Skip to main content

Find Us Across From I-91 Northbound On/Off Ramp (Exit 2) | (802) 254-9012

Brattleboro Family Eye Care
Home »

Uncategorized

Introducing Shwood Eyewear

Introducing Shwood Eyewear!! Shwood Eyewear is a company based in Oregon that handcrafts their frames from natural materials like wood, mushrooms, seashells and pinecones. It all began as a simple experiment with nature. Founded in 2009, Shwood was born from the limb of a Madrone tree, a rusty pair of cabinet hinges, and lenses from the corner store. The goal was simple. Create a product that encompasses the individuality and uniqueness that can only be found in natural surroundings. Now every piece of eyewear passing through their workshop has been manipulated by over twenty sets of hands, leading to their truly unique nature. Give us a call to set up a time to come check out the assortment of Shwood frames that we carry!

Shwood

Vision Changes During Pregnancy

Can you see clearly now? Maybe not — changes in your vision during pregnancy are fairly common and sometimes stick around until after you deliver.

Your eyes do not deceive you: Many women discover that their vision seems blurred, or at least less sharp than it usually is, during pregnancy. No need to panic, though; your vision will likely return to normal in the blink of an eye after delivery.

When does blurred vision start during pregnancy?

Pregnancy changes every aspect of your body, sometimes uncomfortably, so it’s no surprise that your vision may be affected too. Depending on the reasons, your eyes may be blurred, scratchy or subject to infection at any time while you’re expecting. Many women say it gets worse as pregnancy progresses before it gets better after your baby’s birth.

What causes blurred vision during pregnancy?

There are several reasons for this pregnancy symptom, including:5fad3e3d9ebab62e233f21e67d2f3209

  • Reduced tear production. Pregnancy hormones (what else?) decrease tear production (ironically, since they certainly don’t decrease crying!), which can lead to eye dryness, irritation and discomfort.
  • Eye pressure. Hormones also cause fluid build-up in your eyes, the same way they make your ankles and feet swell up. This can lead to changes in the curvature of your eye, which can affect your vision while you’re pregnant. You might also experience a change in the thickness of your cornea, making your eyes feel more sensitive — and contact lenses harder to tolerate.
  • Poorer peripheral vision. No one is sure why some pregnant women sometimes have reduced field of vision, but it’s not a bad guess to blame it on hormones too. If you’re experiencing this symptom, be reassured that your eyesight will snap back to normal after your baby is born.

You may also notice a change in pigment around your eyes, as if you had taken a makeup brush and applied brown eye shadow in the dark. These pigmentations, called melasma, are normal and will fade slowly after birth, so no need to stockpile the concealer.

What can I do about blurred vision when I’m pregnant?

Here are some tips to help you cope with pregnancy-related bleary eyesight:

  • Use pregnancy-safe eye drops. If your eyes feel especially dry, lubricating eyes drops, also known as “artificial tears,” are often safe, affordable, and can be found at the drugstore. Ask your doctor for recommendations to be sure that you choose something that’s effective and safe to use while you’re pregnant.
  • Give your eyes a rest. Don’t strain your eyes. Read with plenty of light, rest your eyes often, and don’t try to drive if you feel like you can’t see very well. If your contact lenses are bothering you, consider wearing your glasses until after delivery.
  • Don’t shell out for a new prescription. Unless the changes are so pronounced that you’re having a tough time seeing, don’t bother with a new pair of glasses or contact prescription while you’re pregnant. Wait until after you’ve had your baby, when your vision should go back to normal.
  • Don’t over-correct. Ophthalmologists recommend that you steer clear of corrective laser eye surgery (like LASIK) for six months before conception, during pregnancy, and six months after delivery (or six months post-weaning, if you’re breastfeeding). While it won’t hurt your baby, it might lead to over-correction, which could require another surgery later on.

GettyImages 1196190627 hero 1024×575If you stare at a computer screen all day, you might find that your eyes feel strained or your vision is blurry — a common problem that may be exacerbated by pregnancy. Blinking often and taking frequent breaks away from your screen can help. The American Optometric Association recommends the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object that’s about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Other tips to help with computer vision syndrome include minimizing glare from other light sources (like lamps or windows) or using an anti-glare screen, and keeping the screen slightly below eye-level and about two feet from your face. If blurry vision is really bothering you, talk to your doctor. Sometimes eye exercises or vision therapy is helpful to train your brain and eyes to work together more effectively.

Can I prevent blurred vision during pregnancy?

While you can’t prevent pregnancy vision changes, you can be prepared with an arsenal of lubricating eye drops and a few pairs of glasses (in case you lose one). You may also want to put your partner, relatives and friends on notice that you may not be available for driving until your vision goes back to normal.

When can I expect my blurred vision to end?

Blurred vision and scratchy eyes are fairly common among pregnant women. Luckily, the changes you notice are temporary and your pregnancy eyesight should go back to normal after delivery.

When should I call the doctor about blurred vision during pregnancy?

Blurry vision in pregnancy is usually very normal, not a symptom of miscarriage or another serious complication. However sudden changes in vision during pregnancy, including blurred vision, can sometimes signify more serious problems, including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

It’s important to always let your doctor know if you experience sudden blurry vision or other vision changes during pregnancy to rule out potential complications. Keep an eye out for other symptoms of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, including:

  • Severe swelling of the hands and face
  • Severe headache that doesn’t respond to Tylenol
  • Sudden weight gain not related to eating
  • Unusual thirst
  • Frequent urination in large amounts

To reduce the risk of serious complications, attend all of your scheduled prenatal appointments, talk to your practitioner about all of your symptoms, and make sure to take note of any changes. These conditions are usually very manageable, especially if they’re caught and treated early on, although severe preeclampsia may require early delivery to keep you and your baby safe.

Blurry vision can also be a complication of pink eye, a common inflammation or infection of the eye. Let your doctor know right away if you experience other pink eye symptoms, including redness, itchiness or a gritty feeling in one or both eyes.

Also be sure to call your practitioner right away if you notice flashes, dimming vision, spots or floaters that don’t go away, or double vision that persists for more than two hours.

How Makeup Users Can Prevent Eye Health Issues

makeup and eye problems800x450

Beauty is important to lots of people. Beauty lovers can spend a tremendous amount of time and money trying to spruce up their looks, often by applying makeup. But if makeup is not used appropriately near the eyes, it can lead to some pretty unpleasant consequences—including infection, allergic reactions, or injury—regardless of whether or not you’re being careful.

Dodge Infection

Developing an eye infection defeats the purpose of wearing makeup in the first place. After all, there’s nothing pleasant about a puffy, red eye. You can avoid this by following some basic rules and applying common sense to your makeup routine.

If cosmetics are used for longer than recommended, bacteria and fungi can grow. Cosmetics should be discarded and replaced according to manufacturer recommendations—commonly every three months for mascara. Write the purchase date on the packaging to keep track of the dates.

In addition, clean your brushes and other applicators regularly to remove pathogens. And if you’ve had an eye infection, discard and replace all eye makeup to prevent reinfection.

Sharing cosmetics, including the use of tester products in stores, is another potential avenue for introducing infection. One of the most common infections transmitted via makeup is conjunctivitis, which is inflammation of the membrane that covers the inner surface of the eyelid and the outer surface of the eye. Using disposable applicators may reduce the risk of transmission; however, bacteria and fungi may still be present in the cosmetic container if it is not wiped clean between uses.

Proper storage can also contribute to product safety. The FDA recommends storing all eye cosmetics at temperatures below 85˚F, as products stored at higher temperatures are more susceptible to deterioration of the preservative.

Two more important tips for preventing eye infections: Don’t “top-off” dry mascara with water and don’t use lip liners on your eyes.

Be Wary of Allergies

Not all reactions to makeup are caused by infection. Sometimes, allergies can be the culprit. Common allergens found in cosmetics include nickel, iron oxide, and ingredients found in preservatives and fragrances.

Also, don’t rely on the term “hypo-allergenic” —this label is no guarantee that the product is allergen-free. Try to introduce new cosmetic products one at a time to determine your sensitivity to specific components, especially if you are prone to allergies.

Think Twice to Avert Injury

Applying makeup around the eyes requires a steady hand. Mechanical injury to the eye can result in corneal abrasions, or worse. For this reason, you should never put on makeup in a moving vehicle—especially if you’re the one driving.

You can also avoid tempting fate by wearing makeup only on the distal, or outside, lash margin—and never inside, where you might introduce bacteria to the ocular surface. Placing makeup along the inside of the lash margin also can plug up your glands.

Focus on Contact Lens Cleanliness

When you apply makeup before putting on contact lenses, some of the oils or bits of makeup can smudge or get stuck on the lens. For this reason, it’s best to wash your hands, put in your contact lenses, and then apply makeup as a final step. There is one exception to this process: If you wear hard, or rigid, contacts, insert them after makeup application, but use caution to avoid smearing the lens during the process.

Also, consider the types of eye makeup you use. Even for non contact lens wearers, glittery or metallic eyeshadows should be avoided since it can get trapped under lenses.

Finally, whatever makeup you put on needs to come off at bedtime. Depending on what type of makeup you use, ordinary soap and water may not do the trick—especially on mascara. When mascara dries, it gets stiff and can cause the natural eyelash to break, possibly leading to lid disease, ocular surface disease, and contact lens intolerance.

Steer clear of these beauty regimen roadblocks by thoroughly cleansing your face at night. Simple precautions to maintain eye health while using cosmetics can help keep your eyes not only looking great, but also feeling and functioning at their best.

Tips for Home Safety

A lot of people are staying home these days. Whether you’re working from home, homeschooling your kids, or whatever reason, there are still ways that eye injuries can happen.

Almost half of the eye injuries that happen each year happen at home!

That means that, in the places people should be safest, they’re still getting over a million eye injuries a year. The good news is that eye injuries are easy to prevent, so let’s take a look at the measures we can take to make our homes more eye-safe!

The Main Eye Safety Risks at Home

All kinds of innocent objects can become eye hazards in an accident, from pens and pencils to the corners of furniture. However, it’s actually cleaning chemicals and toys with small pieces that pose the greatest hazard to the unwary eye. Even leaning too close to a skillet with hot oil in it can put our eyes in danger.

Out on the lawn, there are additional hazards, such as the debris flying out of lawnmowers and some gardening and work tools. Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that we use in our lawns and gardens can also be dangerous. So how do we protect our eyes?

A Few Quick Tips for an Eye-Safe Home

cleaners 665

  1. Use protective eyewear. Always wear safety glasses or goggles when working with chemicals or other materials (such as sawdust or wood chips or shavings) that could spray up towards the eyes.
  2. Minimize trip hazards. Secure any rugs and make sure to equip stairways with proper railings and lighting. Also keep things tidy!
  3. Clear the lawn. Before you mow or use a weed eater, clean up any items that could be flung around at dangerous speeds if the blades catch them.
  4. Read warning labels. Make sure to use cleaning chemicals properly and be very careful about which ones you use together. No matter which ones you use, wash your hands afterwards.
  5. Don’t touch your eyes! Particularly while using cleaners (but it’s a good idea any time), avoid touching your eyes and wash them often.
  6. Store tools and cleaners safely. Children and pets shouldn’t be able to get to them.

Make a First Aid and Emergency Plan

Part of minimizing the risk of injury is having a plan in place for if one happens. The most common types of eye injuries are when a foreign substance or object gets in the eye or when a foreign body penetrates the eye. Seek immediate medical attention in the case of the latter, and don’t try to remove the object or touch the eye. Use a rigid shield (like a paper cup) to protect it en route to an emergency room.

If a foreign object gets in the eye, a trip to the hospital is still a good idea, and it’s still important not to touch it. It could be worse than it looks. Sometimes foreign objects can be flushed out with water, and if it’s a chemical, flushing with water for 20 minutes is a good measure to wash as much of it as possible out of the eye and minimize any harmful effects.

Come to Us With Eye Safety Questions

If you’re looking for any additional advice on home eye safety or would like to run your eye injury emergency plan past us, we’d be happy to help! This is especially important for households with young children or people with limited mobility.

And as always, we are available 24/7 for eye emergencies – just give our office a call!

Four Ways to Keep Your Eyes Healthy This Fall

For many people, autumn is a time for enjoying the outdoors. Camping under crisp, starry skies, picking apples, sitting around a bonfire—these activities and more are some of the hallmarks of the fall season.

Here are four ways to make sure your eyes stay healthy this fall, and throughout the rest of the year.

Protect those peepers when raking leaves.

Photograph of a rake in fall leaves

Raking or blowing leaves can send pieces of plant material into your eyes. This could lead to an eye infection called fungal keratitis. As with any yard work, be sure to wear protective glasses or goggles to keep your eyes safe. Also, if you wear contact lenses, disinfect them right afterwards.

Avoid the horrors of non-prescription costume contact lenses this Halloween.

Photograph of a woman wearing a halloween costume and decorative contact lenses

Decorative contact lenses can really enhance a Halloween costume. However, wearing costume lenses not prescribed by an eye doctor who has examined your eyes can lead to frightful consequences. Besides being illegal, non-prescription contact lenses may be ill-fitting and non-sterile, causing painful, sometimes blinding eye infections. Be sure to have an eye exam and get properly fitted for the colored contacts you want.

Keep your eyes moist during autumn’s cooler, dryer weather.

Photograph of a woman dressed for fall weather

With fall breezes may come burning, stinging and watery eyes. Dry, cold air is the culprit, often causing dry eyes. Keep your eyes moist with lubricating artificial tears. And try to avoid overly-warm rooms, wind or hair dryers—things that dry out your eyes even more.

Reap the harvest of fall’s eye-friendly foods.

Autumn’s bounty is a feast for healthy eyes. Full of antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other nutrients, enjoy the season’s fruits and vegetables, such as:

  • apples
  • pears
  • pomegranates
  • squash
  • turnips
  • cauliflower

5 Tips for First Time Contact Lens Wearers

First time contact lens wearerCongratulations on getting your first pair of contact lenses! If you’re like most people, you’ll probably spend the first few days marveling at small visual details that you never noticed before—like dew on the grass and small specks of color on bright green leaves.

It’s a very exciting time but, as with anything new, it might be a little scary too. After all, contact lenses are high-tech medical devices and your vision is one of your most valued senses. As such, it’s important to make good choices so you stay comfortable, happy and safe. Here are five tips designed to put you on the path to a lifetime of success with your new contact lenses.

1. Relax. Lots of people worry that they’ll scratch their eyes while putting their lenses in or—worse—that the contact lens will get stuck behind their eye. Relax. Inserting and removing lenses might make you nervous at first, but as awkward as it may seem, there is no need to be afraid to touch your eye as long as your hands are clean. Plus, the inside of your eyelids are connected to the back of your eye, so your lenses can’t possibly slip into an abyss.

2. Keep lenses clean. Don’t take shortcuts with lens cleaning. Your doctor will give you instructions that are specific to the lens care regime that is chosen for you. For example, if you are told to use a multipurpose solution, every time you remove your lenses, you should rub and rinse and then place them into fresh solution. Don’t just top off the solution that’s already in the case. When you put your lenses on in the morning, empty out the case completely, rinse with fresh solution and leave it uncapped and upside down, on a paper towel to air dry. Your lens case should be replaced every 3 months. If this cleaning routine sounds like too much of a bother, ask your doctor for a daily disposable, such as Acuvue 1 Day or Proclear Dailies. These lenses can be thrown out every night and exchanged for a fresh new pair each morning, eliminating cleaning and storage concerns.

3. Hydrate. Whether or not you wear contact lenses, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. In addition, depending on your lifestyle and environment, you may wish to supplement your fluid intake with rewetting drops for your eyes. For example, people who spend a lot of time on the computer or are exposed to dry air, heating or air conditioning often benefit from eye drops—even if they don’t wear contacts. The important rule of thumb if you wear contacts is that you need to make sure that the drop you use is compatible with your lenses. Talk to your doctor about which drops are best for you.

4. Follow your doctor’s recommendations. Use only the products that are suggested by your eye doctor. Don’t substitute lens care products, even for a store brand, without checking with your doctor first. The solution you have was chosen specifically for your type of lens, so don’t make assumptions based on broadly-defined packaging labels. It’s also important to keep your appointments. Whatever follow-up schedule your doctor set, stick to it.

5. Adhere to the prescribed wearing and replacement schedule. Don’t try to write your own rules. Wear your lenses only for the amount of time that your doctor says is safe and replace the lenses according to schedule. Don’t try to stretch out the life of your lenses an extra week. Also, unless you were specifically prescribed continuous wear lenses, you should never sleep in your contacts.

Learning how to do anything new takes time. In fact, it may take about a week until you adapt to your new life with contact lenses and feel truly confident. But, before you know it, contact lenses will become a valued part of the fabric of your life.

Interesting Facts About Eyes

download (1)

Though we take it for granted, the miracle of vision is one of the greatest gifts we have just by virtue of being members of the human race. Just simple things like seeing a deer in the wilderness, watching our favorite sports teams and viewing great works of art enrich our lives in absolutely immeasurable quantities.Nevertheless, how much do we really know about these mysterious organs, the eyes that make all of these magical experiences possible?

Interesting facts about eyes that you probably didn’t know

  • Your eyes are about 1 inch across and weigh about 0.25 ounce.
  • The human eye can differentiate approximately 10 million different colors.
  • Our eyes remain the same size throughout life, whereas our nose and ears never stop growing.
  • The human eye blinks an average of 4,200,000 times a year. This means if you were given a nickel for every time you blinked you would make $210,000 annually. If only there was a job out there like THAT…
  • Eyes are made up of over 2 million working parts.
  • Each individual eye contains 107 million cells and all are light sensitive
  • Your eye is the fastest muscle in your body. Hence, the phrase: “In the blink of an eye.”
  • The world’s most common eye color is brown.
  • Brown eyes are blue eyes underneath. Consequently, a person can receive surgery in order to make their brown eyes blue.
  • “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” is a song recorded by American country music artist Crystal Gayle.
  • The night vision of tigers is six times better than that of humans.
  • Ommetaphobia is the fear of eyes.
  • Pirates wore earrings because they believed it improved their eyesight.

These are just a few of the countless facts to be learned about one of our bodies most complex and interesting organs.

Masking the Fog

HOW TO STOP YOUR GLASSES FROM FOGGING UP!

So it turns out that wearing a mask is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others when you haven’t got a choice about social distancing and need to go out. That said, if you thought glasses fogging up in the winter was frustrating then welcome to foggy glasses from wearing a mask. Brutal.

Never fear though! There are solutions. Here are a few of our favourites.

TRIED AND TRUE BUT A LITTLE STICKY

One of the most effective ways is to tape the top of your mask to your face. Air simply cannot escape up to your glasses and so the fogging stops! Don’t use regular tape though. Surgical tape is your best option to avoid skin irritation. Still, while this works great it does require taping a mask to your face which maybe isn’t going to work for you.

STUFF IT WITH KLEENEX

Sounds awkward and it is, but if you line the top of your mask with a little kleenex (or other disposable item) it also blocks air from blowing up and fogging your lenses. It’s not as effective as tape but it does the trick. Just make sure to replace it regularly. Any time a mask or anything touching it gets too wet it can start to harbour germs, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to do.

USE A COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE ANTI-FOG PRODUCT

There are a lot of different anti fog products out there. The one Dr. Cotter and our staff members have been using is called Fog Stopper! We sell it in our office so if you want to give it a try we can help you out!

5592845

 

WEAR A MEDICAL MASK AND MAKE SURE IT’S FITTING WELL

A good quality medical mask that’s properly fit will help since it shouldn’t allow any air out other than through the filters that are built-in. This is a great option if you have access but as many of you have found, finding good quality medical masks right now is a huge challenge.

SLIDE YOUR GLASSES DOWN YOUR NOSE

No one wants to look like an old school librarian but if you slide your glasses down your nose a bit it increases the space between your face and glasses and reduces the risk of fogging. Just don’t slide them so far down they fall off!

What we DON’T recommend:

Soap, toothpaste, shaving cream and a myriad of other options have been roaming around the internet as people struggle to prevent fogging. While these options may work, there is a risk of damaging the coatings on the lens or even the lens itself! Use these techniques at your own risk.

NoSoapDetergent 300×300toothpaste 1

Face the Frames

How to Select Frames for Your Glasses

Learning how to select frames for your glasses might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. We know that frames can be as much of an aesthetic choice as they are a practical one! There are a few easy ways to determine which frames would best flatter your face and show off your style and personality.

 

Here are some tips and pointers on how to choose the right frame for you!

Step #1Identify your face shape.5fbbe69132529e0f74f211a771f13a0a

Identifying your face shape is a good place to start when it comes to learning how to select frames. The secret to finding the perfect frames is choosing a pair that best suits your face shape. In order to find your face shape, trace your face on a mirror using a dry-erase marker. Once you know your face shape, you will know how to select your frames.

 

For every face shape, there are complementary frames that can help balance your look. Certain frames can accentuate or even slim certain features. If you have an oval-shaped face, good news, you will look amazing in most frames. A heart-shaped face will excel in round frames that are thicker on the top in order to balance a small chin.

 

Step #2Choose colors that complement your skin tone.

The next step in determining how to select frames is to choose colors that complement your skin tone. Finding colors that coincide with your skin tone doesn’t have to be difficult. If you have a cool-colored skin tone, opt for shades of black, gray, and blue. If your skin tone is warm, you would benefit from warm colors, such as tan, pink, and red. As always, when you learn how to select frames, it is easy to know which colors suit your skin.

abaae85f1f887192e073ee018c1e4994

Just think of the color of the clothes you feel most comfortable wearing. The same rule applies to frames for your glasses. Once you know which colors suit your skin, selecting frames can be simple. And don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through the color of your frames as well. When learning how to select frames, knowing the colors that suit your skin will help you find the perfect frames.

Step #3Consider your way of living.

Each of us spends our days differently, which is why you must contemplate your lifestyle before making a decision on frames. If you are an athlete or if you work in a labor-intensive industry, such as construction, you’ll want to select durable frames that stay in place during daily activities.

 

When considering how to select frames for your lifestyle, one of the most important things is to make sure the frames fit at the bridge of your nose. This will allow your glasses to stay put better. If you exercise often, comfortable, sturdy frames are a must. If you want to look the part at an important business meeting, you can choose stylish frames with a variety of angles. If you need sunglasses for the beach, go for soft, colorful frames that will complement your relaxed vibe.

 

Step #4Flaunt your personality.

Frames are the perfect way to show off who you are and your personality. In the process of learning how to select your frames, you cannot forget to choose those that show off your personal style. You can find the perfect shapes, colors, or patterns, but those qualities mean very little if you aren’t comfortable.

young adults hanging out

Knowing how to select frames for professional use is also important. It’s necessary to opt for frames that emphasize who you are while also remaining appropriate in the workplace. For instance, you may have a pair of colorful glasses for weekend use and then have comfortable, functional glasses for the work week. But no matter which style you choose, make sure you feel confident and are happy with your choices.

 

As always, our Technicians are here to give you another opinion if you want it!

Reasons to Avoid Buying Glasses Online

 

cheap man broken glasses 330×220@2xHave you considered purchasing cheap glasses online? Or maybe you’ve been tempted to buy cheap sunglasses at a mall kiosk…or cheap reading glasses at a discount store?

After all, why should you pay hundreds of dollars for prescription eyeglasses when cheap glasses look every bit as good, right?

As much as we all want to avoid spending hard-earned money unwisely, deals that seem too good to be true when buying glasses are no different than deals that sound too good to be true when buying anything else — you may save money up front, but the product often doesn’t live up to your expectations.

And when it comes to eyewear, some cheap glasses can actually cause harm to your eyes that you’re not even aware of.

Being a wise eyewear consumer requires a little due diligence to understand factors that affect the quality and value of eyeglasses and sunglasses.

Here are 9 things to be aware of if you’re considering cheap eyeglasses or sunglasses:

1. Know what’s being cut to offer lower prices.

Online retailers that sell cheap eyeglasses and sunglasses often say they can offer low prices because they don’t have the same expenses associated with a “brick-and-mortar” store, such as the high rent paid in retail shopping areas.

But what they often don’t tell you is their lower prices come with a hidden cost — you no longer get the personalized attention and fitting expertise of a qualified optician. That’s a huge part of the value equation.

Instead, you’re on your own to select a frame and lenses for your cheap glasses and hope for the best.

2. Beware of claims of “same top quality.”

Sellers of cheap eyeglasses and cheap sunglasses are quick to claim they are providing glasses of the “same top quality” as eyewear you purchase from your local eye care professional.

But how do they determine that?

The fact is, there are significant differences in the scratch resistance of different lenses and lens coatings, different levels of optical performance among different lens materials and brands, and different levels of comfort and durability among different frames — even among frames with the same brand name.

Also, many online retailers who sell cheap prescription glasses fabricate the lenses in their own optical labs rather than using a wholesale optical laboratory that specializes in providing this service to eye care professionals. And while this might help you get your cheap glasses quicker than eyewear purchased in an optical store, in some cases quality of the finished product may suffer.

3. A bigger selection often isn’t a better selection — it’s just more confusing.

Online retailers of cheap glasses point out that optical stores cannot match their vast virtual inventory of frames. This may be true. But how many of those hundreds or thousands of frames are a good fit for your head and face shape? And who will help you choose?

4. Virtual and home try-ons can’t insure satisfaction.

If you’re buying cheap glasses online, you often will have access to a “virtual try-on” feature — where you upload a forward-facing, closeup photo of yourself and you can then superimpose images of different frames on your face to see how they look.

But while a virtual try-on can give you a rough idea of how you’ll look wearing different frames, it can’t tell you anything about how the frames will feel. It also can’t demonstrate the detailing and workmanship of the frame.

Also, depending on the quality of the virtual try-on tool, the size of the eyewear might not be accurate — the frames might look larger or smaller than they actually are. And it’s not unusual for the color of the actual frame to look noticeably different than the color shown online.

Even if an online retailer sends you a sample of frames to try on at home before you make your final purchase, you won’t know whether the glasses will be too heavy after the prescription lenses are added…or how thick those lenses will be. This is especially important if you are sensitive to the weight of eyeglasses because you have sinus problems or delicate skin.

All these potential problems can be avoided by being fitted with glasses in person by a skilled optician.

5. Cheap sunglasses can do more harm than good.

Cheap sunglasses sometimes look nearly identical to premium quality sunglasses. They can even seem to provide equal performance in bright sunlight. But they also can be doing more harm than good.

The level of protection sunglasses provide to shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays has nothing to do with the color or darkness of the lenses. And it’s impossible for you to feel how well your eyes are being protected from these damaging rays while you’re wearing the sunglasses.

So it’s possible for two different pairs of sunglasses to look (and even feel) the same, but one is providing a much better level of eye protection than the other.

Cheap sunglasses — even those labeled “polarized” and “100% UV protection” — often allow harmful violet (“near-UV”) and blue light to penetrate the eye and potentially cause damage over time.

Your eye care professional can explain which trusted brands of sunglass lenses offer the best protection from harmful rays and the preferred visible light transmittance for your outdoor activities and visual needs.

6. Cheap reading glasses can cause eye strain — or worse.

Cheap reading glasses sold in discount stores can help you see more clearly up close if you’re over age 40 and experiencing the normal age-related loss of focusing called presbyopia.

But it’s easy to choose the wrong power, and the optical quality of cheap reading glasses typically is not as good as a customized pair of glasses for computer use and reading.

Also, cheap reading glasses often provide no protection from high-energy blue light emitted from computer screens and other digital devices.

7. Cheap eyeglass frames can cause skin irritation — or worse.

At first glance, some cheap eyeglass frames may look like more expensive frames. But often, they are made of low-grade materials that can cause skin irritation over time. Cheap plastic frames can get bleached by UV rays and the finish can roughen after a few months of wear. Cheap metal frames often contain nickel alloys that can cause skin irritation; others can discolor your skin.

Also (and more disturbing), cheap eyeglass frames and cheap sunglasses occasionally are recalled and removed from the market because they contain lead paint or other toxic substances.

8. Can you be sure sellers of cheap glasses will be around tomorrow?

Warranties on eyeglasses and sunglasses are only as good as the reliability of the retailer who provides them. Can you really trust an online startup or mall kiosk to honor a warranty on their cheap glasses and sunglasses?

9. Progressive measurements can be inaccurate.

Progressive lenses require precise measurements of your eye in relation to the frame, such as pupillary distance and seg height. This is because there are about 8-10 different steps between your full distance prescription and near prescription – and it is all based off of where your pupil sits in the frame. It is very difficult to take these measurements yourself, and more often than not the online shop converts them incorrectly. Online shops also use cheap quality lens materials which are very difficult to adapt to. They can cause headaches, eye strain, nausea, and dizziness to name a few. The term, “You get what you pay for” is highly accurate when it comes to the quality of glasses, especially with progressive lenses.

BUDGET-STRETCHING TIPS WHEN BUYING GLASSES

So what can you do if you or your family members need glasses and you want the best value possible?

Here are a few tips to help you stretch your budget and get all the benefits of high quality eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses:

  • Take advantage of your vision insurance benefits. Many people fail to use the vision insurance plans (such as VSP) that they are enrolled in as part of their benefits package at work. These plans essentially work like a gift card program — just show your card or provide the last four of your SSN and you get significant discounts on eye care and quality eyewear.
  • Know the terms and conditions of warranties. Premium eyewear can be a better value than cheap glasses if it comes with a warranty against lens scratches and frame materials and workmanship. Warranties are particularly valuable if you work or live in a harsh environment and for children’s eyeglasses. Ask our opticians to explain the terms and conditions of warranties included with your eyeglasses and sunglasses.