the fit in this case. Please get polarized whenever possible. Mirror coatings are okay as long as you don’t overdo it to a point where someone can use your sunglasses to check if they have something in their teeth. Get a silver flash or black flash. Most optometry offices will have bunch of demos that you can choose from.

Brand: Great list there. Please add Alain Mikli, Mykita, IC! Berlin, and Kio Yamato. They are pricier than the list of brands that you have already, but if you ever get a pair of these frames, you’ll definitely get what you pay for.


This is excellent information, thanks – I’ve added some of it to the guide. A few questions for you:

  • I know that polarized lenses block horizontal light waves and reduce glare, but can you explain in more depth why (and for whom, e.g. not pilots) you recommend them?
  • What are silver flash and black flash?
  • Those numbers in your Lenses section (e.g. 0.00 to -2.00, etc…) refer to the sphere part of the prescription, right?

I would recommend them for everyone whenever possible. Normal tinting just dampens the light. It doesn’t really do much otherwise. That’s why a lot of higher quality brands will stick a backside anti-reflective coating to help out with glare (another reason to stay away from $5 gas station sunglasses). You can tell if you have it if the back of your lens reflects light in any other color that’s not white (most common are blueish-purple or green). Polarization takes it a step above that by dampening light, reducing glare, preserving color contrast, and overall sharpness. Anyone who goes out on the water or snow a lot should be getting polarized lenses no questions asked. For everyone else, it’s a little more optional, but I would get it if you can afford it every time.

Flashes are types of mirror coatings that will give a slight mirror effect without turning your sunglasses into actual mirrors. For examples, all Oakley sunglasses and Maui Jim sunglasses have a flash mirror. Compare them side by side with regular sunglasses to see the difference. Some optometrist offices will have demos of different levels and colors of flash mirrors that you can take a look at. I’m not at work today, but when I get a chance to tomorrow, I’ll take a few pictures and upload them to show you.

The numbers refer to the sphere and the cylinder added together. That is how you get your true prescription. So someone with this prescription:

-1.50 -1.00 x 85 -1.25 -0.75 x 130

should get polycarbonate because their actual prescription is a combined -2.50 and -2.00. You can ignore the axis (last number) since that just has to do with the angle the lenses are cut.

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