It's time again for millions of Americans to begin their year-end scramble to use remaining funds in their flexible health care spending accounts. Since Federal law dictates that leftover money cannot be rolled over to the next year, employees must use it - or lose it - to select health-related services, procedures or products, like a new pair of eyeglasses.
With more than 60 percent of adults in the U.S. requiring prescription eye wear, it's no wonder that a recent article in Forbes cited buying eyeglasses as a popular choice for allocating flexible spending account dollars. With advances in technology, and more lifestyle options, choosing the right pair has become increasingly more difficult.
Since eyeglass lenses are just as important as frames in how you look, feel and see and can contribute to at least half of the cost of a pair of eyeglasses, it's important to spend an equal amount of time discussing lenses and frames with eye care professionals. Today's consumers should consider these four steps for selecting eyeglasses to get the best package for their investment.
- See your eye care professional for a complete eye exam.
- According to the Vision Council of America you should receive regular eye exams; talk to your eye doctor to find out the best frequency for you.
- If your family has a history of eye disease, diabetes, or poor health, you may need an eye exam once a year.
- Talk about new lens options available. Although your eye care professional will discuss the benefits of these choices with you during your eye exam, you should always make this decision by keeping these options in mind:
- Reading lenses - mainly used for help with close work. Entire lens area magnifies for ease in seeing at near point
- Single vision lenses - refers to lenses that have only one field of vision; for example, either for seeing distant objects or for reading
- Mulitfocal lenses - have several uses, enabling you to see objects at different distances. A bifocal offers near and far viewing fields while trifocals offer three different viewing fields - near, arm's length and far. Visible lines separate each field of vision
- Progressive lenses - allow you to see far and near with a smooth transition in-between without the unsightly lines that bifocals and trifocals have. The upper part of the progressive lens has the power your eye needs to see in the distance. The power gradually changes as you move toward the bottom area where it is designed for reading things up close
- Choose the right lens materials and features to optimize your health and overall visual experience. By assessing your lifestyle, you and your eye care professional can determine which of these features may be right for you:
- Shatter-resistant lenses - a lens material that is virtually shatter-resistant and should be imperative for children and adults with active lifestyles
- High-index lenses - thin/light option for higher prescription eyeglasses
- Anti-scratch coatings - these literally do as the name suggests and increase your lens' resilience to nicks and pits
- Anti-reflective (AR) coatings - these coatings go on both sides of a lens and allow light to pass more freely through the lens, reducing reflections and creating a clearer lens. Frequent headache sufferers may find that their problems suddenly disappear with the introduction of an AR coating. Most wearers enjoy this option because it nearly eliminates glare in flash photos and can help you to see more clearly when driving at night.
- Ultraviolet (UV) protection - UV protection filters out the sun's ultraviolet rays that are extremely damaging to the eyes in both the short and the long term. Whichever lens you choose, it is critical to ensure that they block 100% UVA and UVB radiation in order to help safe-guard your eyes from the damaging effects of the sun's harmful rays.
- Photochromics - while they're as clear as regular glasses indoors, they darken outdoors in accordance with the amount of sunlight and UV present. Photochromics such as Transitions Lenses can be worn comfortably year-round to provide convenience and 100 percent automatic UV and glare protection every day -- sunny, cloudy or in between. While polycarbonate and plastics filter some UV rays, protection such as what Transitions Optical offers ensures that your eyes are given consistent defense against the damaging effects of UV light. Cumulative damage from harmful UVA and UVB radiation may contribute to serious age-related diseases of the eye and damage sensitive areas around the eye.
- Choose a pair of frames that best fits your face and personality
- Taking into account one's face shape is a very important factor to consider. Rectangular frames work best for round-faced people and oval or round frames are best suited to rectangular faces. People with long faces should avoid narrow glasses and those with short faces should avoid high glasses. Oval shaped faces can get away with virtually any frame shape.
- The color of your frames should also be chosen with care and should coordinate well with complexion, hair and eye color, as well as predominant wardrobe hues. Frame color and shape are also ways in which to express your individuality.
Premium eyewear packages offer a combination of safety benefits wrapped in stylish frames that will not only update your look and make a statement about personal style but will also reduce glare and reflection and help prevent serious UV damage to your eyes. Talk to your eye care professional today to find out which combination of options is right for you.
Transitions Optical was the first company to successfully commercialize a plastic photochromic lens in 1990. Today, the company is a leading supplier of photochromics to optical manufacturers worldwide. Transitions Optical offers the most advanced photochromic technology and the widest selection of lens designs, materials and brand names.
Transitions Lenses are as clear as regular eyeglass lenses until dangerous UV rays are present. Then, the brighter the sun, the darker they get - getting as dark as sunglasses, providing protection in bright, glaring light. Since Transitions Lenses darken only as much as needed, they can be worn comfortably year-round to provide convenience and 100 percent automatic UVA, UVB and glare protection every day - sunny, cloudy or in between.