The frame you choose can make all the difference to how your new spectacles will turn out. We have provided a few guidelines here to help you choose but remember there are no right and wrong choices, ultimately you will be the one wearing them and only you can decide what will suit you.
The first step is to select men's or ladies as appropriate, many frames will appear in both categories as we feel they could be suitable for men and ladies. Men's frames tend to be larger and more rectangular whereas ladies frames are generally smaller and more oval.
Each frame has a size printed on it which will give a good idea of its overall dimensions.
The sizes given are the width of the lens in millimetres and the distance between the lenses or bridge size.
The first size is the width of the lens and the second size is the bridge size.
For example a 53/19 frame is larger than a 47/20 frame.
As a guide men's frames range from about 48-58 millimetres and ladies from 44-54 millimetres.
Sunglasses tend to have larger sizes as they have more curved lenses.
Check the size of your previous spectacles before you start, this will give you a good idea of the correct size to choose. The size will be printed on the inside of the side, inside the bridge or on some plastic frames on the rim where it thickens to sit on your nose. The size will be in the format of 51/19 but may be printed as 51 tiny little square 19. Which I cannot reproduce here.
There may also be a third size printed which is the side length in mm. This will be in the range of 125-150mm but most frames will be 135 or 140 mm. Larger frames tend to have longer sides. Generally if the width is correct the sides should be long enough. Remember the sides are adjustable.
Small ladies frames 44-47 mm
Medium ladies frames 48-51 mm
Large ladies frames 52-54 mm
Small men's frames 48-51 mm
Medium men's frames 51-54 mm
Large men's frames 55 mm +
Frame Size and Prescription
If you have a minus prescription (-2.00 for example) then your lenses will be thinnest in the middle and thickest at the edges. Usually the outside edge by the temple. The bigger the frame the thicker the lens will be. So a smaller frame size will give a nicer result than a larger frame size. The higher the prescription the more important this will become. Generally we would recommend thinner lenses if the sphere value of your prescription is bigger than -2.50 or +2.50. See our choosing a lens section for more advice.
For a plus prescription (+2.00 for example) the opposite is true and your lenses will be thickest in the centre and thinner at the edges. However a small or shallow frame will lead to the lens appearing thick at the inside edge by the nose. It is of no great advantage to choose a large frame deliberately to make the lenses smaller as we surface the lenses to match the frame size.
Bifocals & Varifocals
The same advice applies to the overall frame width as above but you also need to consider the mechanics of the lens. In both cases we have a distance section at the top and a reading section at the bottom. In order for you to be able to see where you are going we will set the distance section directly in front of your pupils. This means that in a very shallow frame there may not be enough room for the reading section. An overall depth (B measurement) of 28mm or deeper is ideal.
We have tried to limit the lens selection on a frame by frame basis so that a frame that is unsuitable for bifocals or varifocals will not allow you to select these lenses however these measurements depend on how the frame sits on you. For all bifocal and varifocal lens orders we will send the frame to you so that measurements can be taken. Where appropriate we will use a short corridor varifocal to give the best reading area possible.
D28 Standard Bifocal - Distance at the top, reading in the segment at the bottom. If we cut this into too shallow a frame we will lose some of the reading area.
Standard Varifocal - Distance at the top with a gradual progression down to the reading section at the bottom of the lens.
Supra & Rimless Frames
A supra frame has a frame at the top but no frame at the bottom and in general behaves no differently to a full metal frame however if you have a small plus prescription (+0.50 for example) then your lenses may actually be too thin for the groove that holds the lens in. We can usually get round this problem by selecting a larger blank size for the lens which will give us enough edge thickness. We will contact you if we foresee a problem.
A Supra Frame
Rimless frames are less robust than other types of frames although the new designs that do not rely on screws to hold the lenses in are much better. (We only stock the newer designs.) We do not recommend rimless frames for reading glasses that are constantly being taken on and off. Also standard spectacle lenses are quite brittle and can split especially where the holes have been drilled so we will only use thinner lenses that are more flexible. You do need to be more careful with a rimless frame than any other but if looked after they can last years without problems.
Both Supra and Rimless frames require a thicker minimum edge substance than a full frame so that positive (+ power) lenses will always come out thicker in this type of frame. We will contact you if we feel that your frame choice isn't a good match to your lenses.
Frame Style & Colour
Essentially this is your choice but be aware that the current fashionable thick plastic frames are quite a statement, everyone will notice you have new spectacles. A rimless frame or a supra frame in a paler colour will blend in more.
Try to choose a colour that blends well with your hair colour, jewellery or with colours that you wear a lot. Of course you could decide to stand out by choosing something unusual.
Think about what you want your new spectacles for, do you need something sensible for the office or do you want a fashionable pair that will get you noticed at the weekend? Do you need both?
If you select photochromic lenses (lenses that get darker in the sun) they generally come in brown or grey, which would match the frame best? If you are getting new spectacles to match your outfit for a wedding or special occasion be aware that photochromic lenses can look a little odd in the photographs.
I personally now have over 30 pairs of spectacles in my collection, all slightly different and in many colours to match whatever tie I wear, I have photochromic lenses for running, I have polarised sunglasses for cycling and driving and I have office type lenses for when I am staring at a computer screen for hours. It won't be long before I need varifocals. I can feel some new spectacles coming on already.... At Faversham Optical we try to offer fantastic value for money and with complete spectacles starting at just £19 a pair why not have a pair for each outfit and always look your best.