When you visit an optometrist, the questions they ask are not necessarily related to your eyesight. In fact, you may think this prelude is purely an attempt to set you at ease and build a rapport. Yet the information you reveal during this apparent small talk helps determine your recommended lenses. Discover all the subtleties of choosing the right pair of glasses. 

1. Do you need unifocal or multifocal lenses? 

Not all patients have one single vision condition. Having several vision problems is actually quite frequent. For example, a person may be both presbyopic and myopic at the same time. That’s why there are both unifocal and multifocal lenses.

As their name suggests, unifocal lenses correct only one vision condition, either far-sightedness or near-sightedness.

Multifocal lenses offer at least two distinct fields of vision to correct different conditions depending on where the wearer is looking. Progressive lenses, that correct presbyopia, allow for clear vision at all distances. The upper part of the lens corrects for far distances, while the lower part corrects for short distances. The transition between zones is fluid and the intermediary vision, in the centre of the lens, is perfectly functional.

2. Glasses are not always made of glass

Yes, your lenses are rarely made of glass these days. Eyecare professionals have several options to choose from when it comes to determining the best material for your needs: 

  • Mineral lenses: common in the past, these types of lenses are less prevalent today, except to treat significant vision defects. Since they are made of glass, mineral lenses are much more fragile and heavy than the other materials on this list. Ultra-thin plastic lenses are now an available substitute. 
  • Organic lenses: these are the most popular since they are light and shock-resistant. Made of synthetic resin, they can be extremely thin and adapt to any frame. One small drawback is that they scratch easily because they are so flexible. It’s why these types of lenses are always offered with an anti-scratch treatment. 
  • Polycarbonate lenses: these are similar in make to organic lenses, the difference being that they are much more shock-resistant. This material is used for safety glasses. Their lightness and shock resistance makes these lenses the best choice for children, teens, and highly active people. 

So your optician will generally recommend one of the latter two materials, based on your activities and needs. 

3. What treatment should be applied to your lenses? 

Most of the lenses recommended by your eyecare professional will have at least these two treatments: 

  • Scratch resistance: a hardening substance is applied to your lenses to protect them from dust and abrasions, thus increasing their longevity.
  • Anti-reflection: this treatment cancels out reflections and improves your perception of contrasts. Besides making your glasses look better, this treatment is now essential for our largely digital lifestyles. Some specialized anti-reflection treatments filter out the ambient blue light from the sun and digital screens. Many anti-reflection treatments also offer an additional layer that is resistant to water, fatty matter and dust, making them easier to keep clean.

You can also opt for photochromic lenses, where the tint of the lens will vary according to the light. The lenses lighten or darken in reaction to UV rays. These lenses are ideal for those who are light sensitive. They are also suitable for people who are always on the move and constantly go from indoors to outdoors or vice versa.

Do you often work outdoors? Does your work involve hours spent on a construction site, on the road, or in front of a computer? The answers to these questions will help your optician recommend the lenses best suited to your lifestyle, budget, and habits.

Do you need corrective lenses or do you want your current lenses to be modified somehow? Your Opto-Réseau optometrist will be happy to help. Make an appointment today at your nearest clinic. For answers to all your questions about your eye health, visit the "Opto-Réseau Tips" section of our blog.